Malcolm Smith

BA(Psych), MAPS

Psychologist, Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Malcolm has extensive experience as a psychologist working with people with disabilities and their families in the public, private and non-government sectors.  His areas of specialty are complex behaviour support, anger, conflict resolution and couples counselling.  Malcolm loves to listen and work together with children, adolescents and adults and their families, to build skills in regulating emotions, identifying triggers and preventing challenging behaviours at home, school and in the community. Malcolm has provided psychological reports, positive behavior support plans, and therapy for individuals, couples and families, including children in out-of-home care.  Malcolm is a Certified Therapist in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI).  He is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.  Malcolm served as the Chairperson of the Australian Psychological Society’s Hunter Branch from 2012-2018. 

Autism Professionals Circle
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Who can join the Autism Professionals Circle?

The Autism Professionals Circle is open to professionals who work with individuals with autism, including:

  • psychologists
  • speech pathologists
  • occupational therapists
  • early intervention and special education teachers
  • teachers in mainstream preschool, primary, middle, secondary and tertiary education settings
  • paediatricians
  • psychiatrists
  • physiotherapists
  • audiologists
  • dietitians
  • disability support coordinators
  • case managers
  • respite care workers
  • residential support staff
  • employment consultants
  • researchers with an interest in autism

Please note: This forum is not intended for individuals with autism, parents or carers, but there are many other resources on the Autism Understanding website which you may find helpful, including:

 

Why join the Autism Professionals Circle?

 Would you like:

  • practical resources, tips and ideas to use in your everyday work with people with autism?
  • a supportive community where you can ask questions within and across disciplines, and get as technical as you like?
  • a safe place to debrief and ask for advice when you're feeling stumped by a client's behaviour or a challenging situation?
  • to connect with other professionals who are passionate about autism and interested in best practice?
  • to share your knowledge and experience with others who would love to hear from you?
  • to discover the latest research on autism?
  • to find out about events, conferences, workshops, research roles and job opportunities?
  • to discuss the intricacies of funding programs that affect your clients and your practice?
  • to find professional discussions and quality resources without wading through articles and forums designed for parents

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Feedback from the Autism Professionals Circle community

 "Hi Lydia, I really appreciate your initiative of this Forum which gives us the opportunity to connect with peers particularly expert like yourself, and receive invaluable feedback." (Dr Eliza Ahmed, Educational and Developmental Psychologist)

"Enjoying being part of the group.  I'm sure there will be a lot that I can learn!" (Renata Rankin, Learning Support Teacher)

"Wow – what a great forum / resource.  I have a feeling I will be glued to my screen for a bit.  So glad I found you!" (Andrea Broughton, Early Intervention)

"I think the website is a great idea!" (Margi Shaw, Behaviour Support Practitioner)

 

We are proud to partner with these Organisations

 PsychDD logo The Association of Psychologists in Developmental Disability Services 

 Australian Teacher Aide logo  Australian Teacher Aide 

For more information about the benefits for your organisation of partnering with the Autism Professionals Circle, email Lydia Meem at autismunderstanding@gmail.com

 

Ready to join?

Autism Professionals Circle Membership is only $9.95/month or $99.95/year (that's 2 months free).  

If you'd like to try the Circle first, why not sign up for a free 7 day membership?

Click here to select the Monthly, Annual or 7 day Free Trial membership that suits you.  Make a note of your username and password, as you'll need these to access the forum.

As soon as your subscription is processed, you should receive an two emails. One email confirms your subscription details and includes a tax invoice/receipt for your records.  The other email includes an activation link.  Please click on the link in the activation email to complete your membership registration.  If you don't see both emails in your inbox, please check your Spam folder, mark it as "Not spam" and add office@autismunderstanding.com.au to your email address book.  Some workplaces reject our emails as they mention words like username and password.  If you don't receive the two emails immediately in your inbox, please email us at autismunderstanding@gmail.com and we will attempt to resolve it as quickly as possible.  

Once you've clicked on the activation link, you should be redirected to the login page for the forum, where you can enter your username and password at the top right side of the page.  If you have forgotten your username or password, click on the prompts for help.  Sometimes people get blocked if they misspell their username or password or forget to include spaces.  If you have any difficulties logging in to the forum, please email us at autismunderstanding@gmail.com and we resolve it as quickly as possible. 

Looking forward to hearing from you in the forum discussions!

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I love sharing my passion for working with clients with autism.  I often receive emails with questions from professionals working in health, education and disability organisations who work with children, adolescents and adults with autism.  I do my best to suggest practical strategies and resources, and I run workshops on practical autism strategies around Australia.  

Now I'd like to set up a forum where autism professionals can ask and answer questions, find answers and share resources.  We can all benefit from sharing our expertise around autism, and of course our clients benefit too.  

