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Welcome to Tony Attwood's Website

A guide for parents, professionals and people with Asperger's Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder Level 1 and their partners.

About Aspergers / ASD Level 1
What is Asperger's Syndrome/ASD - Level 1? > More Info
Autistic Girls and Women > More Info
Attwood & Garnett Events
Founded by Professor Tony Attwood and Dr Michelle Garnett for community education > More Info
Participate in Research
Read about research projects that are seeking participation and find out how to get involved > More Info
Professor Tony Attwood is considered
to be one of the world’s foremost experts on
Autism Spectrum Disorder.
June 10, 2022
Nonverbal Autism
July 17, 2022
Autism in School
July 22, 2022
Autism in the Teens

Spring 2022

UK & Europe Speaking Tour

Books by Tony Attwood

Tony has published many books about Asperger's Syndrome and Autism.
He has also co-authored and contributed to publications with other experts.
New Release Out Now

Autism Working:
A Seven-Stage Plan to Thriving at Work

By Tony Attwood and Michelle Garnett
BEST SELLER
The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
Tony Attwood
Exploring Depression and Beating the Blues: CBT Programme with Young People with ASDs Manual
Tony Attwood
10 Steps to Reducing Your Child's Anxiety on the Autism Spectrum
Tony Attwood
Having Fun with Feelings on the Autism Spectrum: A CBT Activity Book for Kids 4-8
Tony Attwood, Michelle Garnett, Julia Cook, Louise Ford, and Stefanie Runham

All Resources

Conferences & Webinars
Forms & Questionnaires
Participate in Research
Videos &
Podcasts
Resources & Networking
Exploring Depression

Attwood & Garnett Events

FOUNDED BY PROFESSOR TONY ATTWOOD & DR MICHELLE GARNETT
Dr Michelle Garnett PhD is a clinical psychologist who has specialised in autism within her own private practice for over 27 years. She has co-authored six highly regarded books on autism, five with Prof Tony Attwood. Her 2018 book with Barb Cook is a seminal work on the female presentation, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism. Her most recent books Having Fun with Feelings on the Autism Spectrum and Ten Steps to Reducing Your Child’s Anxiety on the Autism Spectrum provide guidance to parents of young children on the autism spectrum.
Together Tony and Michelle have created a series of online courses that are available to download. There are also webinars consisting of a series of mater classes.

Recent Articles by Tony

The Emotion Repair Toolbox
26 April 2022
The Emotion Repair Toolbox Autistic children and adults usually have a limited range of emotion repair mechanisms and are less likely to use the more effective strategies used by typical children and adults,...
What is Autistic Burnout?
29 March 2022
What is Autistic Burnout? An autistic life is not an easy life. There is the potential for great stress and chronic exhaustion from trying to cope with social and sensory experiences, being misunderstood...
How to Address Social Challenges at Work as an Autistic Adult
03 March 2022
How to Address Social Challenges at Work as an Autistic Adult Introduction The characteristics of autism include difficulty achieving social reciprocity, reading non-verbal communication and teamwork skills....

Tony's Facebook Feed

1 day ago

Tony Attwood
Autism and School: Cognitive TalentsThere are autistic children and adults who have cognitive abilities that are significantly above average and are sometimes described as gifted and talented. This can provide both advantages and disadvantages to the child. The advantages include a greater capacity to intellectually process and learn social cues and conventions. Advanced intellectual maturity may be admired by a teacher and winning academic competitions can lead to greater status for the child and school. Academic and artistic success can raise self-esteem and contribute to social inclusion; their social naivety and eccentricity can be accepted as part of the ‘absent minded professor’ or artistic genius image. However, there are disadvantages.Autistic children are more socially and emotionally immature than their peers, which contributes towards their being socially isolated, ridiculed, and tormented. Having considerably advanced intellectual maturity in comparison to one’s peers could further increase social isolation and alienation. The child may have no peer group socially or intellectually in his or her classroom. Having an impressive vocabulary and knowledge can lead adults to expect an equivalent maturity in social reasoning, emotion management and behaviour; they may be unjustly critical of the child who is unable to express these abilities as maturely as his or her age peers. We have recently recognised that the learning profile associated with autism can also include alexithymia, which can affect the expression of academic talents. Alexithymia is a difficulty converting thoughts into words. The autistic child’s conceptualization or solution perhaps to a mathematics problem may be extraordinary. However, while the autistic child knows their solution is perfect, they may have genuine difficulty explaining how they achieved that solution. Autism in Schools: LIVE WEBCAST And Live In Townsville: Autism In School - 17 June 2022Our brand new event, Autism in School, was specifically designed to train teachers and teacher aids in autism to increase their understanding of autism and equip them with specific strategies for teaching autistic children and adolescents in their classrooms, in Primary, High School, and Distance Education or Home Schooling. Families and health professionals who support the child or teenager attending school will also benefit. Who Will Benefit?• Educational professionals including Teachers, Teacher’s Aides, Principals, Deputy Principals, Administrative Staff, Guidance Officers, and School Counsellors (NB: NSW Teachers can use this event as an Elective CPD).• Parents and carers with autistic children/teenagers currently attending primary or high school, Distance Education or Home Schooling.• Health professionals supporting autistic children and adolescents who attend school, e.g.: Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Mental Health Nursesattwoodandgarnettevents.com/.../live-event.../** The information in this post is from peer-reviewed research and the perspectives and experiences of many autistic individuals from clinical experience and communications and may not apply to each person.#autism #autistic #autismawareness #autismacceptance #autismfamily #autismspectrum #autismparents #NDIS #attwoodandgarnettevents #psychologist #psychology #alliedhealth #alliedhealthprofessionals #alliedhealthcare #teachers #specialeducator #specialeducation #specialeducationalneeds #specialeducationteacher ... See MoreSee Less
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3 days ago

