What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is characterised by impairments in reciprocal social interactions and communication behaviours, in addition to a restricted range of interests and rigid or repetitive behaviours.

These difficulties are present from early childhood and together with difficulties in emotional processing, sensory perceptual processing and motor skills, lead to limitations or impairment in everyday functioning.

What are the symptoms of ASD?

Symptoms can be reliably identified in very young children between the ages of 2 to 4 years and involve:

  • delayed language development
  • a lack of social interest or unusual social interactions
  • odd play patterns and some unusual ways of communicating

ASD affects approximately one percent of the population with similar estimates in children and adults.  The impact of ASD is experienced across the lifespan and can impact on an individual’s independence and engagement in school, work, and community life. However, as the name suggests, expressions of the disorder occur on a spectrum with symptoms varying from mild to severe (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Autism specific early educational intervention programs have been found to be successful in supporting a child’s development in the key areas of: Social Emotional; Language and Communication; Physical; and Cognitive (e.g., Paynter et al., 2012; Peters-Scheffer et al., 2011).

Although core autism behaviours are present in early childhood, they sometimes do not become apparent until the child experiences a transition in their life such as starting primary school or moving to secondary school (Baird et al., 2011). As a result parents seek to find appropriate services that will provide their child with the support that they need to cope with those transitions and to maximise the child’s learning and development.

Specialised ASD support and care at our health clinics

If you would like some assistance with a family member having ASD, our health clinics offer specialised care across the following two areas:

1, Psychology clinic

Located at both our Mt Gravatt and Gold Coast campuses, these clinics provide individual and group interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The ASD Clinic at Mt Gravatt offers a range of group programs including:

  • Kids Connect is a social skills group program for children aged 7 to 12 years that focuses on developing and maintaining friendships and coping with teasing and bullying.
  • Cool Kids is an anxiety group program for children with ASD aged 7 to 12 years that provides children with strategies to better manage their anxious symptoms.
  • Next Step is a program that provides support to adolescents aged 16 to 19 years who are preparing to leave school and enter the workforce or tertiary education. The program focuses on adjustment related anxiety, assertive training and information about the expectations of potential employers and university staff.

For more inforormation about our Mt Gravatt ASD clinic for children please visit https://www.griffith.edu.au/health/clinics/psychology-clinic-mt-gravatt/autism-spectrum-disorder-clinic

2, Speech Pathology clinic

Located at our Gold Coast campus, the Speech Pathology clinic can help parents with strategies and support to aid their child’s communication, as well as teaching ways to improve your childs social communicaiton, play skills and imitation skills. For more information please visit https://www.griffith.edu.au/…/allied-healt…/speech-pathology

Find out more

Our friendly, highly-trained staff are available between 8am-4pm Monday to Friday. To find out more please call 1800 188 295.

Mt Gravatt ASD Psychology clinic – [email protected]

Gold Coast Speech Pathology clinic – [email protected]