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Psychology Melbourne provides comprehensive services for adults, adolescents and children suffering from autism. Autism is a developmental disorder caused by differences in brain functioning.
We start your autism treatment with an Autism Screener to identify whether you have a clear diagnosis of autism or are just showing symptoms of autism. If your results indicate a full Autism Assessment is required, you will receive a reduction on the cost of the full assessment.
After your tests are completed, we recommend you have a series of individual counselling sessions with one of our psychologists who has expertise in working with autism. This will help you understand how your brain functions and help you to find ways to manage symptoms that you are having difficulty with.
To complete your therapy, we offer an Autism Skills group to help you integrate new behavioural strategies with the support of others with similar challenges.
Group work gives you valuable access to experienced autism psychologists at a reduced cost compared to individual counselling.
What is Autism?
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder which can develop as early as three years old, however, symptoms can improve over the lifetime. It can derive from a combination of genetic and environmental influences.
People with autism often have problems with social situations and non-verbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction. They can find it hard to relate to other people, struggle with eye contact and can be overwhelmed by bright lights, loud noises, and unfamiliar situations.
People with autism may also have diverse ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. They may use restricted or repetitive behaviours under stress, such as clicking their fingers or rocking. They may also have diverse ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.
Other symptoms can include:
- not responding to their name
- not smiling when you smile at them
- getting terribly upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell, or sound
- not talking as much as others
You may choose to seek a diagnosis for suspected Autism if:
- You have been diagnosed with a mental health condition or intellectual disability during childhood or adolescence but think that you may have autism
- You have struggled with feeling socially isolated and different
- Other family members have been diagnosed with Autism and some of the characteristics of autism sound familiar to you
How does an Autism Assessment work?
Our Autism assessment package includes a battery of autism screening tests as well as a full clinical history to provide you with a clear diagnosis (If applicable). The aim of the assessment is to explore an individual's developmental profile and determine whether they meet diagnostic criteria for autism.
The screening tests and other validated assessment tools are completed by you online over three clinical consultations. You will also receive recommendations for future treatment, whether medical or behavioural therapy.
Our psychologists will assess your strengths and any other mental health issues that may affect your diagnosis, such as clinical disorders, learning difficulties and medical conditions.
Your psychologist will go over your test results with you carefully to identify the best treatment options for you. Depending on the results of your screening tests, further testing may be required.
You will receive a comprehensive autism assessment report that you can show to your GP (General Practitioner), family members or your employer. The report may recommend behavioural therapy to help you manage your autism symptoms, such as individual or group psychological counselling. It may also recommend speaking to your GP or psychiatrist about psychiatric medication.
You can learn more about the Autism assessment HERE.
Our assessment process is compliant with the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism.
What is the best treatment for Autism?
Autism treatment consists of multiple psychological approaches, including behavioural, developmental, social-relational, and occupational therapy.
The psychological approach can assist people with autism to cope with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that are often associated with autism. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is used to teach people with autism how thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all connected and how they can choose how to react in unusual ways.
The behavioral approach is also effective for treating symptoms of Autism as it focuses on helping people change a behaviour by understanding the sequence of the behaviour, and how you can track what happens before and after each behaviour takes place.
The developmental approach is focused on improving specific skills, such as language skills or physical skills. Speech and Language therapy are highly recommended.
Social-relational treatment focuses on improving social skills and building emotional bonds. Social Skills Groups provide opportunities for people with Autism to practice social skills in a structured, safe environment.
Our Autism Skills Groups are led by an experienced, trained psychologist for 8 – 10 people with similar issues.
There are no specific medications for the treatment of autism. Some symptoms of autism such as overly high energy levels, an inability to focus, or self-harming behavior, such as head banging, or hand biting can be helped by medication.
Medication can also help manage comorbid psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression, sleep problems, stomach, or other gastrointestinal problems. Prescription and over-the-counter medication can only be prescribed by a GP who has experience in treating people with autism. Your GP will monitor your progress to ensure any negative side effects of the medication do not outweigh the benefits.
Psychologists are not able to prescribe psychiatric medication and if you decide to go down this path, you will need to speak to your GP. Our psychologists can explain some of the benefits, risks, and the possible side-effects of medications to help you make your own decision.
Psychiatrists are renowned for their long waiting lists, however; we can recommend psychiatrists who give preference to our clients and will see you within 8 weeks (about 2 months). They will also provide a 15% reduction on their assessment when you present our ADHD report.
You may also choose to manage your autism without medication via Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other behavioural techniques. Many people find this a longer-lasting solution.
One-on-one Autism Counselling
Individual counselling is conducted by an experienced autism psychologist, who will help you understand more deeply how your brain functions and develop ways for you to manage your autism symptoms successfully. They will also recommend useful resources to help you with this.
The CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) approach is a highly recognised psychological treatment that includes psychoeducation and behavioural skills to assist people with autism. You will learn to understand how thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all connected.
We have a team of psychologists who are trained in working with autism clients. They will teach you skills to manage your symptoms to help you live a more satisfying life. You will learn to build your confidence so that you can better manage your situation at home, socially and at work.
