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Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessments

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are lifelong developmental conditions that affect approximately 1 in 100 children. The common areas of difficulty for children with ASD include communication, socialisation, sensory activities, and restricted or repetitive behaviours, interests or activities. The severity and extent to which a child’s daily functioning is affected can range from mild to severe.

The current diagnosis of ASD as specified by the DSM-V includes what was previously known as Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified.

The assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder can be beneficial in:

  • Better understanding your child: A diagnosis can assist parents to learn more about their child’s unique profile of impairment. It can help them understand why their child may not be meeting developmental milestones or why they're exhibiting unusual behaviours, repetitive interests or social/communication difficulties.
  • Developing tailored treatment plans: This can assist parents and teachers to introduce individualised management plans and learning support plans at home and school to meet a child’s specific needs and assist with their communication skills, social interactions and behaviours.
  • Accessing additional assistance and funding: Once a child is formally diagnosed with ASD, parents can apply for access to government funding entitlements and community services (eg Medicare, Centrelink Carer’s Allowance, the ‘Helping Children with Autism’ Program or the NDIS). Additionally, diagnosis can assist with applying for school-based funding for special support teachers in the classroom.

Assessment Process

Current research suggests that the earlier a child is accurately diagnosed with ASD and starts effective tailored support programs and interventions, the better the developmental outcomes for the child.

The diagnosis of ASD requires a comprehensive assessment process and involves gathering information from a range of sources. The aim is to gather insight into a child’s strengths and weaknesses – in particular around their social interactions, communication skills and demonstration of any atypical behaviours or interests.

This information can typically be obtained by administering standardised assessment tools, conducting a developmental history interview with parents, observing the child in their home and/or school environment, and/or conducting a teacher phone consult. While ASD is typically diagnosed in early childhood, the assessment process can be undertaken at any age. Our psychologists are specifically trained in assessing individuals with ASD and are qualified to make a diagnosis.

Assessment Tools

We currently use the gold-standard Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule- Second Edition (ADOS - 2) which has been rated as the most reliable diagnostic tool  recognised by international ASD experts. The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) is a gold-standard, structured parent interview that assists in the reliable diagnosis of ASD.

Assessment tools can also include:

  • Other parent rating scales
  • Observation scales or school observations
  • Reports from other professionals