Joined-up support for kids with autism

A program  designed specifically to teach emotional and social skills to children with ASD and intellectual disability was launched today. The Westmead Feelings Program, created by the Developmental Psychiatry Research Team at The Kids Research Institute at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, was published by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

Dr Michelle Wong, Emotion-based Social Skills Training Program Leader and co-creator of the Westmead Feelings Program, said that the program has been designed so that it can be coordinated and administered by teachers in schools.

"Children with ASD clearly benefit from the support of a clinical psychologist, but also from the joined-up support available when their parents and classroom teachers understand and can assist them in their ‘real life’ relationships at home, in the classroom and playground at school and out in the community,” Dr Wong said. “Research over 10 years has shown that the Westmead Feelings Program significantly improves emotional competence for children with both ASD and mild intellectual disability."

ACER Press Publisher Kate McGough said ACER was proud to publish the rich resources, including video clips, role-playing activities and take-home practice activities, in the Westmead Feelings Program, as well as the online professional learning that supports the program.

Children between eight and 12 will benefit from this evidence-based 15-month intervention program. The Westmead Feelings Program brings together all the people who are involved in supporting children with ASD. It enables parents, teachers, school principals, clinical psychologists and other support staff to work collaboratively in using commonly understood resources and behaviour strategies in order to engage children with ASD and intellectual disability and build their emotional skills.

Want to find out more about Westmead Feelings?