Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a label to describe a greatly variable condition generally marked by a lack of inherent social interest and/or skills, withdrawal, communication impairments, restricted & repetitive behaviours, developmental delays, sensory sensitivities and information processing anomalies. There are very often other varied co-morbid conditions (60% concurrence rate) that accompany the disorder such as anxiety ,ADHD, hyper-aroused nervous system, behavioural and emotional regulation challenges, impulse control, sleeping problems, food intolerances and overall reduced health & wellness.
Many of the common challenging behaviours and perceived deficits associated with ASD are not necessarily direct symptoms or characteristics of Autism itself, but are more likely responses and survival mechanisms related to the overwhelming difficulties, frustrations and physical discomfort being experienced in a world that does not accommodate acute sensory sensitivities and cognitive processing differences.
Currently the mainstream method of treatment in Australia, apart from Speech and Occupational therapy, is essentially 'behaviour training' through a version of Operant Conditioning (Skinner;Thorndike). Whilst a very helpful tool for some cases, contexts and aspects of Autism, it often overlooks the need to view the Autistic person holistically and work on overall health and wellness, feelings of safety and happiness, sensory integration, the regulation of the nervous system and foundational development. In this way, behaviour training is not actually based on the most recent research or innovative, neuro-diversity inclusive, individualized approaches and techniques.
Autism Aloud's - Creative & Integrative Approach supports the well-being of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder through a holistic, integrative, creative process-oriented model. This means that ALL aspects of a person and their life are considered relevantly interconnected and important in their development and well-being. It means that every individual's experience is unique and requires a flexible, individualized approach that covers different areas. There is not 1 magic, over night answer; but there is a winning combination of several different interventions that with patience, positivity, effort and consistency, will get results.
Autism Aloud works off an Integrative Key Worker Model and so acts as an intermediary between allied health professionals, family and support workers/junior therapists to help create a therapy program that integrates the different speech, OT, academic, behavioural and social goal activities into creative, process-oriented and child-led sessions to be implemented throughout the week.
Whilst always remaining informed by research and evidence-supported practices, the primary focus of the Creative & Integrative Approach is to facilitate neuroplasticity (Doidge,2007) and Self-healing through relationships, ideal environment and varied playful, multi-modal, creative learning and therapeutic techniques tailored to each individual. Instead of focusing completely on 'fitting in' and performed outcomes, it is within the energy and experience of processes and cultivated relationships, as well as using the client's own interests & strengths, that real healing, learning, development and incredible improvements happen.
For more details on the philosophy and techniques used in the Creative & Integrative Approach therapy sessions, please go to the
To begin with, it must be heavily emphasized that it is the parents who are in charge of the child's program and team.
The Integrative Key Worker's role in addition to delivering 1:1 therapy sessions to the child, is to educate, facilitate and support parents and their team, to run the program. However, the child's program and progress is still ultimately the responsibility of the parents and how much time and effort they choose to invest.
- Upon contacting Autism Aloud, we will set up an initial 1 hour free consultation to get a better idea of the suitability of the
Creative & Integrative Approach to your family and also to meet your child (or you, if you are the client).
- If you are interested in going ahead, we will then have a 'Program consultation' session to explore and clarify your goals, resources and organize a plan on how to move forward.
If you have already begun speech and OT ect, then we will need to get a copy of their assessment reports, observe 1 of each of their sessions and consult with them about their identified goals and approaches.
- If you are in the very beginning stages then we will go over what you need to organize to get done and identify which areas we may be able to help you. We may need a few initial 'program consultations' if you are in the very beginning stages.
- We will spend around 3 separate sessions observing and interacting with your child to get to know them and when a junior support team has been put together, we will help you run another Program Consultation/Team meeting to collaboratively put together an individualized creative integrative program for your child and begin coaching your support workers/junior therapists.
- Once everything is moving along; Therapy sessions, Program Consultations, Parent support, Team Meetings and ongoing consultations/observations with the allied health professional team will happen at the parents discretion and/or when required.
- For more details on the philosophy and techniques used in the Creative Integrative Approach therapy sessions, please go to the
1:1 Sessions with Children, Teens or Adults,
Min.1.5 hours - Max. 3 hours
Kids (Not in school/home schooled)
Ages: 3 - 8 - $110 p/hr
Kids (In school or 8+)
Ages: 5 - 11 - $120 p/hr
Teens (High-school or 12+)
Ages: 12 - 17 -$130 p/hr
Ages: 18+ -$140 p/hr
* Services are currently mobile, delivered in your own residence or place of choice.
Travel costs have been included in fees up to max. 25 minutes travel time.
Additional fees apply for longer travel time.
