Autism Spectrum Disorder


What is it?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex, neurological, pervasive developmental disorder that is usually diagnosed within the first three years of development. When a child displays a range of behaviours and impairments of early development across the triad of social interaction, communication and symbolic or imaginative play a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder is warranted. Common symptoms include delayed language development, minimal interest in others or poor eye contact and joint attention; poor social interaction or minimal engagement with peers and others; communication problems such as poor speech or a lack of capacity of expressing themselves, a lack of interest in communicating with others and problems understanding parent requests or instructions, and a lack of interest in imaginative play, restricted interests and repetitive behaviours such as a need for routines, repetitive finger or body movements such as arm flapping or rocking and poor motor coordination (e.g. toe walking, clumsiness or lack of dexterity).


It is important for young children displaying any difficulties with early development to be referred by their family general practitioner, for an assessment with a suitably qualified professional who can work with the child, parents and other professionals such as a speech pathologist and paediatrician to conduct a comprehensive diagnostic assessment. A psychologist who specialises in developmental and educational assessment is essential in these situations, and our psychologist, Jeannette Fraser MAPS has the formal training, experience and expertise to undertake this assessment. Psychologists are required to be registered by the government to undertake a diagnostic assessment and to provide treatment intervention, for an Autism Spectrum Disorder that can be rebated under Medicare’s program for Helping Children with Autism. Her assessment will include a comprehensive developmental profile, a cognitive assessment and a neuropsychology and learning assessment that may require a few sessions to complete and a report provided for other professionals such as the paediatrician and if required, school teaching staff with practical strategies and recommendations for learning support.

Sometimes a range of difficult behaviours may persist over a number of years and a diagnosis may not be made until the school age years or later until an individual is an adult. A comprehensive assessment for an Autism Spectrum Disorder can be undertaken by our psychologist at Creating Praxis Consulting across all age levels. Specific, practical treatment intervention plans can be developed and provided that will improve the life circumstances of a child or adult who has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Specific treatment plans are developed for each individual client diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and tailored to the age level, cognitive function, learning difficulties and behavioural presentation with respect and practical, lifelong strategies. Predominantly, individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder experience high levels of stress and anxiety in everyday activities and a treatment plan includes evidence based strategies to recognise and manage these experiences. Social skills training and improved communication are also an important focus of treatment intervention to reduce social isolation, improve class participation and learning among children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and skills to recognise social and environmental cues such as rules in team games and sports and in interpreting complex body language. Practical strategies such as visual timetables, social stories, emotional thermometers, relaxation skills, organisational and executive planning skills, adapting to changes and transitions are included in these treatment plans.

Our psychologist, Jeannette Fraser (MAPS) has extensive experience in working with children and adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and has developed a range of practical, evidence based treatment options that treats each client with dignity, respect and optimism. Her approach is that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder participating in her sessions need to enjoy themselves and have fun while also learning valuable skills. Parents will also be provided with helpful, practical strategies to reduce problem behaviours and increase social and emotional difficulties. Jeannette Fraser has a sound background in working with schools and their staff to assist children presenting with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and offers practical strategies for classroom settings and school environments. Funding applications required by schools to obtain additional support for children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder can be complex and confusing. Creating Praxis Consulting has expertise in preparing reports that cover the eligibility requirements of state and independent schools for funding of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.