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Autism, ADHD & ASD Diagnosis & Support for Kids. Wollongong & Illawarra

Parents Guide Illawarra is keen to raise awareness for local families about Neurodivergent support and expertise in the Wollongong. Whether you need to know what behavioural differences in children you should be concerned about. Or, how to get an Autism or ADHD Assessment and diagnosis in Wollongong, we have you covered..

Parents Guide Illawarra interviewed local mum and Neurodiversity Coach and Consultant, Samantha Nuttall, to find out more. Samantha is mum to two Autistic ADHD children and has extensive knowledge of the local assessment, diagnosis and support services.

What Behaviours and Differences in Children, warrant further investigation for ASD (Autism or ADHD)?

“Whilst for some children, a Neurodevelopmental difference like Autism or ADHD is obvious, for others it can be harder to pick up. All children are very different. My children have practically identical Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses on paper, but, in reality they experience the world in very different ways” says Samantha. Her own children were both identified as needing assessment for developmental delay under the age of 3 years old by their Preschool Teachers.

In younger children, Samantha recommends taking Early Childhood Screening processes seriously and following up on any developmental delays such as missing social cues, not making eye contact or waving, language delays, hyperactivity or extreme emotional dysregulation and meltdowns.

“If you notice that over a period of time your child seems to be thinking and behaving differently to other children, it is worthwhile exploring what is going on by speaking to a professional rather than adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach. Children who receive support at a younger age tend to experience more positive life outcomes overall.” Samantha says.

In older children, they may be falling behind at school in the classroom and or in the playground, unable to keep up with school work or social interactions and may be at risk of developing poor self-image and mental health.

Getting an Autism or ADHD Assessment and Diagnosis in Wollongong

The first stop in any diagnostic process for Autism or ADHD is a referral from your GP. Public and private assessments and diagnosis are possible. However, with wait times of up to two years in the public system, many parents decide to access alternative services to speed up access to funding for services such as that available via the NDIS.

“For our first child we undertook each assessment via Psychology, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy privately and separately over a period of time, which was less money in one go but was a much less efficient process” Samantha says.

“For our second child, we went straight to a multidisciplinary team and had all the assessments undertaken at once to give us a full understanding of what was happening. This reduced our anxiety as parents and meant we were able to put the right support in place much more quickly” she reports.

Whilst it can be more expensive than doing one type of assessment at a time, Samantha recommends a multidisciplinary approach for Autism Spectrum Disorders, if possible. This is due to the breadth of information this approach provides in addition to the fact that most diagnoses, particularly of Autistic children, will include more than one condition. Families in the Illawarra are lucky to have access to several specialist teams who assess and diagnose children including:

Marsden Psychology Kids Clinic – Corrimal

Family Services Australia – Shellharbour

Child Assessment Clinic – Kogarah & Unanderra

After an ASD Diagnosis – What’s Next?

Illawarra Support for ASD Parents:

As a parent, immediately after diagnosis of your child, particularly if the diagnosis is the first in your family, you may experience some feelings of anxiety. It is important to speak to a mental health professional and ensure you have support in place for yourself so you are able to be the best support for your family member. “As a working parent with additional caring responsibilities, it can be stressful to juggle all the different elements of life but there are several ways to access support” says Samantha.

  • Contact Carers NSW to find out about available support for you as a Carer.
  • Speak with your GP about completing an application for Carers Payment and Carers pension if eligible.
  • Seek out the support of other parents who have been through the same situation
  • If you work, seek out information about your workplace on your rights as a Carer e.g flexible working.
  • Consider if you would benefit from your own support in the form of mental health support via a psychologist or if Coaching would be helpful.
  • Focused Foundations offer support and programs for parents of ADHD children, and ADHD adults

ADHD and ASD Therapy & Support Services in Illawarra and Wollongong

Autistic and/or ADHD children and their families often require support from different Allied Health professionals including Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Psychologists. Remember, therapy should be about enabling you and your child to thrive as their neurodivergent selves so ensure you seek out ‘neuro-affirming’ therapists.

A List of Wollongong & Illawarra organisations who offer support for ASD Families:

Many allied health services will have waitlists so, just like when you are looking for daycare, you may need to register with a few providers to secure a spot. It is recommended that you register with providers whilst also seeking funding support from the NDIS. Click to find out more about accessing NDIS funding

Parents Guide Illawarra would like to thank Samantha Nuttall – The Neurodivergent Coach, for generously sharing her expertise! Sam is an experienced Coach working with ADHD, Autistic and other Neurodivergent Adults and parents of Neurodivergent families to support them to thrive in the workplace and beyond. Book a complimentary consultation here or find out more at

Discover more Disability Support information for Illawarra families here.

Finally, make the most of family life in our stunning Illawarra – Subscribe to the ultimate guide to family living weekly email by Parents Guide. Say NO to bored kids and get inspired! Click and sign up for our Parents Newsletter here. Get all the local inspo!

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