If you suspect that your child or yourself may have autism, it is important to speak to your GP or Paediatrician first. Your doctor will be able to direct you to a range of services that offer diagnostic assessment options. The diagnostic process will include assessment of social and communication skills, restricted and repetitive interests, sensory interests and/or patterns of behaviour.
For adults seeking an assessment usually a private assessment is the only option. There are private psychologists who conduct assessments on a fee -paying basis.
Find one here.
There are specific considerations that are vital to facilitate successful learning and participation at school. You will need to check the schools in your zone (where you live or plan to live)
You will need to find the ‘right fit’ for your child’s specific needs. First of all visit schools and ask questions!
Transition planning is vital for autistic students. The nature of autism is such that transition can be extremely stressful. Changes big and small can trigger confusion and anxiety. A new teacher, different timetable, new classmates, or new school can all make it particularly stressful. Preparation and planning for this change will assist with enabling a more successful transition.
A student support group gives you the opportunity to work with your child’s school to make decisions about their education and check their progress.
School must establish a Student Support Group (SSG) for students supported by the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) and is strongly encouraged for any students with diverse learning needs.
Little Dreamers is a Young Carer organisation, working with young people who provide unpaid care for a family member with a disability, illness or addiction across a range of direct support programs, these programs can be found here<https://www.littledreamers.org.au/programs/>: https://www.littledreamers.org.au/programs/
They have a program and staff based in Ballarat. A link for the application for support can be found here: https://www.littledreamers.org.au/apply-for-support/
Carer Gateway can provide a range of supports to unpaid carers (including siblings as young carers). Call to register: 1800 422 737 8am to 6pm weekdays https://www.carergateway.gov.au/ .
They run group activities in the school holidays for young carers and provide other supports.
Young Carers Network
The YCN is a nationally coordinated resource to raise young carer awareness, provide information, and direct young carers to appropriate pathways for support. They work to enable young carers to engage with each other through a range of opportunities to share and connect.
They also have scholarships and bursaries available to assist young carers with education costs.
Every autistic person has individual challenges, therefore their needs and requirements around appointments will differ. It is important to find practitioners that cater for your specific requirements. Ballarat Autism Network is unable to make specific recommendations. See the following link for helpful information on what to look for in a dentist/hairdresser/GP etc.
You do not need a referral to book an appointment with a Psychologist,
Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist or a Behaviour Support Therapist. You can claim a rebate through Medicare if you have a Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP) or Chronic disease management plan (CDM) from your GP. Once you have this, you may take it to any clinic of your choice.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The NDIS is a Federal Government funding scheme to assist individuals aged 65-years and under diagnosed with a disability or chronic health conditions. To receive funding, you must be assessed to determine your eligibility. For all enquiries or to check eligibility, call NDIS on 1800 800 110.
Your Local Area Coordinator in Ballarat is at Latrobe Community Health
Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDM).
If you or your child has a ‘chronic’ condition requiring therapy, you may be eligible for a Chronic Disease Management Plan (CDM). This is a GP managed plan that provides a Medicare rebate for allied health services. The CDM plan provides a maximum of 5 total rebates per calendar year across all allied health services. Speak to your GP about this funding option.
Mental Health Treatment Plan (MHTP).
A Mental Health Treatment Plan (previously known as a ‘mental health care plan’) is a plan for people with a mental health disorder. Your doctor will assess whether you will benefit from a MHTP and write one for you. If you have a MHTP, you will be entitled to Medicare rebates for up to 20 individual psychological appointments per calendar year until 30 June 2022. Speak to your GP about this funding option.