Parent/ Carer/ Team Support
Program consultations, ongoing support, team coaching, team meetings
Min 30 min - Max. 3 hours
Program Consultations & Support -$140 p/hr
Allied Health and Junior Therapist Overlaps -$140 p/hr
Team Meetings -$140 p/hr
Online Short - Course
Coming in 2020
About Your Therapist
Veronica Hall (Niki)
WWC No. WWC0479882E
ACA Membership: 11511
- Bachelor of Arts/Fine Arts
- Graduate Diploma in Psychological Science
- Advanced Diploma in Transpersonal Art Therapy
- Graduate Certificate in Autism Studies
- Graduate Certificate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming
- Master of Arts: Health & Social Well-being
Professional Training & Workshops
- Process - Oriented Psychotherapy
- Applied Behavioural Analysis
- Positive Behaviour Support/Functional Behaviour Assessment
- Play & Relationship Based Intervention
('Connect, Communicate, Grow' - Autism International)
- Sound & Music Methods for Therapy
Part1: Influenced by the philosophies, research and techniques similar to programs like Hanen®, The Son-rise Program©, Floor-time®, The Anat Baniel Method® and Naturalistic Intervention; Autism Aloud's method of intervention for the ASD client understands that building a strong foundation and working up the ladder of development will pave the way to success. This begins with first focusing on creating a calm, safe and happy environment, affirming them and using their own interests to build real rapport in order to naturally and genuinely gain and maintain joint attention, have a social relationship and motivate a real desire to interact.
Neuro-imaging has seen that many ASD brains do not ‘light up’ in the same manner as a neurotypical person when looking at a face, hearing a human voice or joining together in social activities.
By being accommodating, understanding, flexible, going into their experience and joining them with their interests, showing them people can be safe and enjoyable; we can start building new neural pathways that will attend to, and can cope with, social interactions and the 'outside world'. This basic interest and ability to attend is what enhances implicit learning, a fundamental part of language and skills acquisition. Creating a consistently calm, safe and happy environment also helps to balance the inherent stressed out nervous system, which greatly assists healing, development and self-regulation capacity.
This initial focus on building a trusting relationship and environment also lays the foundations for more successful interventions on challenging behaviours and teaching everyday functional skills.
A holistic approach will always produce the best outcomes for an individual, which means Autism Aloud's particular intervention model must include the participation and coaching of a child’s parents/carers as well as a consideration of exercise, diet, biomedical intervention, environmental modifications and attitudinal adjustments.
Part 2: Once a responsive, trusting relationship has been established and genuine joint attention improves; learning and language delays start to improve as well. Research has shown that joint attention significantly increases implicit learning and expressive language (Gulsrud et al, 2014).
When this stage has been reached; naturalistic, expressive & sensory arts therapy, play-based, process-oriented interventions as well as positive behaviour support and positive reinforcement teaching & learning strategies tailored specifically to the client will be used to help address more specific outcomes higher on the developmental ladder.
Processes could be in the form of: Games, Play, Arts & Craft, Music & Sound, Dance & Movement, Sensory Massage, Social Story Telling, Roleplay/Drama, Rough & Tumble, Talking, Semi-structured Table Tasks, Computer games and activities etc.
Flexibility is key - Whatever the client leans towards, whatever works, will be used.
If appropriate, the speech therapy techniques of Hanen® and some ABA behavioral strategies may also be utilized within sessions.
'Process - Oriented' means that the focus of each session is not on a specific performed outcome or end product. It is about the experience of the process assisting the brain and body to reorganize, differentiate and integrate in order to build new neural pathways, learn and heal.
For those who have communication issues or no verbal language; play, art, music and dance may be a great source of relief, release, expression and communication.
For people who have sensory processing issues and an over-active central nervous system, manifesting generally as being under-responsive or over-responsive sensorily and often accompanied by anxiety and constant stress; different methods of touch, massage, movement and expressive arts help to relieve, regulate, stimulate and of course express these issues.
Expressive and Sensory Arts Therapy refers to the use of different modalities of the 'arts' and the senses; drawing, painting, colouring, sculpture, mask making, body painting, craft, collecting flowers, making mud pies, creating potions, exploring smells, writing, telling stories, drama, roleplay, games, play, singing, drumming, listening to music, playing instruments, dancing, movement, touch, climbing, rough & tumble etc.
Autism Aloud purposefully tries to explore the full sensory experience (visual, audio, olfactory, kinesthetic, tactile, vestibular, proprioceptive).
Functional Behaviour, ASD Tutoring &
Positive Behaviour Support
-Individualized client-centered & behavioural strategies
-Sensory Profile based teaching strategies
-Preventative ecological modifications
-Functional replacement behaviours
-Positive behaviour learning and reinforcement
Challenging behaviours can feel very overwhelming and often become the main focus area of treatment for Autism.
Whilst it is only one aspect of ASD, it can be a really big one.
Functional Behaviour Assessment and Positive Behaviour Support strategies and planning is based on the premise that the core reason for most behaviours are down to trying to gain/seek something, avoid/prevent/escape something or in the case of ASD are because of sensory processing and emotional regulation issues as well.
The correlation between difficulties in verbal communication and challenging behaviours in ASD supports the theory that often the screaming, biting, throwing or other behaviours are a means of trying to communicate or fulfil SOMETHING. Identifying what that 'something' is gives us the best chance of helping and thereby reducing those behaviours. This might include modifying situations to prevent triggers, teaching appropriate and functional replacement behaviours that fulfil the desired outcomes and discouraging challenging behaviours by rendering them functionless.