Helping children on the autism spectrum

The first day of school is daunting enough for most students, but give a thought to students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger’s who find it difficult to deal with new faces, routines, noisy school grounds, not knowing how to start their work and a new teacher who may not understand their needs.

January 21, 2014 2:40pm

Amanda Curtis at one of her seminars.

Amanda Curtis (author of My friend has Asperger’s) and Stephanie Crawford (leading Melbourne speech pathologist) are running a half-day seminar in Shepparton on January 23 to help children with an ASD settle in before the school year begins.

Ms Curtis said the seminar will be held at Parklake Hotel, Shepparton this Thursday from 9.30 am to noon, and registrations can be made online at or by phoning 0417 411 007.

The two women live in Melbourne and are travelling to the Goulburn Valley because they are country girls at heart.

They both originate from country Victoria and know that services for families with children on the spectrum, and resources for teachers, are stretched.

Ms Curtis is also the founder and co-ordinator of ‘Special Little People Seminars’ and runs seminars in Melbourne with specialists from the areas of psychology, occupational therapy, speech therapy and drama (social skills).

‘‘As a parent of a child with Asperger’s, I realised there was an opportunity to have all specialists that case manage, or should case manage, a child on the spectrum come together and share strategies,’’t she said.

‘‘I approached different leaders in the field and they were all eager to take part in the seminars to help parents and teachers.

‘‘The feedback from attendees has been amazing. We share very simple strategies that can be put into place to help at home and school.’’

Along with helping teachers and families, Ms Curtis is passionate about removing the stigma associated with autism.

‘‘Our kids are incredible. They are loyal friends, they have specific interests and will achieve amazing things if their interests are harnessed at home and school.

‘‘There’s a reason for disruptive behaviour and I’m passionate especially about helping schools recognise this so they deal with these kids as a child with special needs.

‘‘They can look like all the other kids and so often their needs are not recognised.’’

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