First Steps for Autism

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2 First Steps for Autism Why choose us? We have been delivering Early Intervention Services for more than 40 years and are experts in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder Our therapy teams and specialist therapy centres are based in Shenton Park, East Fremantle, Midland, Bedford and Australind. We provide therapy services across metropolitan Perth and the South West We are the largest Autism specific organisation in Australia providing services to people from early childhood to adulthood We have a strong evidence base and know how to achieve the best outcomes Our therapy team has strong collaborative relationships with the education sector Therapy with the child is delivered across home, school and community environments, or in our specialist Early Therapy centres. Therapy packages are tailored to the individual need of the child and family 2 Autism Therapy Services

3 THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for the dedication you all had towards Mikayla and how far she has come since attending First Steps. It is the best decision we made for our daughter. Parent of Mikayla, aged 5 years Autism Therapy Services 3

4 It s hard to put into words (without crying happy tears ) the joy and pride we felt when Ollie delivered a perfect performance at his (mainstream) class Xmas concert earlier this week. We have wondered when and if that day would ever come. It has only been possible because of you all. Mother of Ollie, aged 5 years 4 Autism Therapy Services

5 Families who suspect their child has Autism, or are going through the diagnostic process We have skilled therapy staff available who can talk to you about the early signs of Autism and diagnostic processes. Our staff can answer any of your questions relating to your child s development and link you into services and supports. Families can call us on: (08) We also have a range of no cost workshops and therapy groups: Is it Autism Workshops For families who suspect their child is showing the signs of Autism Early Days Workshops For families in the early stages of diagnosis for their child Access to our Specialist Long Day Care Program in Bedford Support to link into diagnostic pathways through our support line Early Interaction Family Sessions: This includes 6 x 2 hour sessions, where the child and family participate in a range of play activities. Therapists work alongside parents to teach effective strategies to maximise the child s communication and social engagement so strategies can be generalised in the home setting. This group is recommended for children that are going through the diagnostic process for Autism. Talk to our staff and we can link you into what supports best meet the needs of your family. Autism Therapy Services 5

6 About us Therapy Programs for children aged 0-7 years First Steps for Autism: Therapy Services are based on a wide body of evidence based research in Autism. Our research conducted with Curtin University demonstrates that children who participate in our program make significant gains in their skill development and school participation. Our Team We have a specialist team who engage in ongoing training, development and mentoring. The trans-disciplinary team includes: Psychologists Clinical Psychologists Speech Pathologists Occupational Therapists Early Childhood and Primary Teachers Therapy Assistants A therapist from the team is allocated to be the key contact for each family. This therapist provides ongoing support and consultation and can be contacted at all times to facilitate the generalisation and transfer of skills across all environments. Individualised Assessment Each child s program is based on an individual assessment, in collaboration with the family, to identify the child s learning profile and areas for further skill development. A documented therapy program is developed from the assessment and it includes the following areas: Attention Communication Behaviour/self-regulation Cognitive skill development Gross motor/fine motor development Play/social skills School readiness Self-help/independence All goals are functional and relate to the environments the child participates in. The therapist key worker also works in close collaboration with the family to integrate therapy strategies into family routines. In addition, therapists work in close collaboration with daycare and school educators to integrate therapy goals into the school routine. 6 Autism Therapy Services

7 You all do an amazing job and give us, as parents, hope and confidence in the future. Parents of Ben, aged 5 years Autism Therapy Services 7

8 8 Autism Therapy Services

9 Individual Behaviour Support Plans Often once children start in our therapy program, difficult behaviours reduce significantly as the child starts to develop skills. Where there is a need for additional support, therapists plan, design and implement individualised behaviour support plans. This includes monitoring and ongoing review of the behaviour support plan in consultation with the family and other community/ school supports. Parent Training Parents are key members of the team. Throughout the year, training workshops and coaching programs are run to assist parents to turn everyday family life and events into learning opportunities for their child. Parents accessing our therapy programs have access to a wide range of training workshops. Our Speech Pathologists also run certified Hanen, More than Words and It takes Two to Talk intensive communication workshops across the year. Sibling Support We provide a range of recreational groups and parent support, for siblings of children who are accessing our First Steps therapy program. School Consultation and Support Staff will work closely with each child s school to facilitate: transition into new school environments integration of therapy goals within the School Individual Education Plan support of curriculum modification and integration of visual strategies Teachers are encouraged to observe therapy sessions to replicate strategies that can be implemented into the classroom. Resource Development Specialist visual resources are prepared and implemented across home, school and community environments to assist the individual s independence, communication and social participation. Autism Therapy Services 9

