Who is Melanie?
Melanie has a Master’s Degree in Autism Studies through Griffith University and is currently applying to become a Registered Developmental Educator. She has been working with autistic people for over a decade.
Melanie herself is autistic and has four autistic children. This has helped to make her adept at relating to and understanding the unique needs of autistic adults and children.
Melanie is the lead Researcher and Presenter for the Albury Wodonga Autism Community of Practice and sits on the Governance committee for Amaze’s Autism Connect. Prior to its finishing up, she was on the Governance committee for the Mindful Autism Assessment Capability and Capacity (MACC) project.
Melanie has presented at major autism conferences, such as APAC, The Victorian Autism Conference, and has had poster presentations at both ASFAR and ECIS. She runs workshops and education programs about autism and trains people in Lego®- based therapy. She has also developed a journal-based program, called the Warrior Project helping people understand anxiety.
Melanie has developed a unique methodology, based in autistic lead research, focusing on developing the strengths in autistic development, that encourages Authentic Autistic Development. Her methodology is based on 3 pillars of autistic cognition and thinking styles, sensory awareness and how it informs identity and safety, and how autistic people seek and develop connections with others.
The traditional model of support and intervention is based on a deficit-focused research model, focused on neuro-normative development, that does not include autistic voices in its conceptualisation and development. Research underpinning Melanie’s methodology recognises autism as a minority neuro-type and seeks to understand and support how the autistic neurotype functions authentically. Her focus is on improving autistic wellbeing and providing a safe space that encourages authentic communication, body safety and awareness, and regulation.
Melanie uses a person-centred and person-led model that allows the individual to follow their own path to self-awareness and construct their own narrative around their identity. She works collaboratively, in partnership with their clients, focusing on wellbeing centred goals.
The Little Black Duck, and those trained by The Little Black Duck, work within this model, focusing on the individual’s unique strengths, skills, and resources available to the individual.
Melanie is trained to use the MIGDAS, SACS-R and ADOS-2 and has undertaken additional training in Differential Diagnosis, and Autism and Anxiety through Mindful and The University of Melbourne. She has completed additional formal training in DIR-Floortime®, Autplay®, Trauma informed practice, Client-centred Support, Narrative Therapy, and Play-based Therapeutic approaches
Melanie is now available for Pre-school autism screeners (free-of-charge) using the SACS-R Screener Assessment tool, and Adult and Child Autism Assessments using both the ADOS and MIGDAS-2 Assessment tools. She is qualified to provide formal assessment reports to individuals and families that can be used by pediatricians, psychologists or psychiatrists to determine an autism diagnosis in the same way a Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist can.
Download Melanie’s Bio and list of Qualifications