Do I need a referral to make an appointment at Minds and Hearts?

No.  You do not need to obtain a referral to attend the clinic, however should you wish to claim a partial rebate for your appointment you may like to visit your GP and obtain a Better Access plan.

Is it possible to obtain an appointment with Professor Tony Attwood?

Unfortunately Tony has limited availability since he only practices from Minds and Hearts one day per week.  Tony has a lengthy waiting list but you may contact the clinic to discuss this possibility further. 

Can we do a block of intensive therapy over a short period of time e.g. school holidays?

We offer streams of appointments at Minds and Hearts on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.  For families travelling from long distances we can offer a limit of two one-hour appointments within the one week.     

I already have a Better Access plan in place with another psychologist, can I use this at Minds and Hearts?

You are able to use a Better Access plan made out to another psychologist, however the reception staff will need to contact Medicare to determine how many sessions have already been claimed on your Better Access plan since there is a limit to the number of sessions you can claim with a psychologist each year. 

Do I receive a greater rebate from Medicare or from my private health fund?

Current Medicare rebates are between $80 and $120 for individual therapy and between $20 and $30 for group therapy.  To determine whether your private health funds will provide a greater partial rebate, contact your health fund provider.  They will require the following item numbers 100 (psychology) for an initial appointment and 200 (psychology) for additional appointments.

Can I complete a direct claim to Medicare for a partial rebate at the time of my appointment?

We are excited to announce that in 2012 you will be able to complete a direct claim to Medicare.  This means that you will pay the full amount at the time of your appointment and, if you have your bank details registered with Medicare, the rebate will be deposited into your nominated account within 24 hours.

Can I claim a rebate on a psychological report?

No, unfortunately neither Medicare nor private health funds do not provide partial rebates on psychological reports. 

Do I or does my child need a diagnosis on the autism spectrum to attend an appointment?

It is not necessary to have a formal diagnosis on the autism spectrum to be able to attend the clinic.  We are a specialist clinic for Asperger’s syndrome and autism and so have knowledge and expertise in this area, and many related conditions.  Sometimes people wish to use an appointment at Minds and Hearts to discuss the possibility that someone may be on the autism spectrum and to explore management strategies and advice.   

Do I need to have an initial appointment before starting group therapy?

If you are not receiving regular ongoing therapy at Minds and Hearts, an initial appointment is necessary to determine whether or not the group programme that you are interested in for yourself or your child is the most appropriate referral option.  Time and care is taken to ensure that each group participant is going to benefit from being involved in a group program.  Should the clinician feel this is not the best option, another plan will be arranged.  

What is the process for a third party (e.g. Disability Services Queensland, Department of Child Safety, Life Without Barriers) to pay for the appointments?

Should a third party wish to pay for the appointments at Minds and Hearts they will need to contact the reception for more information.  The receptionist will provide them with details of the costs of the appointments and ask for a letter or email confirming that they agree to cover the payment.  Third payments attract GST. 

Do the clinicians at Minds and Hearts provide reports for court?

Should you wish to obtain an assessment or report for court purposes, you are encouraged to address your request in a letter or email to the Clinic Director.  Your request will be assessed on an individual basis and is subject to clinician availability. 

Can someone attend the clinic if they have violent behavior?

We have a duty of care to all clients attending the Minds and Hearts clinic and so will not accept a referral for a client that may put other clients at risk.  The risk that a client might pose is assessed on an individual basis.  If a client has been violent in the past, 2 adults will be asked to accompany the person to the appointment.   

Do you have any other clinics?

Minds and Hearts only operates from West End in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  We certainly do have a list of professionals who we know have knowledge and experience in working with individuals with ASC. Please see the list of practitioners posted on our website. 

Do you sell any of the resources and books you recommend?

Unfortunately we do not have books or resources available for sale at Minds and Hearts.  We encourage families to contact Book in Hand or Resources at Hand, specialist bookstores in ASC.  We usually have a bookstore accompany us on our presentations throughout the year to ensure that books we are recommending are readily available for purchase.   


What does a diagnostic assessment involve for a child?

