By bobb |
boy and man (with iPad) looking at camera

Anna Christian

Autism CRC, an independent national research organisation focusing on best practice in relation to autism, has released a draft version of the first ever Australian national guideline to supporting autistic children and their families.

Once finalised, the National Guideline for supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia will be used to ensure children can access the safe and effective supports that they want.

The Guideline has 84 recommendations for support that cover a range of areas, including goal setting, selecting, planning, delivering, monitoring and safeguarding of supports.

It is aimed at the supports provided by allied health professionals, medical practitioners, organisations and policymakers for children 12 years old or younger.

Co-Chair of the Guideline Development Group, Professor Andrew Whitehouse, says the Guideline was developed with the aim of helping all autistic children and their families and is based on consultation with more than 700 community members.

“Autistic children and their families often benefit from supports aimed at promoting children’s learning and participation, and the wellbeing of the children and their families,” says Professor Whitehouse.

“It is essential that these supports are safe, effective, and desirable for children and their families.

“However, there is currently no nationally consistent guideline for the provision of supports to children and their families - an issue this guideline will address.

“For the first time in Australia, we will have a nationally consistent approach to supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families.”

Professor Whitehouse’s Co-Chair, Associate Professor David Trembath, adds that the Guideline “will empower families to make informed decisions around how best to support their child”.

He says the Guideline should be useful to all people and organisations who seek to support children and their families, even though it focuses on what practitioners should do to provide the right supports.

“It is really important that everyone who is involved in providing supports to autistic children and their families is aware of the guideline, both the current draft and the final version when it is released later in the year,” says A/Prof. Trembath.

A/Prof. Trembath promises the Guideline Development Group will read and respond to all the feedback received during consultation over the draft guideline and use it to make revisions before a final version is released later in the year.

“We warmly welcome feedback from children, families, people involved in supporting autistic children and their families, and all members of the broader autistic and autism communities,” says A/Prof Trembath.

“Essentially, we hope to hear from everyone who has an interest in ensuring that autistic children and their families have access to safe, effective, and desirable supports.”

After the final Guideline is released, Autism CRC will work with community partners to share it and ensure it is used by all those supporting children and families.

The draft Guideline is out for consultation until 5 pm on August 29. To be part of the consultation visit the Autism CRC website.