Autism Resources

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a pervasive developmental disorder, which means that it is a disorder that involves and continues throughout most developmental phases of a child.

The term Aspergers was used to describe Autism that did not involve a language component, however when DSM V was published this term was not included and in general now most professionals use the term ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and describe it from a mild to severe form.

Autism cannot be ‘cured’ and can be difficult to describe as it can involve a range of problems.  However there are a few ‘must haves’ to get the diagnosis

– there must be a deficiency in social and emotional functioning

– there must be either difficulties with changes in routine or no functional routines or both

Children with autism can display a number of characteristics that are similar to children who have had trauma in their lifetimes, which includes physical, emotional and sexual trauma.  These traumatic events can cause a disruption in a childs developmental phase and can present similarly to trauma, it is therefore important to see a professional to determine the diagnosis.

Services and accessing them in Adelaide

There are ranges of specialised services in Adelaide that are designed to meet these needs.

Autism SA

A list of therapists, both medical and allied health professionals, that can provide an appropriate assessment that is recognised by Autism SA can be located at their website.   These services, in general, require a referral to be completed by a health care practitioner to access them.  Please refer to the websites or contacts on the websites for further information.

Women’s and Children’s Hospital CDU

Gordon McKay Child Development Unit


Diagnostic Services.

Therapeutic Services As well as diagnostic services you may be looking for therapeutic input for your child who already has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  At present if they are under 14, most will need to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

AS per the Autism SA website “With the Australian Government’s launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Autism SA has taken a lead role in providing services to individuals with a National Disability Insurance Scheme Plan.”


Relationships Australia 

Other private options such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy can all be accessed as per the usual pathways.  Most of these allied health specialists belong to professional bodies who run web pages that list qualified therapists and their special interests.

Sensory needs of children with Autism can be wide ranging and confusing.

To learn what your childs sensory needs are it is best to see an occupational therapist who can assess this.  You may have noticed that particular sounds, physical activities or textures help settle your child and that a different set are triggers for distress.  These objects and activities are improtant in understanding your childs sensory differences and can help determine what sensory diet your child will benefit from.  The button below outlines sensory issues in children.

Working your way through the disability assistance maze can be tricky.  Other helpful resources:

Raising Children Network

Raising Children Network – Disability Services Pathfinder