The Parent Room
The Lab Parents’ Room is where parents and carers of Lab members share their knowledge and experiences of raising kids on the Autism spectrum, as well as resources that we have found helpful along the way.
As the content reflects the personal experiences of group members, it is in no way intended to be exhaustive, or even expert. Rather, we hope to share some of tips, advice and recommendations that have already helped some of us to make real breakthroughs in managing issues as diverse as schooling, friendships, diet, sleep, exercise, professional services, medications and supplements.
If there is a central shared belief among our members, it is well expressed in the words of Lab co-founder Dale Linegar: “A lot of what traditional society would call a disability is actually an ability when it is looked at in a different way and put into a different setting.”
In the end, it’s all about the kids.
We’re all here to give them the best possible future we can - support their needs and play to their strengths. And in our experience, nothing beats experience itself. At The Lab’s Parents’ Room we have found a place overflowing with this precious resource, where no-one is judged and where we celebrate individual difference and generosity of spirit.
About Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism
Tony Attwood www.tonyattwood.com.au
Associate Professor at Griffith University in Queensland, Tony Attwood is a leading world authority and author on Asperger’s Syndrome. His book The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome is the definitive handbook for anyone affected by Asperger’s syndrome.
Autism Victoria - Amaze www.amaze.org.au
Autism Victoria, trading as Amaze, a member-based not-for-profit organisation, is the peak body for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in the state of Victoria. The aim of Amaze is to improve the quality of life for people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders, their family and carers. They provide a range of services to individuals and agencies with an interest in Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger’s Syndrome and PDD-NOS).
John Elder Robison www.johnrobison.com
Author of Look Me in the Eye (2007), a memoir of growing up with undiagnosed Asperger’s in the years before it was commonly recognized. Look Me in the Eye is the most widely read memoir of life with Asperger’s in the world and was followed by Be Different (2011) which gives practical advice to young people growing up on the spectrum today.
Temple Grandin www.templegrandin.com
Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities, a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and one of the world’s most famous people with autism. In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people. Her books include: Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism (2004); The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism (with Sean Barron, 2005);Thinking in Pictures: Other Reports from My Life with Autism (1996); The Way I See It: A Personal Look At Autism And Aspergers (2009).Grandin was the focus of a HBO film, Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes as Grandin.
Ellen Notbohm www.ellennotbohm.com
Author, columnist and mother of sons with autism and ADHD, her books include Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, Ten Things Your Student with Autism Wishes You Knew and The Autism Trail Guide: Postcards from the Road Less Traveled and 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s.
Wendy Lawson has Autism Spectrum Disorder, four children and five university degrees. Wendy runs training programs for those wanting to understand autism better. She is also a poet and a writer who possesses a real passion for words: "It was when I came to understand that 'words' could explain the world better that my love for them increased. With each and every word I have a corresponding picture. As these pictures form links within the chain of life so my experience becomes more 'real'. I want to share my autistic understanding with others. This may then help them to understand what being autistic is like and in doing so a bridge can be formed, running from my world to theirs. Making the journey into their world is never easy."
Wrong Planet is a web community designed for individuals (and parents / professionals) with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, PDDs, and other neurological differences. Wrong Planet provides a discussion forum, where members communicate with each other; an article section, with exclusive articles and how-to guides; a blogging feature; and a chatroom for real-time communication with other Aspies. Wrong Planet has more than 66,000 registered members and its discussion forums contain millions of messages.
The Asperger Syndrome Support Network Victoria www.assnvic.org.au
ASSN Vic is a non-profit organisation established in 1991 by a group of parents of those with Asperger Syndrome. ASSN provides support, a forum for discussion and education for those caring for, or living with Asperger Syndrome within Victoria. ASSN Vic does not receive any government funding and relies on its 400 members to provide its services which include: a telephone information line (03) 9845 2766, a quarterly newsletter, regular support meetings, seminars and library resources with plenty of information about the condition.
Aspies Central www.aspiescentral.com
A forum to discuss Asperger’s, Autism and related conditions, with blogs, articles, social groups and loads of links and references.
Danuta Bulhak-Paterson www.uniqueupsychology.com.au
Danuta is a Clinical Psychologist located in East Melbourne. Her practice, Unique U Psychology, provides a special service—the recognition of the unique and specific attributes of Autism Spectrum Conditions in girls and women, and support for them. Danuta trained under Dr Tony Attwood.
