Autism is a developmental condition that can impact social interaction and impaired or unusual verbal and non-verbal communication. Occupational therapy assists those living with Autism with early diagnosis and appropriate evidence informed treatment.
Trained occupational therapists can also assist with modifying the environment to remove the obstacles or common ways of doing things that make tasks difficult for those living with Autism. OTs work with the child, parent, carer and/or teacher to develop a plan that includes goals and objectives for them to follow which is then monitored, reviewed and modified as the child progresses.
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A National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders
The National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders is the first, unified approach to the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia.
The Guideline provides health professionals with a nationally consistent, step-by-step process to follow. This process spans from the time of referral until assessment results are shared with individuals and caregivers, including suggestions to meet support needs.
For parents and caregivers of children undergoing an assessment, and adults, the Guideline will help you to understand this process and ensure you are receiving appropriate clinical care.
National Guideline for supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia
Autism Cooperative Research Centre’s (CRC) new guideline for supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia has been launched following approval by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of all 84 Consensus-Based Recommendations within the Guideline..
The Guideline provides clear and consistent recommendations and practice points for practitioners who deliver supports to autistic children and their families, to ensure they are doing so in ways that are effective, safe and desirable to children and their families.
The Guideline development was led by a 15 member Guideline Development Group with broad consultation with autistic people, family members and practitioners. OTA was pleased to be a part of the Guideline Reference Group consisting of key stakeholders and to facilitate the involvement of occupational therapists in the Delphi survey to inform the Guideline Development.
The new Guideline focuses on the delivery of non-pharmacological supports in community and clinical settings that aim to support children aged 0-12 years. The Guideline combines the best available research evidence, with evidence from clinical practice and evidence relating to the experiences, preferences, and priorities of children and their families.
Recommendations focus on key elements of practice to be followed for a practitioner to deliver evidence-based support. Recommendations are accompanied by good practice points that provide critical context to each recommendation, such as how it should be implemented in clinical practice, or how it is applied to a specific population or under specific circumstances.
The Guideline is available free of charge and can be accessed, both as a series of interactive webpages and as a downloadable pdf document, through a simple registration process.
Complex Neurodevelopmental Disorder (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder) and Eligible Disability Services
The Complex Neurodevelopmental Disorder (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder) and Eligible Disability Services program is designed to fund allied health services for children with autism or any other complex neurodevelopmental disorders. A wide range of conditions and disabilities fall within the scope of this program, these have recently been expanded as of 1 March 2023. Current guidelines and eligible conditions are outlined by Medicare on MBS Online (see here). While other Medicare programs typically fund interventions only, occupational therapists are eligible to provide assessment and diagnosis services as well as treatment services under this program.
For further information regarding the Medicare programs and how to obtain a Medicare provider number please refer to the OTA Medicare overview document