A diagnostic assessment at Minds and Hearts commences with an initial pre-diagnostic assessment appointment. Prior to the appointment parent/s are asked to complete some questionnaires on their child. They will also be sent a questionnaire that the teacher will be asked to fill out prior to the appointment. The aim of the pre-diagnostic assessment appointment is to determine whether the diagnostic assessment will be helpful to the family and to plan for what this will involve. Should the clinician feel that a diagnostic assessment is the best way forward for a family they will arrange a series of appointments aimed at gathering the information required to determine whether or not an individual is on the autism spectrum. In the appointment following the pre-diagnostic assessment interview, the first half an hour is spent with the parent and child together and the child is asked a number of questions and asked to complete some activities. If the child is very young, the clinician will spend time playing with and observing the child. The remainder of the appointments are spent with the parent/parents. The clinician may require between 2 and 5 sessions to gather enough information to review in preparation for the feedback session. The feedback session is one hour in length and usually held one to two weeks after the previous appointment. During the feedback session the clinician explains whether the child is on the autism spectrum, if so what label best describes the child’s profile of abilities, and if not, what may better explain the child’s strengths and challenges. The clinician also provides recommendations for areas for the family to address. Some families request a report summarising the assessment and recommendations and this is an additional charge.

How does a diagnostic assessment differ for a teenager?

Generally the clinician will spend the first 45 minutes with the teenager on his/her own asking him/her questions and getting him/her to complete activities.  The remainder of the time is spent with the parent/s while the teenager is in the waiting room.     

How does a diagnostic assessment differ for an adult?

When conducting a diagnostic assessment with an adult it is helpful to have a family member or partner attend the appointment also to gain further information to assist with the assessment.  The individual being assessed will have some time with the clinician answering questions and completing activities and the partner or family member will have also have some time alone with the clinician.  A number of questionnaires may be used to assist in the assessment process. 

Who needs to be involved in the appointments?

While it is certainly beneficial to have both parents attend appointments at Minds and Hearts, it is not vital.  It is in the best interests of the client if the parent who attends the clinic conveys any information and strategies to his/her partner. 

What do I need to bring to the appointment?

Any previous reports by paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, speech pathologists, audiologists, occupational therapists are useful for the clinician to view to assist with the assessment process.  The child’s most recent school report can also be helpful.  It is important to send copies of these documents in approximately one week prior to the appointment to allow the clinician time to review these.  Also bring any completed questionnaires that were posted out to you. 

Should my child be medicated when they come in for an assessment?

Yes.  It is important to continue with normal medication regimes when attending an appointment at the clinic.  

Will I receive a definite diagnosis if my child is under 6 years?

Because there is so much neural development between the ages of 3 and 6 years, the diagnostic picture is not clear at a very young age and may still be emerging.  The clinician may therefore provide a provisional diagnosis and encourage the child to be reviewed every 6 months until the child reaches the age of 6 or 7 years.    

Will the clinician always be able to provide an answer as to the diagnosis in the feedback session after a diagnostic assessment?

No, not always.  Sometimes the clinician may require further information and may need to contact (with your permission) school teachers, other family members, other specialists involved in the person’s care. 

Do I have to tell my child that they are coming along for a diagnostic assessment for Asperger’s Syndrome?

No, you do not have to tell your child about the reason he/she is attending the clinic.  You may tell your child that they are coming along to meet someone that is interested in getting to know more about their interests, family, pets, friends etc.  Should your child receive a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, the clinician can speak with you about when and how to convey this diagnosis to your child in the future.   

Can my child obtain funding with a psychologist’s diagnosis?

It is still the case in Queensland that a specialized medical practitioner i.e. a paediatrician, child psychiatrist, must sign the paperwork from the school in order for funding to be approved for a child.  Psychologists at Minds and Hearts are specialists in ASC and are well-qualified to provide an accurate diagnostic assessment and useful recommendations.  However afterwards, to obtain school funding, should the school require it, you will still need to see a medical specialist.  A GP referral is needed for this visit.  It is most likely that the medical specialist would need to make his/her own assessment.  The advantage of having a diagnostic assessment at Minds and Hearts is that we are a specialists in ASC and can provide high quality, specialized follow-up care if needed.  

How can I encourage an adult or teenager to come in for a diagnostic assessment or one off appointment?

