The best Australian autism and neurodiversity resources

Australian Autism Resources

So you’ve just received an autism diagnosis? What next? Where do you go to find resources with all the information you’ll need for the journey ahead? We’ve collated the best (mostly) Australian autism resources. We’ve got books and online resources on autism and neurodiversity in time to help you celebrate Neurodiversity Week.

What is autism?

Autism is a neurological developmental difference. It changes the way an individual relates to their world and people around them. They say that if you meet one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Everyone with autism is different and has a different lived experience of being ‘on the spectrum’.

There can be strengths to being autistic. These include thinking logically, having excellent focus and memory on things they are interested in, enjoying routine and having a different perspective.

There are also challenges such as difficulty communicating, being overwhelmed by sensory information, and difficulties interacting with and understanding the actions of others.

What supports and therapies are helpful?

The best way forward after an autism identity is to surround yourself with support.

This may come in the form of a team of therapists. Once you’ve identified your areas of need, you can find experts to support you. Psychologists can help with emotional regulation, processing incidents, and provide support for you as carers and parents. Occupational Therapists can help with daily activities from eating, through to executive functioning. Speech Pathologists can help with communication, from verbal to non-verbal and navigating social conflict.

A team of therapists is just the start for finding support. Bringing family along the journey through education and sharing experience is important, as is working with schools and teachers. But first, you probably have lots of questions. Keep reading for some of the best resources with an Australian flavour.

10 best Australian autism resources online

If you are looking for resources online to support your journey towards or through an autism identity, check out these:

  1. Autism SA
    Want to know more about what autism is, its signs in children, boys, girls and adults, and how a diagnosis is made? Check out AutismSA based in South Australia.
  2. How to ADHD
    50-70% of people with autism will also be diagnosed with ADHD. Embracing all this neurodiversity can be confronting. The most accessible resource online for thriving with ADHD has got be to the website and youtube How to ADHD.
  3. Autism CRC
    The Autism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is an Australian National program. It provides resources and research on autism across the lifespan. If you want to read research on school ages autism, or find resources to support a particular need, this is where to go. Another site that collates research specifically about autism is the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at LaTrobe University.
  4. Planet Puberty
    Planet Puberty is an online resource with fact sheets, stories and games. It is designed to help parents of kids with intellectual disabilities or autism navigate puberty. It is produced by Family Planning NSW, with help from Universities and SHINESA.
  5. Positive Partnerships
    If you’re more into workshops, Positive Partnerships is funded by the Australian Government. They provide workshops, webinars and online resources to help parents of school aged children with autism.

11 helpful Australian autism books

For when you want to deep dive into a topic while curled up on the couch, here are 10 books helpful for learning more about autism.

Fictional stories

>one. The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect and The Rosie Result
The Rosie trilogy is written by Australian author Graeme Simsion. It’s about a fictional character with autism, a genetics professor called Don Tillman. These stories provide some insight into the thoughts, feelings and confusion of someone with autism navigating social conflict.

>two. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
This story places you in the mind of a 15 year old boy living with autism, experiencing the world in different and surprising ways with many “behavioural difficulties”. Written by Mark Haddon

Autobiographical Books

>three. Growing into Autism
Growing into Autism is written by Australian Sandra Thom-Jones. It tells of her experience as a woman with autism, throughout her childhood, working life and family. It’s particularly insightful to read how she experiences the ‘neuro-typical-dominant’ world in terms of sensory overload (lighting, noises) and social settings. If you’re wanting to be more inclusive of neurodivergence, this book is a great read.

Educational and reference books

>four. FLIPP the switch 2.0
If you have a child that is struggling with any executive functioning skill at school, this book can help. From time management, to project management and emotional regulation, this book provides hands-on support. This book can support schools and educators to support the development of executive functioning skills too.

>five. Smart but Scattered
Another book on developing executive functioning skills, this book has even more strategies and supports for every single aspect of executive functioning. Author Peg Dawson provides one of the best handbooks for parents, educators and schools on executive functioning. Skills such as time management, regulation, resisting impulses, and solving problems independently are addressed – important for many children with autism and neurodivergence.

>six. How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk
This book by Elaine Mazlish and Adele Faber is a parenting classic. While it’s great for any parent, it’s especially useful for parenting tricky kids. If you have the instinct to yell, shout, threaten and bribe kids when they aren’t cooperating or throwing a tantrum, this book will help you. Get your kids to do what you want them to do, while promoting healthy relationships and calm, fun family time.

>seven. The Whole Brain Child
This book by Daniel J. Siegel was recommended by our Psychologist. It explains what’s happening inside kid’s brains when they throw a tantrum or are unable to regulate their emotions. It’s a good read to teach you how to interact with your child when they’re ‘out-of-control’.

Books for kids

>eight. Hey Warrior series
Karen Young is an Australian Psychologist who has written these books for anxious kids. Hey warrior teaches kids about their amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain. It’s been helpful for our anxious kids, especially in helping them overcome food anxiety.

>nine. A different sort of normal
Especially for girls, this book is written by autistic human Abigail Balfe. In a fun and entertaining way, the difficulties of not being “normal” at school and in life are explained through stories of Abigail’s growing up.

>ten. The Feelings Series books
Help children better understand their emotions and feelings (and grow their interoception of what they feel like inside) through The Feelings Series.

>eleven. I am Autistic
This interactive, informative and beautiful book is written and illustrated by New Zealand autistic woman Chanelle Moriah. Our child pored over it and read it cover to cover three times in a row, finding many similarities to them which helped them feel supported.

Celebrating neurodiversity week

13-19 March is Neurodiversity Week. Neurodiversity encompasses autism, and a huge range of other neurological conditions and differences.

You can learn more about neurodiversity through Different Brains or the Australian Neurodiversity Hub. There are also resources for schools at the Neurodiversity Week website.

Conclusion: Australian Autism Resources

You are not alone if you find yourself with an autism or neurodiverse diagnosis. There are many Australian autism resources, both online and in books. Find your supports through therapists, family, communities and online information. And then celebrate neurodiversity this Neurodiversity Week.

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