New National Practice Guideline Resources launched in Adelaide

19 Apr 2024

New National Practice Guideline Resources announced

Autism CRC is excited to share the release of new National Practice Guideline Resources for practitioners and families.

The Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth MP, made the announcement at Daphne St Childcare and Specialist Early Learning Centre in Adelaide at an official launch event on Friday, 19 April 2024.

The new implementation resources include an eLearning short course on Guideline-based practice, resources for use in pre-service education and training of professionals, and resources to help guide individuals and families in planning and managing their journey. They support the National Guideline for the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia, launched in 2023. The Guideline defines evidence-based practices for supporting autistic children and their families that promote a child's development, participation in childhood activities and wellbeing. These resources will help practitioners, service providers, educators, peak bodies, government bodies and families gain better understanding of how to best meet autistic children's support needs doing so in ways that are safe, effective, and desirable to children and their families.

“When I go around and speak with people in mainstream services, whether that's in education, whether that's in health, what they are really yearning for and wanting is those practical resources to help them best support autistic children – and that is what these resources do. They really take what are very well-developed guidelines and bring them to life. That is such an important part of how we make sure that we get inclusion right across all of our services,” said Minister Rishworth.

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Developed by Autism CRC and delivered by universities and professional organisations, the new implementation resources will build the capacity of practitioners to deliver best practice and evidence-based services and supports and empower families and carers to make informed choices.

The event was also attended by SA Assistant Minister for Autism, Emily Bourke MLC along with key stakeholders representatives from Speech Pathology Australia, Occupational Therapy Australia, Clinikids Telethon Kids Institute, universities, services providers, families and other community members.

“As with all our work, these practice guidelines and resources are founded on a combination of the latest, quality international research evidence and the wisdom of key stakeholder communities ‒ including practitioners, autistic people, and their families and carers”, said Autism CRC CEO, Andrew Davis.

The event also marked the official launch of the National Guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia (2nd edition). The Guideline was the first unified approach for autism diagnosis in Australia when it first launched in 2018. The 2nd edition builds on the evidence that informed the 2018 edition. All 66 Recommendations are approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), and reflect multiple converging sources of evidence from research, clinical practice, and the views and preferences of the autistic and autism communities.

Project Co-chair Professor David Trembath, described how the resources fit into the landscape of supports for the autistic and autism communities:

“The National Autism Strategy is like a compass, helping us to head in the right direction as a community, united in the goal of a better today, and brighter tomorrow, for autistic people and their families. Clinical guidelines provide the map and set out the most critical information that people who work with autistic people and their families need to know. They do so, by presenting a set of consensus-based recommendations that explain exactly what best practice looks like. The implementation resources, are like a well-built GPS and will help autistic children, young people, adults, and their families – to find their way to services and supports that are most likely to be safe, effective, and desirable.”

Dr Samarra Toby, First Nations GP from Rockhampton and mother of an autistic child, was part of the Guideline Development Group. Dr Toby said that while she'd been involved in the many projects over the years, this was the first time she's felt that her community's input was valued and heard. “The resources have been integrated into our onboarding of new doctors and I will continue to promote the amazing work and guidelines wherever I can and encourage as many doctors and nurses and also our Indigenous community to use the resources,” said Dr Toby.

Our thanks to our event hosts Daphne St Childcare and Specialist Early Learning Centre, Minister Rishworth and Assistant Minister Bourke, our speakers and friends for your ongoing support of Autism CRC and our vision to see autistic people with quality of life and opportunity.

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A woman speaks into a microphone, behind her is a playground.
Three people talk to each other
A group of four people stand posed, in front an Autism CRC banner
A man speaks into a microphone in front of a crowd of people, sitting on sits on grass under a shade cloth
A group of four people, in front of playground equipment
A man in a suit happily plays in a sandpith with a child

First image: Minister Rishworth making the announcement of the new implementation resources.

Second image: Keynote speakers Dr Samarra Toby, Prof David Trembath and Minister Rishworth.

Third image: CEO Andrew Davis, Minister Rishworth, Dr Samarra Toby and Assistant Minister Bourke.

Fourth image: Andrew Davis addresses guests at Daphne St Childcare and Specialist Early Learning Centre in Adelaide.

Fifth image: Katharine Annear, Tammy McGowan, Malcolm Mayfield and Amanda Porter.

Sixth image: David Trembath enjoys the sandpit with a new friend from Daphne St.