10 First Steps for Autism Therapy Packages All our therapy packages are tailored to meet the individual needs of each child and their family. In addition to the support provided above, families can choose to have therapy at our specialist therapy centres or in home, school and/or community environments. Most families start our program in our weekly centre based program where children attend for a minimum of one 3 hour sessions a week and participate in intensive individual and group therapy. This program maximises therapy hours and also provides opportunities for children to develop skills that are required for effective participation in school. We have children as young as 18 months participating in this program. Centre Based Therapy Program in more detail Our research supports that children who participate in this program make significant gains in their development. If the child is at a day care or school, the child s therapist works closely with the teachers to integrate the therapy goals across these environments. Intensive parent coaching and support is also provided to facilitate integration of therapy goals into family routines. The Centre Environment is designed to facilitate maximum learning opportunities. The areas in our therapy centre mimic early school environments and facilitate development of skills required for effective school participation. Group size is dependent on skill level, and ranges from 3 to 10 children. Intensity of support is reduced as children develop skills and independence. 10 Autism Therapy Services

11 The group program follows an Autism Specific Curriculum that develops skills across developmental areas. Within the 3 hour session, children participate in individual therapy sessions for 45 minutes. Group therapy addresses gross and fine motor skills, social skills, peer interaction and school readiness. It includes participation in small skillbased groups across the following activities: mat time, peer play, craft, gym and independent work skills. The group curriculum has a strong focus on developing the social communication skills required for effective participation in school. Parents and teachers are invited to observe and participate in group and individual therapy sessions. School and Home Based Therapy Package For families who choose to have a home and school based therapy package, at the completion of the assessment, the clinician will work with the family to develop a therapy program that can be delivered in the families home and/or at school. In addition to Direct Therapy, therapy goals are integrated into school, day care and Individual Education Plans so that they are worked on across the school day. Therapists also work in the home environment to set up supports and coach family members to maximise communication opportunities for the child within the natural context of the home routine. Autism Therapy Services 11

12 I remember when I started First Steps, and I was asked for 3 wishes for my son. I am so happy that I have received all 3 wishes and so much more! Not only have you given Kallem the knowledge, you have also taught and shown me how to understand, and shown me how I can progress with Kallem throughout his journey. Mother of Kallem, aged 6 years 12 Autism Therapy Services

13 Autism Therapy Services 13

14 Specialist Therapy Services In addition to our Therapy Packages, we have a number of short term, specialist therapy services outlined below: Specialist Communication Assessment It may be identified that a child will require further specialist assessment intervention for a communication device. Complex assessment of communication is provided by Specialist Speech Pathologists to assess need for Augmentative & Alternative Communication equipment including comprehensive high tech or low tech options. During the assessment phase a number of communication devices are trialled with the individual and or family. Once identified, the speech pathologist works intensively with the family/ educators to integrate the device into daily routines. Intensive Behaviour Intervention When the existing trans-disciplinary program is not sufficient for the child s behaviour needs, it may be identified that additional support is required from our specialist behaviour support team. This involves further in-depth assessments and more detailed individualised Positive Behaviour Support plans. The program includes training and coaching for families, supporters and others in behaviour management, working with siblings and the development of individualised resources. School Holiday Programs Therapists run a range of holiday programs to develop skills and create social networks for children aged up to 7 years. Specialist Parent Training Hanen More Than Words and TalkAbility Training: Certified intensive parent training to help children reach their full communication potential. This involves direct training and intensive parent coaching. The Autism Association runs More Than Words and TalkAbility for parents of children with ASD throughout the year. This program will be run by Hanen certified Speech Pathologists from Early Intervention. The training runs over a 10-week period. 14 Autism Therapy Services

15 Tristan has come such a long way, when he started First Steps, he only had single words, no play skills and limited ability. Today he is socially, verbally and cognitively, such a different boy and most of the time we just can t keep him quiet! Mother of Tristan, aged 6 years Autism Therapy Services 15

16 For More Information Funding: Children who have a formal diagnosis of autism can access funding through a range of avenues depending on where they reside. Families are always welcome to seek more information regarding funding and the services we provide by talking to our therapists or by visiting one of our therapy centres. We provide services across the metropolitan area and the south west, with therapy centres based in Midland, Shenton Park, East Fremantle, Australind and Bedford. Contact us now on so we can help you through these options: Call us on (08) or 16 Autism Therapy Services

17 Autism Therapy Services 17

18 School Age Therapy Service For children and adolescents aged 6 18 years Contact us: (08) Autism Therapy Services

19 Autism Therapy Services 19

20 About the Autism Association of Western Australia The Autism Association of Western Australia is the largest specialist lifespan organisation providing services to people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in Australia. Services are best practice and based on leading international peerreviewed research in the field of Autism. The Autism Association has well established links both nationally and internationally. Services include: Autism Advisors and family support for newly diagnosed children Trans-disciplinary Early Intervention Services School Support Service and Therapy Services for school age children Therapy and Clinical services for adults with ASD Community Living Support: Shared and Individual Homes Individual Support Programs tailored to individual-needs, including Post School Options Employment Placement and Support Program Professional Development and Training Services State-Wide Consultancy Service Family Support Short Breaks for Children (Respite Service) Call us: (08) Regional: Visit: 20 Autism Therapy Services

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