Category Archives: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder – Intervention & Support


There are a number of different intervention options to treat individual with an autism spectrum disorder. They are tailored according to the specific needs of the patient and often combinations are used to improve patient and carer quality of life.



Behavioural interventions: 


This type of intervention is built on the basis that human behaviour is learnt through the interaction between an individual and their environment. Implemented strategies aim to teach and increase positive behaviours while reducing non-adaptive behaviours. Such interventions include Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) which aims to increase, maintain and reduce target behaviours. These behaviours include learning skills, social skills, communication and basic adaptive living skills such as gross and fine motor skills, toileting, dressing, orientation and work skills.


Therapy based interventions:


Therapy based interventions focuses on developing communications and social skills as well as sensory motor development. Interventions include Speech pathology/ Speech therapy and occupational therapy.


As patients with an ASD often experiences challenges in different areas of communication, for some verbal communication is realistic, for others other forms of communication such as gestures or symbols. The sole aim of speech pathology/ speech therapy is to improve useful communication by establishing goals and evaluating to determine the best approach for the individual patient.


Occupational therapy aims to introduce new skills while maintaining and improving current skills to allow an individual to independently participate in meaningful life activities. Target areas including coping skills, fine motor skills, play skills, self-help skills, and socialisation skills.


Development interventions:


Intervention includes relationship development interventions (RDI) which comprises of six objectives:


It employs a systematic approach to build motivation and teaching skills based on the patient’s current developmental level of functioning. As the patient develops and progresses through the intervention it adds to the patient’s ability to form and maintain relationships.




Parents and carer’s reaction to a positive diagnosis most definitely involves the feeling of grief.  It often ranges from shock and outrage to relief that they have found an answer. Thus, it is important that parents, carer’s and the people around them seek support to aid them on the path of intervention and to improve quality of life for both patient and their carer’s.There are many support groups and services available which are willing to ease you into living with ASD. These include:





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Autism Spectrum disorder – Explained


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)characterises itself with difficulties in the domains of social interactions, communications and behaviour. It is referred to as a spectrum disorder due to the wide variety in the difficulties and challenges experienced by patients with ASD.


Currently 1 in 100 people in Australia have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and it appears to be more in males relative to females, with males being four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.


The video provided is from the National centre for disabilities and explains the characteristic features of patients with ASD:

Social interactions Communications Behaviour
  • limited use and understanding of non-verbal communication such as eye gaze, facial expression and gesture
  • difficulties forming and sustaining friendships
  • lack of seeking to share enjoyment, interests and activities with other people
  • difficulties with social and emotional responsiveness



  • delayed language development
  • difficulties initiating and sustaining conversations
  • stereotyped and repetitive use of language such as repeating phrases from television


  • unusually intense or focused interests
  • stereotyped and repetitive body movements such as hand flapping and spinning
  • repetitive use of objects such as repeatedly switching lights on and off or lining up toys
  • insistence on sticking to routines such  travelling the same route home each day and doing things in exactly the same order every time
  • unusual sensory interests such as sniffing objects or staring intently at moving objects
  • sensory sensitivities including avoidance of everyday sounds and textures such as hair dryers, vacuum cleaners and sand
  • intellectual impairment or learning difficulty


Autism involves challenges in social interactions, communication and behavioural domains. It is not considered a learning disability in itself but a separate disorder which comprises of learning disabilities.


If autism spectrum disorder is suspected it is very important that you seek a diagnosis as it often brings relief to those who have struggled with the social challenges they are facing without knowing the cause of their difficulties. A diagnosis can also open access to therapies, assistive schemes and support group that aid in improving patient function in areas of difficulty and overall quality of life.

Currently there is no single medical test that can diagnose ASD. A diagnosis is conducted by trained medical professionals who assess the social and communication skills, and their patterns of behaviour. This process often requires a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals which may include a paediatrician, psychologist, speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist.  All the diagnostic methods aim to determine if the individual meets the diagnostic criteria set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual fourth edition (DSMIV) for ASD.




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