When your child is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, you will be faced with a lot of new information. Take time to read through the information you are given and familiarise yourself with the terminology by looking at our glossary.
Early Intervention Services
The term “Early Intervention Services” describes the programs for younger children that provide therapies and supports to improve the outcomes for young children with ASDs and to help them to reach their potential.
Specifically, Helping Children With Autism funding is available for children under 7, Early Childhood Intervention Services are for children below school age and other Early Intervention options are for children under 6.
- Helping Children With Autism (HCWA): this is a federal government initiative to help families of children diagnosed with an ASD by providing funding which can be used for a range of supports including occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychology. Find out more
- Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS): the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) Early Childhood Intervention Services (ECIS) provide assistance for children with a disability or developmental delay from birth to school entry. A child-and-family-centred approach based on a partnership between parents and professionals is the basis of ECIS. These services provide a range of specialist services. ECIS are handled through a Central Intake in each region. Find out more
- Respite Care: your local council or shire is 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.
- Family Counselling: we can assist you with short term practical and emotional support, provided by our Family Counsellors. Find out more
- Information and Resources: we can assist you with a range of information services, including the on-site Autism Library, Autism Information Kits and Information Sheets, the Directory of Services and many other useful resources.
- “Early Days” Workshops: “Early Days” is the national ASD workshop program for parents and primary carers: we run the program throughout Victoria, providing an introductory session followed by “skills based” workshops which cover a number of other topics. The workshops are strictly for parents and carers. Read more
- Parent Support Groups: there are over 40 support groups around Victoria, many ASD specific, whilst others are more broadly disability-focused. Read more
- PlayConnect Playgroups: these are autism-specific playgroups for children with ASDs or ASD-like symptoms. They are also very welcoming of young siblings. Visit the website to join a playgroup in your area, or phone 1800 790 335.
- My Time groups: these are groups for mothers, fathers and carers of children with a disability (not specific to ASD), developmental delay or chronic medical condition. Phone 1800 889 997 for more information, or visit their website.
As awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder grows, so do the number of specific treatments and approaches that claim to “cure” or “recover” the child.
Note: 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 website, Raising Children Network, provides a detailed guide to therapies, which you may find useful. Find out more
Help with Behaviour
We are often asked for help with behaviour by parents. Talk to your early intervention service for assistance call our InfoLine on 1300 308 699.
An interactive website called Autism Help has been developed by Gateways Support Services containing a wealth of information about Autism Spectrum Disorders 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. Visit Autism Help Website
Help with Social Skills, using Social Storiestm
Individuals with an ASD 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: this is a short story, often written for a specific individual, to help them understand and respond to a social situation.
International ASD 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 individuals 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
We provide a full range of Information Sheets about all aspects of ASD – these are updated regularly.