Richard Eisenmajer www.theasdclinic.com.au
Richard is a Clinical Psychologist with a special interest in, and 10 years experience working with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Richard completed his PhD and published research into the Theory of Mind abilities of people with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Richard is a Director of The ASD Clinic which works closely with a group of independent Psychologists, all of whom have a special interest in helping families and individuals of all ages with an Autism Spectrum Disorder including Asperger's Syndrome. The ASD Clinic works with individuals and families and provides presentations on ASD to schools and other organisations. Richard has produced a DVD of his presentation, "Imagine Having Asperger's Syndrome: A First Consultation".
Schooling & Education
Sue Larkey www.suelarkey.com.au
Sue Larkey is a highly qualified educator who has taught students with autism spectrum disorder in mainstream and special schools. She completed a Masters in Special Education and is currently working towards her Doctorate of Education, focusing on inclusive education. Sue is unashamedly passionate about her mission - to inspire parents and educators and teach them how to ‘Make it a Success'. Sue’s website provides a wide range of resources and a free subscription E-Zine offering strategies, information articles and ‘action steps’ to make teaching and living with Autism Spectrum Disorder a Success.
The AYCE (Access Yea Community Education) Program provides education up to and including VCE for students who, for a wide variety of reasons, are not enrolled at a mainstream school. The program has eight off-campus centres in Victoria and is suited to all age groups. At AYCE the expectation of a varied standard for each child lets them perform to their maximum academically in a non-threatening environment.
ASD Association www.asdassociation.co.cc
The ASD (A School Development) Association is a team of parents, professionals and persons dedicated to improving the educational standards of children with High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The ASD Association recognised a deficit in the education of children with Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism in Australia: “For children with autism who were attending school, 82% reported ‘having difficulty’ at school, the majority of whom had difficulty with communication, learning and fitting in socially… Of those children with autism attending school, 24% did not receive any additional support” - Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009. ASD Association is working with professionals to devise a method of education that will better meet the needs of children with Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism in Australia.
The Currajong School www.currajong.vic.edu.au
The Currajong School is a registered, independent special school located in East Malvern, a south eastern suburb of Melbourne. Established in 1974, the school is a non-denominational, co-educational school with classes from Prep to Year 8 for students with social, emotional and behavioural disorders. The length of placement is three years or longer if required.
The Khan Academy www.khanacademy.org
The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organisation with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere. The website offers over 3,100 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practise. All of the site's resources are available free to anyone: “Learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace.”
Irlen Lenses www.dyslexiaservices.com.au
Dyslexia is associated with a variety of reading and perceptual disorders; Irlen Syndrome is a form of Perceptual Dyslexia. Symptoms include poor spelling, writing, inefficient reading, sore eyes, headaches, glare sensitivity and depth perception difficulties. Irlen Syndrome is not an optical condition. Irlen's patented colour lens technology corrects the way the brain mis-processes specific frequencies in the light spectrum. Irlen Lenses can therefore, provide immediate assistance.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland to regulate circadian rhythm and the sleep–wake cycle. Melatonin is used for treatment of insomnia and unlike benzodiazepines and related drugs, prolonged/slow-release melatonin does not appear to cause impaired daytime alertness, dependence, withdrawal effects or rebound insomnia. Some people gain clinically important improvements in quality of sleep and morning alertness with prolonged-release melatonin. In addition to being a sleep aid, melatonin may also help in the methylation process, which is important in the body’s absorption and utilization of vitamin B-6.
The MEND Foundation is a nonprofit organisation whose mission is to inspire children, families and adults to lead and sustain fitter, healthier and happier lives. Its focus is on changing the behaviours that cause overweight and obesity through its MEND 7-13 Program - one of the world's largest evidence-based healthy lifestyle programs that empowers 7-13 year olds, with the support of their families, to reach and maintain a healthy weight. It does this by helping families change unhealthy attitudes about food and activity (M for Mind), keep physically active on a regular basis (E for Exercise), learn how to choose foods that are healthy, tasty and nutritious (N for Nutrition), and take action to maintain a healthy lifestyle - for life (D for Do It!). For more information call the MEND Australia office on 1800 780 900 or SMS 0409 745 645 for a call back.
DISCLAIMER: No reader should act on the basis of any information contained on this Website without seeking independent professional medical advice. No responsibility or liability can be accepted by The Lab or the authors for any loss, damage or injury that may arise from any person acting on any statement or information contained on this Website and all such liabilities are expressly disclaimed.
Carers Victoria www.carersvic.org.au
From offices in Footscray, Carers Victoria provides care and support to family members and friends throughout Victoria who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail aged. The organisation works closely with government and other support organisations to improve the lives of caring families throughout Victoria. Freecall: 1800 242 636