I just had an interesting conversation. I wont say who exactly it was with as I don’t like to shoot the messenger as it were but I will tell you who we were referred to as it may help some of you. As my regular readers know I have been having problems with my youngest child Bridie and was referred from a reputable child psychologist to a government run ‘team approach’ based program. I spoke with them last week and then they had to take our case to ‘the board’. (Please feel free to use your fingers as you read this if it helps!) I then got a phone call while I was picking Beth up from school last week. I couldn’t hear very well but the crux of it was that it didn’t quite seem severe enough for us to see them so we would be referred to somewhere else. I was to go to the local doctor who would write me a referral for this program, and to make a double appointment. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. They would also send me a letter suggesting paediatricians in the area as they believe that would be beneficial.

I have been checking the mail hoping to get the letter stating where we would be going as I didn’t quite catch the name. The letter I got in the mail today simply gave me the names of three paediatricians. Two of them we’ve seen with Beth. I’ve never found them to be particularly helpful unless medications are required. It’s a bit like a maternal health visit, you know, weigh them, measure them, check their nose and ears. The only difference is they charge a small fortune for the privilege. Anyway, I called the number on there and asked about who it is they are referring us to. Here is a link. A.T.A.P.S. It stands for Access to Allied Psychological Therapy Services.

The lady on the phone tells me that it’s a psychological service that can be accessed by children up to 10 years of age. It’s up to 12 visits per year with an additional six in special circumstances. This is what the Mental Health Program used to offer, now I believe it’s 10 visits per year? This is a different thing altogether and cannot be used in conjunction with the Mental Health Program. I told her about my support group and asked if it could be accessed by children on the spectrum. The lady said not if they get autism funding. I asked what autism funding is, I have never heard of it! This stumped her, she seems quite reticent to share any information with me on this. I then asked if she meant FAHCSIA funding which is a funding available to children up to the age of seven. She said yes she thought so. I said that even though it is too late for my Beth I would just like to let my friends know who have younger children if it would help them. It seems that it would though I had to read between the lines a bit. GPs are often not aware of this program and are usually notified of it via the letter that my GP will be getting.

How bloody ridiculous! Here is a government funded program that can be used year after year for our kids. We get a health care card when we apply for our carers allowance for our children. This is beneficial when they have medication and stuff all else. It doesn’t help in paediatricians visits, it doesn’t give us discounts at speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, basically anything that will help with our children. It doesn’t give us cheaper school fees, it doesn’t help us with the endless travelling that we do to take our kids to appointments or being on the road for up to four hours a day to give them the education that they deserve. If Beth wasn’t on medication it would be useless. And here’s a program that’s designed for children with mental health problems that can help in some small way. Once again it’s something that I have stumbled upon that is not widely shared. So I hope some of you can use this. Every little bit helps.

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Psychology

  1. Ciana says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I am new on your blog. I read few of your post and would like to ask you few things. My son is 2 and half he will attend Irabina next year and also kinder. He was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (mild autism i think) this year and really dont know where to start.

    My quetion is what was it like in irabina do they do ST, OT and Socila skills and do they do one-on-one?

    And also i would like to ask if your social group still on in Selby?


  2. Sarah says:

    hello there Ciana, thanks so much for reading my blog and asking me for assistance. It has been nearly 10 years since we were at Irabina and things have no doubt changed a lot since we were there. We did have speech and occupational therapy but more in a group situation. We had up to 6 kids in our class/group and it was facilitated by the specialists so they got to observe and work with the children. Our first year we got a whole day a week, our second year was 3 hours each week, I believe as it went on it got down to an hour a week which was pretty sad. We ended up going to a place with Beth when she was in grade 4 called Sensational Kids which is in Ormond. They were fabulous but pricey but I believe if you get Facsia funding you can get it directed straight to there. They have individual speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology and social skills groups and all talk together about what is best for the child. I can highly recommend it. Of course I don’t know whether Irabina now offers these services, they may well be set up like that too. Good luck with it all, it’s a horrid time, the preschool years, the unknown can be very scary! Yes we do still meet at Selby, we also catch up for coffees every 3 weeks or so. My email address is We met last week so it will be in a fortnight (or we’re having a parents dinner out on Saturday if you’d like to come to that) so if you can send me an email with an address I can add you to our mailing list. Or we have a facebook page called hags in the hills. I hope this helps, good luck with it all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *