Home' Navy News : April 14th 2011 Contents Dalwood Spilstead Centre runs spe-
cially designed programs to assist
autistic children. James also has a
speech therapist, psychologist and two
specialist doctors to help him manage
"James' social interaction and
speech has improved dramatically. He
now makes direct eye contact with
people and his violent outbursts have
ceased. James' affection towards us has
also returned, so Kate and I are enjoy-
ing cuddles from him again," WO2
"It has been rough for Kate and me.
The divorce rate for autistic parents
is quite high, but we managed to pull
through and the experience has made
us both more resilient. We are now
very cognisant of the need to make
time for each other."
If you would like to make a dona-
tion or join WO2 Clarke and SGT
Cooper on their Ride Round Australia
for autism, visit www.gofundraise.
com.au/page/RRAA2012 or join
the Facebook group www.facebook.
The pair can also be emailed at
For more information about ASD visit
ASPECT's website at www.autismspec-
trum.org.au or call the autism informa-
tion line on 1800 069 978.
Tell us about the
other hats you wear
All Reservists (Active and Specialist) should recently
have received mail asking about your civil skills (formal,
self-claimed, experience) for the Civil Skills Data e-survey.
It is very important that you complete this survey as it
helps the Australian Defence Force better identify people
with speci c skills that can be drawn upon for emergencies,
exercises and deployments.
You will receive a half day pay for preparing and completing
the sur vey and it will also help your Reserve career.
It's time to complete the Civil Skills Data e-survey
There s still time for you to complete the sur vey. Make sure
you have all your paperwork ready licences, degrees and
other quali cations before you start.
If you have any questions about the survey, or any of the
information collected, please email your query and PMKeyS
number to ADO.CivilSkillsData@defence.gov.au
You can complete the survey on your own or a Defence
computer, but you should complete it as soon as you can.
Visit www.civilskillsdata.com today
Skills in Reserve
April 14, 2011
By CPL Melanie Schinkel
IN LIGHT of World Autism
Awareness Day on April 2, two sol-
diers are calling for people to sup-
port or join them on a 'Ride Round
Australia' to raise money for Autism
Spectrum Disorder (ASD) sufferers.
Inspired by Ewan McGregor's
'Long Way' road trip series, mates,
colleagues and motorcycle enthusi-
asts WO2 Dave Clarke and SGT Jon
Cooper from ADFIS will embark on
a 32-day, 165,000km round trip from
Sydney on April 2 next year.
WO2 Clarke said his three-and-
a-half-year-old son, James, was
diagnosed with autism in 2009 and he
hoped to raise at least $500,000 for
Australia's largest not-for-profit autism
specific service provider, Autism
Spectrum Australia (ASPECT).
"Jon and I are big fans of riding
and Ewan McGregor's documentaries,
so we thought we could do something
similar to raise money and awareness
for autism," WO2 Clarke said.
"We plan to do the trip in 200km
legs and rest every seventh day. For
our safety, a support vehicle will
follow us and we're looking for a
medic and mechanic to join us.
"In fact, we're extending an open
invitation to anyone who wants to join
us on the road or show their support by
making a donation on our website."
ASDs are life-long developmental
disabilities characterised by marked
difficulties in social interaction,
Riding 'round Oz for autism
impaired communication, and restrict-
ed and repetitive interests, behaviours
and sensory sensitivities.
ASDs include autistic disorder,
Asperger's disorder and pervasive
developmental disorder, which is also
known as atypical autism.
Studies show one in 160
Australians have an ASD and it's more
prevalent in males than females. There
is no single known cause for ASDs,
however, recent research has identified
strong genetic links.
"I have met a lot of ADF members
who have autistic children. If you
don't know someone with autism, I
bet you actually do. Parents just don't
draw attention to the fact that they
have an autistic child," WO2 Clarke
said.He said he and his wife, Kate, iden-
tified James' need for help when his
behaviour changed for the worse.
"James began to shut himself out
from the rest of the world, developed
echolalia and an abnormal obsession
with the cartoon Cat in the Hat. He
also became violent and kicked uncon-
trollably at nappy changing times.
"James was lining up his toys in a
straight line and experienced irrational
giggling fits and emotional meltdowns.
He was extremely frustrated because
he couldn't articulate to us what was
happening to him."
WO2 Clarke said James' behav-
iour had improved significantly since
attending the Dalwood Spilstead
Centre twice a week in Sydney. The
ASD at a glance
The three main areas of difficulty
for autistics are:
impairment in social interaction;
impairment in communication;
restricted and repetitive
In addition to these areas of diffi-
culty, individuals with an ASD may
unusual sensory interests such
as sniffing objects or staring
intently at moving objects;
sensory sensitivities including
avoidance of everyday sounds
and textures such as hair dry-
ers, vacuum cleaners and sand;
intellectual impairment or learn-
RIDING FOR CHARITY: WO2 Dave Clarke, pictured with son James, is
riding around Australia to raise money for autism.
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