Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessments
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a lifelong developmental condition which affects approximately 1 in 100 children. The common areas of difficulty for children with ASD include communication, socialization, restricted or repetitive behaviors, interests or activities, and sensory sensitivities. The severity and extent to which a child’s daily functioning may be 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, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder – not otherwise specified.
The assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder can be beneficial in:
- A better understanding of your child: A diagnosis can assist children and parents to learn more about their child’s unique profile of impairment and understand why they may not be meeting developmental milestones or exhibiting unusual behaviors, repetitive interests or experiencing abnormal social/ communication difficulties
- Developing tailored treatment plans: This can assist parents and teachers to introduce individualized management plans and learning support plans in the home and school environment to meet a child’s specific needs and provide assistance with a child’s communication skills, social interactions and behaviors.
- 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 (e.g. Medicare, Cent relink Career’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.
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 areas of strengths and weaknesses – in particular around their social interactions, communication skills and demonstration of any atypical behaviors or interests.
Typically, this information can be obtained by administering standardized assessment tools, coupled with a developmental history interview with parents, observing the child in their home and/or school environment and/or a teacher phone consult. Whilst 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.
- We currently use the gold standard Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule- Second Edition (ADOS – 2) which has been rated as the most reliable diagnostic tool currently recognized 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.
- Parent rating scales
- Observation scales