Tony Attwood
Fear of Making Mistakes The learning profile of some autistic children can include a tendency to focus on errors, a need to fix an irregularity and a desire to be a perfectionist. This can lead to a fear of making a mistake and the child’s refusal to commence an activity unless he or she can complete it perfectly. The avoidance of errors can mean that autistic children prefer accuracy rather than speed, which can affect performance in timed tests and lead to their thinking being described as pedantic. An autistic girl complained that her teacher frequently asked her to hurry up but said that if she did hurry up, she might make a mistake.It is important to change the autistic child’s perception of errors and mistakes. Autistic children often value intellectual abilities in themselves and others, and young children can be encouraged to recognize that the development of cognitive ‘strength’ is like that of physical strength, in that the brain needs exercise on difficult or strenuous mental activity, that includes making mistakes, to improve intellectual ability. If all mental tasks were easy, we would not improve our intellect. Intellectual effort makes the brain smarter. Adults will need to model how to respond to a mistake and have a constructive response to the child’s errors, with comments such as, ‘This is a difficult problem designed to make you think and learn, and together we can find a solution.’ It must also be remembered that while there can be a fear of making a mistake, there can be an enormous delight in getting something right, and success and perfection may be a more important motivator than pleasing an adult or impressing peers.Autism in Schools: LIVE WEBCAST And Live In Townsville: Autism In School - 17 June 2022Our brand new event, Autism in School, was specifically designed to train teachers and teacher aids in autism to increase their understanding of autism and equip them with specific strategies for teaching the autistic children and adolescents in their classroom, in Primary, High School, Distance Education or Home Schooling. Families and health professionals who support the child or teenager attending school will also benefit. Who Will Benefit?Educational professionals including:Teachers, Teacher’s Aides, Principals, Deputy Principals, Administrative Staff, Guidance Officers, School Counsellors (NB: NSW Teachers can use this event as an Elective CPD).Parents and carers with autistic children/teenagers currently attending primary or high school, Distance Education or Home Schooling.Health professionals supporting autistic children and adolescents who attend school, for e.g.:Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Mental Health Nursesattwoodandgarnettevents.com/.../live-event.../** The information in this post is from peer-reviewed research and the perspectives and experiences of many autistic individuals from clinical experience and communications and may not apply to each person.#autism #autistic #autismawareness #autismacceptance #autismfamily #autismspectrum #autismparents #NDIS #attwoodandgarnettevents #psychologist #psychology #alliedhealth #alliedhealthprofessionals #alliedhealthcare #teachers #specialeducator #specialeducation #specialeducationalneeds #specialeducationteacher ... See MoreSee Less
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3 days ago

