When a child receives a diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum, parents/carers are faced with a lot of new information.
If there are words or expressions that you don’t know, have a look at our glossary.
Early Intervention Services
‘Early Intervention Services’ are programs of therapy and support for young children, which improve their outcomes and help them reach their potential.
Helping Children With Autism (HCWA)
This is a federal government initiative to help families of children under 7 who receive a diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum: funding is provided for occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychology for the child.
Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS)
The Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET – formerly DEECD) runs Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) for children with a disability or developmental delay from birth to school entry. ECIS have a Central Intake in each region. The service is founded on a partnership of parents and professionals with the child and family at the centre: specialist services are provided.
Local councils and shires are funded by the Home and Community Care Program (HACC) to provide respite care in your own home. For details contact the Community Services Department at your local shire or council office.
Early Days Workshops
Early Days Workshops are for parents and primary carers of children with a diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum. Amaze runs the program in Victoria. We run an introductory workshop as well as a number of workshops providing specific skills. These workshops are free of charge and strictly for parents and carers.
Parent Support Groups
There are many support groups around: some are for families who have a child with autism, some are more broadly disability-focused, some are for specific cultural communities and others are around a particular topic. A list is available and is updated regularly.
PlayConnect Playgroups are just for children on the autism spectrum or who have Autism like symptoms. They are also very welcoming of young siblings. To join a playgroup in your area, phone 1800 790 335 or click on the link below.
My Time Groups
These are groups for mums, dads and carers of children with a disability (not just autism), a developmental delay or a chronic medical condition. Phone 1800 889 997 for more information, or click on the link below.
Amaze Information Services
We can help you with a range of information services, including our Information Line (phone 1300 308 699) and Resources page.
As awareness of the autism spectrum grows, so do the number of specific treatments and approaches that claim to “cure” or “recover” the child. It is important to note that some treatments may help some children some of the time, and there are the very occasional stories of amazing improvements. However, virtually none of these claims has stood up to closer scrutiny. The government Raising Children Network provides an excellent detailed guide to therapies.
Help with Behaviour
An interactive website called Autism Help has been developed by Gateways Support Services containing a wealth of information about the autism spectrum in several formats. Note that using the interactive and animated areas of the site requires downloadable software, and may not be accessible to some computer users.
Help with Social Skills, using Social Storiestm
People on the autism spectrum often have difficulty interpreting social situations and need assistance to make sense of them. One way to help them is through using a Social Story or a social script.International autism expert, Carol Gray, pioneered Social Stories in 1991 and since then, the idea has evolved. They have been shown to be helpful to children, adolescents and adults as well as other people with social and communication delays.
An example of a social story written for people attending the World Autism Awareness Day walk in 2011 can be found here.
Where to get more help
Contact the InfoLine
Last updated: 04-06-15