Carers Queensland has started an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) carer support group to help parents / carers gain insight and improve their understanding of this condition.
Once a month we facilitate an evening Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) carer support group. Parents and family carers are welcome to attend, and each month we invite a special guest speaker.
In May, Autism Queensland delivered an “Early Days” workshop in our training room to new parents/carers of children aged 0-6 years who have an ASD diagnosis or are going through the assessment and diagnosis process. The workshop aimed to build a better understanding of ASD, including understanding behavioural issues, identifying the purpose of the child’s behaviour, develop strategies to cope and plan for success. The hosting of this workshop arose directly out of our conversations with Autism Queensland and the creation of our new ASD carer support group.
Requests for information and support from parents/carers of a child/adult with ASD have increased over the past year. Our ASD carer support group was created to meet those needs. The guest speakers for our monthly group come with knowledge and experience in the sector, and each session offers a chance to meet other parents/carers and ask questions of the experts.
This year we have welcomed the NDIS Early Childhood Partners and the NDIS Local Area Coordinators Partners in the Community program as well as the manager of AEIOU and Rahul Ganguly PhD from the University of Southern Queensland. Future guest speakers will include Anna Moore, Autism Coach from Education Queensland, ASPECT Australia (Autism Spectrum Australia), and we will hear from a young adult living on the spectrum.
Rahul Ganguly PhD entertained the group and delivered some key information about autism when he visited the group in July. He spoke of the early research and more recently the changes with the DSM-5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) (2013) and the classification of ASD Level 1, ASD Level 2 and ASD Level 3. The DSM-5 is the handbook used by health care professionals to guide the diagnosis of mental disorders, including ASD.
Rahul also pointed out that the models of support and diagnostic criteria come from the deficit approach/medical model, and it is very important to remember that each person on spectrum has skills, strengths and abilities. A great reminder to see the positives and celebrate the joy of caring for someone on the spectrum.
Carer support groups run throughout the state and are a great opportunity to connect with others to find social support, share information, gain knowledge and even get some time for yourself.