It is difficult to “force” someone to attend the clinic.  It is important that the person attending the clinic wants to be there.  It may be helpful to explain that the appointment is to help both of you to improve and learn better ways of managing and coping.  Should you be unable to encourage the person to attend, it may be helpful to attend the clinic alone to discuss concerns as well as management strategies and advice. 

If someone receives a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, who are they obligated to inform about this (e.g. school, workplaces)?)

You are under no obligation to share an ASC diagnosis with anyone.  Should you wish to disclose the diagnosis to key people in your life/your child’s life, the clinician can discuss this with you.  Minds and Hearts will not provide this information to any third party without your consent.  If you have been referred by another professional, your clinician will write to this person with the outcome of the assessment.     


What is a stream of appointments?

A stream of appointments refers to the allocation of a set time and frequency of appointments to a particular client (e.g. Thursdays at 1pm on a weekly basis).  Families may choose to attend on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or bi-monthly basis.  These appointments are booked in for the remainder of the year to ensure continuity of care for the client. 

Is there a waiting list for regular appointments?

Waiting times for regular streams of appointments can vary.  Your clinician should be able to provide you with an estimated waiting time when they place you on the waiting list.  The receptionist will then contact you once a stream of appointments becomes available.

What types of therapies do the clinicians use?

At Minds and Hearts we value the use of well-researched theoretical models and strategies.  The psychologists at Minds and Hearts may use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Behaviour Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Family Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. 

How are the appointments usually structured?

This will vary with each clinician, but generally if the client is a child the clinician will spend some time with the child on his/her own and some time with the parent/s on his/her own. 


What is involved in a cognitive assessment?

A cognitive assessment or intelligence assessment involves the administration of the Wechsler intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales – Fifth Edition (SB5).  This typically will involve an initial one hour appointment to gather important information and two one hour appointments for testing.  The clinician will then score and interpret the test results and a one hour feedback session will be conducted typically one or two weeks after the assessment to go through the results and recommendations.   

What is involved in a learning assessment?

A learning assessment involves the administration of both an intelligence scale such as the Wechsler intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales – Fifth Edition (SB5) as well as a test of achievement such as the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second edition (WIAT-II).  This typically will involve an initial one hour appointment to gather important information and four one hour appointments for testing.  The clinician will then score and interpret the test results and a one hour feedback session will be conducted typically one or two weeks after the assessment to go through the results and recommendations.   


What sorts of professionals work at Minds and Hearts?

Minds and Hearts is staffed by clinical psychologists and psychologists only.  All clinicians have access to referral lists and can provide you with a list of referral options for other professionals should this be required. 

What training have the psychologists received?

All of the psychologists at Minds and Hearts were personally selected and trained by Professor Tony Attwood and Dr Michelle Garnett to provide specialist services for those on the autism spectrum and their families.  Each has considerable training and experience in addition to their specialized training.  All psychologists at Minds and Hearts have completed a Doctorate or Masters in psychology (involving at least 6 years of formal study at University). 

Can the psychologists prescribe medication?

While the psychologists at Minds and Hearts have some knowledge in medication, they cannot prescribe medication.  Only psychiatrists, GPs and paediatricians are prescribing doctors.   


Do I need to have attended the basic diagnostic assessment and treatment workshop to attend the advanced workshop?

The advanced workshop requires more in-depth knowledge of autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and so would not be suitable for a professional who does not have a basic understanding and knowledge of the assessment and treatment of ASCs.  Attendance at the basic workshop is not necessarily always a prerequisite for attendance at the advanced workshop.  This will be assessed on an individual basis.   


Can I access my child’s records/reports if my ex-partner is paying for the appointments?

Unless your ex-partner provides their consent for this to occur, we are unable to release your child’s records unless subpoenaed by a court.  If you wish to obtain your child’s records we recommend discussing this with your ex-partner.   

Who can obtain personal information about myself or my child e.g. schools, workplaces?

Because we are bound by confidentiality, we are unable to provide personal information about your child to other organizations or schools without your prior consent. 


Will I be charged if I miss my appointment?

If you cancel between 24-48 hours before your appointment you will incur a charge of $50.00.  If you cancel within 24 hours of your appointment, or if you fail to attend your appointment, you will be charged 50% of the full fee.