The Autism Professionals Circle would be open to any professional who works with clients with autism or would like to know more about how to work with clients with autism, including:

  • psychologists
  • speech therapists
  • occupational therapists
  • special education teachers
  • mainstream teachers with an interest in autism
  • paediatricians
  • psychiatrists
  • physiotherapists
  • disability coordinators
  • respite care workers
  • accommodation support staff  
  • researchers with an interest in autism

The possibilities are endless, but discussion topics may include:

  • autism screening and diagnosis, from early identification to diagnosing adults
  • early intervention and support for families
  • strategies and interventions for children, adolescents and adults
  • behaviour assessment and development of behaviour plans, including identifying triggers and functions of the behaviour, preventative strategies and response strategies
  • behavioural brainstorming/trouble shooting - has anyone seen this behaviour before, what should I do?
  • transitioning to preschool, primary school, high school, further education and employment
  • sensory sensitivities and sensory-driven behaviours
  • communication difficulties, strategies and communication systems
  • teaching social skills - on-the-spot coaching, social skills groups, social stories, social skills videos
  • clients restricting their own diets, what is the evidence around special diets
  • understanding special interests and using them as motivators
  • repetitive behaviours - why do people with autism enjoy these, when is it a sign of distress, when should it be ignored, when should we find a more socially appropriate way of meeting this need?
  • recognising strengths and helping clients find jobs and activities within their areas of passion
  • differential and dual diagnosis, including ADHD, ODD, anxiety, depression, genetic disorders, trauma, learning difficulties, intellectual disability
  • working with parents who are grieving about their child's diagnosis
  • support for parents, siblings, grandparents
  • peer supports for people with autism
  • latest research projects recruiting now, and results of autism research
  • conferences, professional development, supervision and support networks
  • when and how to explain to a child that they have autism
  • person centred planning and support funding including NDIA, DSS, Centrelink

I'm working on setting up the forum, and would love your input to make it the best design possible.  Please let me know if you'd like to be notified once the forum is up and running by emailing .  

Initially we'll be looking for beta testers who can join the forum for free, ask questions, share and access resources, and give feedback on how it's working and if there's anything we need to change.

Eventually the forum will be subscription-based, as it takes time and money to set up and run the forum, but if you work with clients with autism, it's likely you can claim the subscription as a business expense or claim it on your income tax.   Of course the forum is intended to save you time in searching for answers elsewhere, finding resources, developing social stories, and connecting with others who are passionate about autism.  We hope it will be a great place for you to spread the word about the strategies that work for you, and your own autism resources for professionals. Beta testers will be offered a lifetime discount on the forum subscription when it's launched more widely.  If you're working as a professional with clients or students with autism, and would like to be a beta tester, please contact me at autismunderstanding@gmail.com or use the Contact Us form on this website.   

Professional Development for Schools and Disability Organisations

We provide tailored workshops on practical autism strategies to suit your organisation's professional development needs.  Training modules we offer include:

  • Features of Autism Spectrum Disorder (including signs of autism in toddlers, children and adolescents, and discussion of the causes and prevalence of autism)

  • Positive Behaviour Support and Stress Reduction Strategies (including prevention and response strategies)

  • Building Partnerships with Families (including working with parents who are grieving about their child's diagnosis)

  • Using Visuals

  • Building Social Skills

  • Managing Change

  • Differential and Dual Diagnosis*

  • Screening and Assessment Tools* 

  • The Clinical Value of Behavioural Observations during Cognitive and Developmental Assessments*

Modules marked with an * are designed for diagnosticians including psychologists, paediatricians and child psychiatrists.  

You can mix and match from the modules above, or for smaller groups, we can offer a more informal Q&A style session, where participants can discuss the behaviours of students or clients they are working with.  Our presenter Lydia Meem will offer tools and strategies to address particular concerns.  

Examples of professional development days Lydia Meem has been requested to present include:

  • PD day for a large independent school, with Features of Autism presentation to whole staff (approx 150 staff) followed by Positive Behaviour Support sessions tailored for Junior School, Middle School and Senior School staff

  • PD day for a small independent school (approx 30 staff) covering Features of Autism and Positive Behaviour Support (admin staff also attended the first session)

  • Behavioural Q&A session for small independent school (4 staff) - three hours to discuss behaviours of particular students in detail, practical strategies for the classroom and playground, and provide assistance with accessing funding sources for families

  • PD day for psychologists working in developmental disabilities, focusing on differential and dual diagnosis, screening and assessment tools, and therapy resources

  • PD day for psychologists and disability support and counselling staff in a University, focusing on strategies for high-functioning adults with autism

  • Full 2-day practical autism strategies workshop for teachers in an independent school with students with challenging behaviours and a variety of learning needs

  • PD for respite support workers who are starting to work with children and adolescents with autism

  • Behavioural Q&A session for preschool staff working with children who may be showing some signs of autism

For more information about our Customised Training, please contact us on 02 4967 3363 or email

As Student-free days tend to be popular for school-based training, we recommend you book well in advance to secure your preferred dates.