Mindfulness: Why is it so important? by Dr David Zimmerman, Clinical Psychologist

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. When we engage in deliberate mindfulness practise, it provides a window of opportunity to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind and approaching…

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Encouraging the Positive in Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) By, Ms Sarah Ormond, Psychologist

Pathological (extreme) demand avoidance (PDA) is a term applied to patterns of complex behaviours that may be seen in some children on the autism spectrum, who often experience heightened anxiety. Children with demand avoidance may present with difficulties in social communication, social interaction, relationships, and may present with obsessive and rigid behaviour consistent with ASD; however, PDA is proposed to…

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Gifted Children on the Spectrum – How Can We Support Them? by Dr Wesley Turner, Clinical Psychologist

Often, ASD individuals who are also Gifted present with a combination of cognitive abilities and executive function difficulties that result in a ‘perfect storm’ that negatively impacts on academic and social performance. Typically, their neurocognitive profiles include discrepancies in the following areas: Cognitive Flexibility (the ability to make transitions, tolerate change, problem-solve flexibility and switch attention); Inhibitory Control (the ability…

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Adaptations to Autism By Professor Tony Attwood, Clinical Psychologist

One of the central characteristics of autism in DSM 5 is a deficit in social communication and social interaction. The social and interpersonal aspects of life are a challenge, so how does the person who has autism adapt to these challenges? Clinical experience suggests there are three potential adaptations: the introvert, the “intensive” extrovert, and the “camouflaging” extrovert. The Introvert…

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Research Article Review by Dr Michelle Garnett, Clinical Psychologist. Prevalence of Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders in Average-IQ Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-analysis

Lugo Marin, J et al. (2018). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (2018), Vol. 48, pp 239-250 Since their separation as independent conditions, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders (SSD) can be misconceptualised as mutually exclusive disorders.  Similarities between both disorders can lead to misdiagnosis, especially when it comes to average-IQ adults who were not identified during childhood. …

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Parent and Teacher Agreement of Behaviour Problems in Children on the Autism Spectrum: A summary of a research article By Ms Lizaan Schwartz, Provisional Psychologist

Behavioural and emotional difficulties, including anxiety, depression, aggression, oppositional, and attention difficulties are highly prevalent in children on the autism spectrum (Kanne et al., 2009; Ung et al., 2013). These difficulties affect children’s quality of life and daily functioning, and vary across home and school settings. These variations can be problematic for clinicians and therapists who often use the multi-informant…

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Self-Injurious behaviours in Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: A Literature Review and Recommendations by Ms Lizaan Schwartz, Provisional Psychologist

As a professional working with adolescents on the autism spectrum at the clinic, I have observed an increased number of Self-Injurious behaviours being reported by clients’ parents and teachers. Self-Injurious behaviour is when a person physically harms themselves for different reasons. Self-Injurious behaviours in children on the autism spectrum can range from head banging on the floor, walls or other…

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Autism and Screen Time By Dr David Zimmerman, Clinical Psychologist

Research suggests that children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) spend more time on video games and computers than their peers (Mazurek et al., 2012; 2013; Kuo et al., 2014). Although there are evidence-based benefits identified from the use of digital and social media, such as early learning opportunities, building knowledge and increasing opportunities for social contact and support,…

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Generalisation of Social Skills in the Real World by Sonya Blandford

Social skills can be described as initiating and reciprocating interactions, understanding non-verbal communication and managing anxiety associated with social interactions.   Social skill deficits that have not been addressed can have a long term negative impact on a child's life including difficulties around employment, maintaining friendships and mental health.   Social skills development is a frequently implemented intervention for children with ASD.  …

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