Autism in School Aged Children

Signs of Autism primary school aged children

Children are often diagnosed with autism once they get to school, when their social communication and behavioural characteristics mark their development out as different to their peers.

Difficulty  with conversation with others, perhaps dominating conversations with their favourite topic and not knowing how to take turns.

Not paying attention to or able to interpret non-verbal communication of others

Different  speech patterns, may have monotonous tone or an old fashioned way of talking.

Seeking solitude, may find being with others very stressful and exhausting

Being rigid in following rules at school and in sport and games

Finding it hard to read social cues and the unwritten rules of friendship

  Having unusual or intense interests

Sometimes there are repetitive physical movements, such as touching, biting, rocking or finger flicking

  Having sensory issues, either heightened or lack of sense of smell, touch, taste, sound and vision

  Need to follow routines to feel secure, become very upset when expected routines change

Having only few close friends

Aggression is sometimes seen, usually as a way of avoiding overwhelming situations

Anxiety is also common, especially as children enter the teenager years

Learning Difficulties

Assessment Services

Whilst a formal diagnosis is not essential, access to some services (e.g. NDIS, Carer Payments) require this.

In QLD, conclusive diagnosis of Autism is made by a Paediatrician or Psychiatrist. These professionals may undertake the assessment process themselves or may refer to an appropriately qualified Psychologist with specialist training in Autism assessment.

The assessment process may involve:

A developmental assessment
Assessment of cognitive/thinking abilities
An assessment of skills of daily living (e.g. dressing self, eating, toileting)
An assessment of speech and language skills
School observations

An assessment should include:

A comprehensive developmental interview with specific questions relating to indicators of ASD i.e. ADI-R
An observational assessment, using a standardised measure, which communication, social interaction, play, and restricted and repetitive behaviours i.e. ADOS-2.

Reliable assessment is essential. Autism assessments at Your Psych Centre are comprehensive and uses the standardised measures above.

Next Steps

If you think you or a loved on may have symptoms of Autism, and would like further assessment or support you can contact us at Your Psych Centre via phone, email or drop in to our office to arrange to meet with one of our trained psychologists for a confidential discussion.
No referral is needed to make an appointment. However, you can arrange for an appointment with your treating medical professional (e.g. GP, Paediatrician, Psychiatrist)  to discuss referral options.

Children may be eligible for a Medicare on assessment services if referred by a Paediatrician or Psychiatrist.