During your sessions, your psychologist may provide exercises for you to do and recommend various resources and apps to help you manage your symptoms.
We can help match you to the right psychologist. Book a personal matching session, or contact the Reception team on 1300 161 639 or email us at email@example.com or use the chat box on this website.
The Team of Autism Psychologists
Dr Anna Mooney
Ahmad El Rozz
Autism Skills Groups
Our Autism Skills groups provide opportunities for people with autism to learn many life skills, including social and emotional and behavioural skills in a structured, safe environment.
They are led by an experienced psychologist with specialised autism training, who will teach you a variety of social and emotional skills. You will work with 8 – 10 people, who all have autism-related issues for 6 sessions on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) teaches skills in emotional regulation, mood management, self-esteem, focus and concentration, self-awareness, self-talk, and works well in combination with physical exercise and a healthy diet.
Group work is extremely rewarding and can provide benefits that individual therapy cannot. In groups, you can learn to apply what you have learnt in individual sessions in a safe environment.
You will also gain extra support from the group: listening and seeing how other people tackle problems and make positive changes can encourage you to try new strategies for facing your own concerns.
People often feel alone and like they are the only ones struggling with autism. It can be a huge relief to hear others discuss what you are going through.
Our Autism Skills Groups are held online and give you valuable access to experienced psychologists at an affordable cost. If you have a Mental Health Care Plan, Medicare provides 10 group rebates per calendar year in addition to the 10 individual rebates.
How much does it cost?
Psychology Melbourne’s fees for Autism treatment are as follows:
1. Individual Counselling
We have a large team of male and female psychologists who provide in-person and online autism counselling. They are available six days a week, for sessions both before and after regular working hours, as well as, all day on Saturdays.
- Consultations with a clinical psychologist start from $270 and a Medicare rebate of $136.35 may apply for each session you attend, making an out-of-pocket fee of $133.65 per session.
- Consultations with a registered psychologist start from $220 and a Medicare rebate of $92.90 may apply for every session you attend, making an out-of-pocket fee of $127.10 per session.
- The fees for consultations differ between in-person and online sessions. There is an additional fee of $10 for appointments scheduled before 9 am and after 5 pm weekdays, as well as, for appointments throughout the day on Saturdays.
- Medicare rebates are available for 10 one-on-one counselling sessions per calendar year if you have a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP.
- To access funded services from a third party, such as Workcover or NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), you must provide approved claim details 48 hours before your first session. If, for any reason, approval is not provided, you will be responsible for full payment, or appointments may be cancelled. A gap fee of $20 per session may apply.
- A reduced fee is considered on request for clients under financial hardship with a letter from your GP confirming your financial situation.
- Fees can be paid by EFTPOS, VISA, or MasterCard. Please note that we do not accept American Express or Diners Club.
- Bulk Billing is not available at our clinic.
2. Autism Groups
The cost of the Autism group for all 6 sessions is approximately $50 per session. Groups are held online at various times but usually in the evenings.
- Groups run by a clinical psychologist cost $510 and a Medicare rebate of $34.60 applies for every session you attend, making an out-of-pocket fee of $302.40 or $50.40 per session.
- Groups run by a registered psychologist cost $450 and a Medicare rebate of $23.70 applies for every session you attend, making an out-of-pocket fee of $307.80 or $51.30 per session.
- Medicare rebates are available for 10 1-hour group sessions per year if you have a Mental Health Care Plan from your GP.
- Rebates only apply to each session you attend if you are situated 15 km or more from where the group is being held.
- Most of our groups are 15 km from Melbourne. Our Reception team can help you with this.
- After pay is available for the initial cost of the group and rebates are sent to your nominated account after each session.
- Some private health funds offer refunds for one-on-one counselling sessions. Please contact your private health provider to find out more about your policy.
How do I make an appointment?
Reception will find an appointment time that suits you best and will reserve 3 future appointments in the diary so that you can keep your place in your psychologist’s diary. Appointments after that will be made between you and your consultant.
We understand that changes to your appointments are sometimes necessary, but we urge you to notify us as soon as possible to avoid cancellation fees. You will be sent an SMS reminder four (4) days before your appointment.
For in-person appointments we have strict precautions in place at all our locations for your safety. If you are feeling unwell, have any symptoms of fever, or have tested positive for COVID-19, we ask you to use our online counselling services until you are well again.
Please bring your Mental Health Care Plan to your first session or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can ask your GP to fax this through to us on 03 9957 8122.
We require prepayment of all groups prior to the start date. You can purchase the group on our website or call our Reception team for assistance on 1300 161 639 or email them email@example.com or use the chat box on this website.
Once you have enrolled in the group, you will be sent several forms to complete before the group starts. If you have any questions about forms, please speak to our helpful Reception team. The forms are required to be completed 24 hours before the group starts.
You will need to join the online group 10 minutes before it starts to ensure there are no technology problems. Assistance on the night is only available for 10 minutes before and after the start time.
Alternatively, we can show you how to join on the day prior to the group starting.
If you have any technology problems, please check your audio and video are working properly as well as your Wi-Fi connection. Refresh your browser if you are still experiencing problems.