Autism and Anxiety: Strategies for Student Wellbeing


Tuesday 5th September 2023


9:00am – 3:30pm


The Autism Training Hub, Giant Steps, Gladesville, Sydney



Course Description

Individuals with Autism are at a higher risk of developing comorbid mental health concerns, especially anxiety.

However diagnosing anxiety can be difficult, especially when the core characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder make identifying emotional states and communicating those to others challenging. These difficulties are exacerbated when an individual also has an Intellectual Disability and their comprehension and information processing are affected.

Anxiety in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability can amplify the symptoms of Autism, or increase challenging behaviours. This often results in an isolated individual who struggles to engage in their world, including learning.

Join us to enhance your understanding and ability to support the wellbeing and mental health needs of students with autism in the classroom.

Participants will consider the impact of the information processing style prevalent for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as how individuals understand and recognise internal states and emotions.

Participants will explore a range of practical strategies that can be implemented in the classroom that positively support student wellbeing.

This course caters for classroom teachers, school leaders, learning support staff and other professionals from health and social services working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Presenter – Helen Appleton

Helen Appleton completed her undergraduate studies in psychology, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Psychology at Sydney University. After graduation Helen started working at Giant Steps Australia as the school’s Family and Student Support Therapist, while also overseeing psychological supports throughout the school, with a special interest in mental health concerns, complex support needs, extended family support, interagency training and liaising. She has created a school wide Siblings Support Program and is currently Director of the Rob Llewelyn-Jones Clinical Centre at Giant Steps. Helen is currently completing her PhD in Autism and Anxiety through Griffith University under Professor Jacqui Roberts.


Presenter – Daniel Snow

Daniel Snow has been working as an Occupational Therapist at Giant Steps Australia since 2012. He has worked across all programs including the school and adult services. His special interests include childhood play and the design of play spaces for children and implementing positive behaviour support and emotional regulation programs. In 2015, Daniel coordinated the Sydney Playground Project research at Giant Steps in collaboration with the University of Sydney. Currently, Daniel heads our National OT Team and enjoys mentoring OTs from our Sydney and Melbourne schools. Daniel is also a qualified Vedic Meditation teacher.

For course enquiries or to be included on our mailing list please contact

Face to face Professional Learning courses are held in accordance with our COVID-19 Safety Plan. If COVID -19 Health Restrictions are in place, course dates will be changed to a later date in the year. Dates will be advised on our website and directly to interested participants.

The Autism Hub Professional Learning courses aim to increase participants’ knowledge and confidence to best support the learning of autistic children and adults. Proudly supported by Future Generation Australia.