A counsellor is a professional who can help bring clarity and new ideas to areas of life which may feel stuck. Some people seek out a counsellor when there is a job loss or an individual is unhappy with their life circumstances. I have outlined some of the ways counsellors can help.
1. Counsellors listen and give guided insight into thoughts, feelings and behaviours. We can also give insight into group dynamics, either work, school, friends relatives etc.
2. Some of the distinct areas which counsellors offer insight. Conflict, grief and loss, family dynamics, children and adolescents, adults, aging and mental health
3. We can advocate on the behalf of clients to seek out other supports and services.
4. Offer a safe confidential space for clients to express themselves
5. Collaborate between other health professionals to offer a customised service for you.
What does a diagnosis involve in Australia?
The answer can depend on how old the person is who is seeking the diagnosis and the quality of services available in your area. All health professionals try their absolute best when caring for their clients but ASD is a specialised area and not everyone is up to date with current best practice. In the past the road to a diagnosis had been inconsistent and it was a complex process leaving parents and carers confused. The newly designed National Guideline for the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders 2018 was designed to help parents/carers and professionals to navigate diagnosis process in Australia.
Early Childhood Diagnosis of ASD
Doctors may pick up a developmental delay during the 9 month, 18 month, 24 month or 30 month health checks. The doctor may discuss their concerns with the parents/carers and make a referral to a paediatrician . If it is missed at this stage it can be picked up when the child starts school.
Once the child begins school parents or carers may have concerns with the child's development progress. Sometimes teachers may express their concerns with parent. If this is the case the first step is to seek advice of your G.P (General Practitioner/Doctor). The referral will likely be to a paediatrician. What are the concerns? Specific disruptive behaviours, speech development, academic issues, unusual behaviour, violence, relationship issues, loss of a previous skill etc. It can be helpful to document what is happening at home and at school to monitor the intensity. This helps validate what is happening. Documentation can include a diary of the behaviours and if there were any trigger events leading up to the event. Video evidence which is recorded on a electronic device can also help support your case. A diagnosis can take several years and it is a multi-interdisciplinary process. The following guidelines can assist with navigating the diagnosis process.
The Guidelines to a diagnosis is available for download at:
To locate a health professionals the health direct website is helpful. The website also offers information on ASD and other sites which can assist.
Are you an adult who is seeking a diagnosis. The first place to start is with your G.P., a referral will be made to an appropriate health professional usually a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Author: Karen Pacey
Life experience has given me a unique insight into ASD and how I can assist the community. I have completed a Diploma of Counselling and I am studying toward my Bachelors Degree in Counselling. Everyone has the ability to change and I hope my blog can assist others.