Friday, 23rd February, 2018
By Emily Roberts
A two-day workshop with a specialist in autism has attracted interest from more than 150 people.
Professor Tony Attwood is in the city to host the workshops on Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome.
It starts today at 9am, is free of charge and has been organised by the Rural and Remote Autism Network and the Department of Education.
RRAN president Stacey Evers said the response showed the need for more information in the city.
“It is clear that people are craving more knowledge and information about autism,” Ms Evers said.
Mr Attwood is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in autism spectrum disorders since 1975.
He has a private practice and is also adjunct professor at Griffith University, Queensland and a senior consultant at the Minds and Hearts clinic in Brisbane.
“This is my first time in Broken Hill,” he said. “It may be hot but it’s nowhere near as humid as it was in Queensland.
“I’ve presented in Vienna, London, Dublin, Toronto, Dallas and now Broken Hill - I only go to really important cities.”
Mr Attwood will speak on a number of issues including the diagnostic criteria for autism and Asperger’s syndrome, managing challenging behaviour in children with autism, strategies to reduce bullying and being teased, and managing feelings of anxiety and depression.
“I will talk about the diagnostic process and how to identify autism, especially in girls. We know a lot about autism in boys,” he said.
Ms Evers said that from the point of view of parents, teachers and health professionals such information was valuable.
“As well as that, more services pop up due to the NDIS. They can benefit from this information,” she said.
Mr Attwood said people with Autism Spectrum Disorder found aspects of life difficult to deal with and often had “meltdowns”.
“I explain what it is like to see life through the eyes of someone with autism. We call it a meltdown because they can ‘overload’ in a variety of ways.”
Ms Evers said talks like Mr Attwood’s were also very important to raise awareness among the public.
“It’s easy to see a person with autism and their behaviour as having a tantrum or misbehaving,” she said.
Mr Attwood said it was also important to talk about ways to reduce bullying.
“Kids are often bullied because they are perceived as being different.
“It can create a lot of psychological issues.”
People who have registered for the workshops included parents and teachers, health professionals and visitors from Cobar and Mildura.
Ms Evers said if anyone had forgotten to register they can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The workshops are being held at the Impact Church.