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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Research has shown that early diagnosis and treatment provide the best outcomes for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Through the use of psychological assessments we can determine whether or not your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and determine how to best tailor treatment to meet your child’s specific needs.

The benefits of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment are to:

  • Help you understand your child’s sensory sensitivities, social communication, behaviours and emotion regulation and recognition
  • Tailor treatment (interventions) to suit your child’s individual needs
  • Provide advice to teachers to assist them in developing Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) that meet children’s specific needs
  • Prevent children from experiencing negative outcomes at school, including disruptive behaviour patterns, school avoidance and refusal, low self esteem and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
  • Access home-based funding (e.g., Medicare, Helping Children with Autism program and Centrelink’s Carers allowance)
  • Access school-based funding

An Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment is lengthy and requires the use of numerous assessment tools. We want to be thorough in our investigation and accurate in our diagnosis. We often use a combination of some of the following Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment tools:

  • Screening tools: We use a range of screening tools to determine whether there is a sufficient level of Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms to warrant further assessment, including the: Autism Spectrum Rating Scale and Autism Spectrum Quotient.
  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS): The ADOS is a semi-structured, standardised, play-based assessment in which we observe and interact with your child to look at their communication, social interaction, play and restricted and repetitive behaviours. We select the most appropriate module for your child, from five modules that are based on your child’s age and language skills.
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R): This is an extremely thorough ASD assessment that has been used to make formal diagnoses of ASD and in ASD research for decades. The ADI-R is a structured, comprehensive, standardised interview that is conducted by one of our clinical psychologists with you about your child. We ask you questions to obtain an extremely detailed developmental history and look specifically at your child’s early development, developmental milestones, language acquisition, language and communication functioning, social development, play, interests and behaviours.

The assessment process to determine whether or not your child has ASD usually involves:

  • An initial session: We conduct an initial 50-minute session in which we look at previous reports from other professionals (eg. general practitioner, paediatrician, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, etc.), obtain background information (family history, developmental history and history of presenting issues) and discuss in detail your child’s presenting concern(s). By the end of the session, we want to ensure that we are the most appropriate professionals to help you and your child. If we collectively decide that an assessment with us is the best course of action for your child, we will determine which tools are the most suitable for your child and family.
  • Completing screening tools: In many situations we ask that parents complete screening assessments to determine whether there is a sufficient level of Autism Spectrum Disorder symptoms to warrant further assessment.
  • Administering the ADI-R: In many situations we conduct the ADI-R over two 50-minute sessions. This assessment involves in-depth interviewing of parents/guardians.
  • Administering ADOS: In many situations we conduct the ADOS in one 50-minute session. This assessment involves observing and interacting with your child.
  • Interpretation of the results: A clinical psychologist scores and interprets the results and writes a detailed, psychological report that includes thorough and practical recommendations for parents and teachers.
  • A feedback session: We conduct a 50-minute feedback session to discuss the results of the assessment, outline recommendations for home and school, discuss treatment (otherwise known as intervention) options and answer any questions you may have.

If you believe that your child needs an Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment, please contact us to schedule an appointment

Conditions that commonly occur with ASD

If your child is demonstrating symptoms associated with ASD and another psychological condition, such as: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Depression, Bipolar Disorder or Tourette Syndrome, we can conduct a number of assessments in order to determine your child’s specific individual needs. They might include cognitive (intellectual), academic achievement, behavioural and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder assessments.

Should your child have ASD and an additional psychological condition, we would provide a wide range of thorough, practical recommendations to help your child to reach his/her potential. We are also available to conduct school visits to meet with your child’s school professionals to help them to better understand your child’s needs and how your child’s needs can better be met.

If you believe that your child needs a comprehensive assessment for multiple concerns, please contact us to schedule an appointment