Autism Spectrum


leaving school and leading your own life

Medical Matters


Being able to look after your own health and well-being is an important step to being independent.

Up until now you have probably been the ones making decisions about when your son or daughter might need to see a doctor.

You may have had to remind them to take their medication and organise sport and exercise opportunities to keep them fit and healthy.

As a young adult, it will be important that they are are able to do some of these things for themselves to the best of their abilities.

Being fit and healthy will allow them to look and feel good and to be able to get involved in all the exciting things that life has to offer!!

The good news is that there is lots of information out there about how you can help them to achieve independence in these areas.

We have set out some important steps below – some young people will be able to master all of the skills with some support and help from you.

Others may be able to gain some level of independence but may require additional assistance in some areas. 


Create their own contact list

Encourage your son or daughter to make a list of their current doctors and therapists. This list should include their name, address, phone number and office hours.

Most will only be seen when there is a need, however you should encourage your child to see the family doctor and dentist each year for a regular check up.

It is a good idea to make it around the same time each year so it is easier for them to remember such as around their birthday or towards the beginning or end of each year.


Obtain their own Medicare card   

Anyone 15 years of age or older can have their own Medicare Card. To transfer to their own Medicare card, they need to visit a DHS Service Centre with identification and fill out a Medicare Copy/Transfer Application form.

Note: if you want to do this on their behalf, both you and your son or daughter will need to complete the Medicare Copy/Transfer Application form.


Knowing when and how to see a doctor

Another important life skills is knowing when you should seek medical advice and how to go about doing this.

Although there are many times when staying home and resting is all your son or daughter will need to do to get over an illness or an injury, there are also times when they should see a doctor.

Your son or daughter might find the following link useful in helping them know when they should seek medical help.

When To See A Doctor

Another resource that could be useful is the Symptom Checker on the Health Direct workshop.

This allows you to enter your personal details and the symptoms you are experiencing to help you decide whether you need to contact your doctor.

Symptom Checker

Lastly, if they are unsure or would like to speak to someone directly, they can call 1800 022 222.

They can speak to a Health Direct registered nurse who can provide 24 hour information and advice on non-urgent health matters.


Managing their own medication  

It is very important that your son or daughter knows to follow the instructions that the doctor has provided in regards to the dosage and the timings of any medication.

Some tips for remembering to take medication can be found on the following link:

Taking Your Medication


In the case of medical emergencies  

There are some rare occasions when your son or daughter should go straight to an emergency department at the hospital.

Make sure they are familiar with the emergency number -OOO (not 911!!) and advise them that they should ask to be put through to the ambulance service.

The following is a link that may help them recognise a medical emergency and how to call an ambulance.

Better Health Channel – When To Call An Ambulance


Specialist services and resources

Some young people with autism, particularly those with an intellectual disability, may need the information presented to them in a simpler format.

The NSW Council for Intellectual Disability has some terrific fact sheets that use easy to understand terms accompanied by visual supports.

 The NSW Developmental Disability Health Unit (DDHU)  in Sydney provides a consultant service for people with developmental disabilities, their family and support persons.

It works in conjunction with the person’s general practitioner to ensure access to high quality health care through a network of specialists and allied health personnel.

This service is primarily designed to assist people with developmental disabilities who have complex health needs.

For an appointment contact the clinic nurse Mondays & Wednesdays between 8.30 – 4.00 on 02-9808-9287