Tony Attwood
How reduced executive functioning can impacts autistic children and adolescents at school.Autistic children and adolescents often have problems with executive function. Perhaps the best way to understand the concept of executive function is to think of a chief executive of a large company, who can perceive the ‘big picture’, consider the potential outcomes of various decisions, is able to organize resources and knowledge, plan and prioritize within the required time frame, and modify decisions based on results. Such executive function skills may be significantly delayed in autistic children and adolescents.In the early school years, the main signs of impaired executive function are difficulties with inhibiting a response (i.e., being impulsive), working memory and using new strategies. The autistic child can be notorious for being impulsive in schoolwork and in social situations, appearing to respond without thinking of the context, consequences, and previous experience. By the age of eight years, a typical child can ‘switch on’ and use his or her frontal lobes to inhibit a response and think before deciding what to do or say. The autistic child can become capable of thoughtful deliberation before responding, but under conditions of stress, or if feeling overwhelmed or confused, can be impulsive. It is important to encourage the child to relax and consider other options before responding and to recognize that being impulsive can be a sign of confusion and stress.Working memory is the ability to maintain or hold information ‘online’ when solving a problem. The autistic child may have an exceptional long-term memory and is perhaps able to recite the credits or dialogue of his or her favourite film but has difficulty with the mental recall and manipulation of information relevant to an academic task. The child’s working memory capacity may be less than that of his or her peers. Other children have a ‘bucket’ capacity for remembering and using relevant information, but the autistic child has a working memory ‘cup’ which affects the amount of information he or she can retrieve from the memory ‘well’. Another problem with working memory is a tendency to quickly forget a thought. One of the reasons autistic children are notorious for interrupting others was explained by an autistic child who said he had to say what was on his mind to his teacher because if he waited, he would forget what he was going to say.Impaired executive function can include difficulties with flexible thinking. Typical children can quickly react to feedback and are prepared to change strategies or direction with new information. Autistic children tend to continue using incorrect strategies, even when they know their strategy isn’t working, as they have difficulty conceptualizing different thoughts and reactions.In the high school years, problems with executive function can become more apparent as the school curriculum changes to become more complex and self-directed, and teachers and parents have age-appropriate expectations based on the maturing cognitive abilities of age peers. In the primary school years, success in subjects such as History can be measured by the ability to recall facts such as dates. By the high school years, assessment in history has changed, and requires that the child shows ability in writing essays that have a clear organizational structure, and that he or she can recognize, compare, and evaluate different perspectives and interpretations. Autistic adolescents with impaired executive function have problems with the organizing and planning aspects of class work, assignments, essays, and homework. There can also be problems with self-reflection and self-monitoring. By the high school years, typical children have developed the capacity to have a mental ‘conversation’ to solve a problem. The internal thinking process can include a dialogue, discussing the merits of various options and solutions. This process may not be as efficient in the thinking of an autistic adolescent as it is in typical peers. Many autistic adolescents ‘think in pictures’ and are less likely to use an inner voice or conversation to facilitate problem solving. The autistic adolescent may need the teacher or parent’s voice to guide his or her thoughts.One strategy to reduce the problems associated with impaired executive functioning is to have someone act as an ‘executive secretary’. The child’s mother may have realized that she has already become an executive secretary, providing guidance with organizing and planning, especially with regards to completing homework assignments. The executive secretary (a parent or teacher) may also need to create a time schedule, proofread draft reports and essays, colour code subject books, encourage alternative strategies and create ‘to do’ checklists, with a clear schedule of activities and the duration of each activity. Such close monitoring and guidance may initially appear to be excessive for an adolescent or young adult with recognized intellectual ability. A parent who provides the support as an executive secretary may be labelled as overprotective by school agencies and family members, but that parent has learned that without such support, the autistic child would not achieve the grades that reflect his or her actual abilities. We encourage a parent or teacher to take on this very important role of executive secretary. We hope that this will be a temporary appointment as the autistic adolescent and young adult eventually achieves greater independence with organizational skills. Autism in Schools: LIVE WEBCAST And Live In Townsville: Autism In School - 17 June 2022Our brand new event, Autism in School, was specifically designed to train teachers and teacher aids in autism to increase their understanding of autism and equip them with specific strategies for teaching the autistic children and adolescents in their classroom, in Primary, High School, Distance Education or Home Schooling. Families and health professionals who support the child or teenager attending school will also benefit. Who Will Benefit?Educational professionals including:Teachers, Teacher’s Aides, Principals, Deputy Principals, Administrative Staff, Guidance Officers, School Counsellors (NB: NSW Teachers can use this event as an Elective CPD).Parents and carers with autistic children/teenagers currently attending primary or high school, Distance Education or Home Schooling.Health professionals supporting autistic children and adolescents who attend school, for e.g.:Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Mental Health Nursesattwoodandgarnettevents.com/.../live-event.../** The information in this post is from peer-reviewed research and the perspectives and experiences of many autistic individuals from clinical experience and communications and may not apply to each person.#autism #autistic #autismawareness #autismacceptance #autismfamily #autismspectrum #autismparents #NDIS #attwoodandgarnettevents #psychologist #psychology #alliedhealth #alliedhealthprofessionals #alliedhealthcare #teachers #specialeducator #specialeducation #specialeducationalneeds #specialeducationteacher ... 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