If you know that something is not working well for your family, but are not sure what exactly is required or what to prioritise, then make an appointment with one of our Psychologists for an initial consultation. They will obtain information about your specific concerns and other contextual information to help them develop an understanding of what might be driving the issue and what kinds of approaches might be required. After that first consultation the Psychologist will be able to tell you his or her initial impressions and recommend next steps, including which service providers can best meet your needs. One of the benefits of Annie’s Centre is that we are a multidisciplinary practice; your Psychologist can liaise with our other specialists to provide the relevant information and get your targeted program up and running, quickly.
If you require a diagnostic assessment, please make an appointment for an initial consultation with a Psychologist (for cognitive assessments and Autism Spectrum Disorder assessments) or Speech Pathologist (for comprehensive speech and language assessments).
If you have already received a diagnosis or recommendation from a doctor or trusted clinician, and know the services that you require (e.g., Speech Therapy, Early Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorders (including ABA or ESDM therapy), literacy support (including MultiLit), you can ask for an initial consultation appointment with the relevant service provider(s) directly.
- For Psychology services: Both parents are required to attend, without the child. We do this so that parents can express their concerns honestly and openly. We will typically make another appointment to meet your child after the initial consultation
- For Early Intervention Services: Both parents and the child attend.
- For Speech Pathology, Therapy and Assessment Services and Literacy Support: Either one parent or both parents (depending on their preference) attend along with their child.
- Group programs: Attendance requirements can vary. Please contact us for more information about attending a group program.
If you are eligible and wish to claim a rebate to offset the costs of the first appointment, then please ensure you bring the relevant documentation and provide this to our Receptionist. See our Fees and Rebates page for more information.
We understand that it can be difficult to change work schedules to attend frequent meetings and know that many families have effectively undertaken a ‘division of labour’ approach to managing their children’s schedules. We are also mindful that attending sessions together could be difficult for some parents who are experiencing tension in that relationship. That said, we are equally aware that parent involvement is a critical part of program success at Annie’s Centre. Our clinical experience and independent research tells us that the most successful interventions are designed with input from all key caregivers and with an understanding of the child’s important relationships. Similarly, we find that the families who experience success tend to be those with both parents working from a shared understanding and actively involved in the support process. When parents are separated and/or experiencing stress in their relationship, this consistency in approach and focus on the child is all the more crucial.
For that reason, and provided that it is safe to do so, we require both parents to attend
(i) initial consultations if they are seeing Psychologists or our Early Intervention team,
(ii) periodic feedback/review appointments and, at times,
(iii) parent education sessions, where appropriate. We are mindful of scheduling constraints and therefore try to be efficient and flexible.
For example, one parent might choose to call in and attend via teleconference. Alternatively, we can conduct sessions using Skype, where appropriate. If safety is a concern, we can discuss alternative arrangements. Please speak with our receptionist about any scheduling concerns so that a workable arrangement can be made.
Only one parent is required at initial consultations with our Speech Pathologists.
At times your clinician may ask one parent to sit in on the child’s appointments However, this depends on which service you are accessing. Generally parents are encouraged to sit in on Speech Pathology sessions whilst for other services including parents in the session would be for a specific purpose and by prior arrangement. Generally the child can attend on his or her own; the parent who brings the child is provided with a brief update at the end of the session and/or a description of what should be practiced between appointments.
We can provide written opinions with related support recommendations for other presentations (e.g., social anxiety, attention and concentration difficulties) on request. There is a separate charge for the time taken to prepare these documents, which can be discussed with you prior to the preparation of any reports or letters.
Assessment and support recommendations relating to difficulties with fine motor skills such as writing are generally provided by Occupational Therapists. We do not offer Occupational Therapy at our centre. However we are happy to refer you to well regarded colleagues if required.
Crucially, included in this total should be your own therapeutic play with your child as you look for opportunities to extend his or her learning in day to day life (e.g,. spending half an hour consciously interacting with your child during bath time might count as ‘therapy’). Families who work with their child in conjunction with their therapists see better outcomes than families who rely on therapists alone. This is why the Parent Training program is a mandatory part of our Early Intervention approach.
We can work with parents to help them set up a therapy timetable that works for the family.