Autism Spectrum Disorder

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What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a pervasive developmental disorder characterised by impairments in social communication, as well as restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests and activities. There are also often significant difficulties in the processing of sensory information.

ASD is a lifelong condition. The cause of ASD is currently not known but there is evidence to suggest that genetics plays an important role in the cause of ASD. The behaviours and difficulties associated with ASD are evident very early in an individual’s development but the stage at which functional impairment becomes obvious can vary. No two individuals with ASD are alike. The behaviours associated with ASD can vary within individuals as they grow and develop and respond to various situations and environments in their daily lives.

Many higher functioning ASD kids are not picked up until they attend school/kindy and are immersed in social engagement. Here are some of the signs to look for:

Please note this list is not exhaustive and is intended to provide general guidance only.

ASD Assessments

In South Australia, a formal ASD diagnosis requires two accredited clinicians, which may be a psychologist, speech pathologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapist or a paediatrician.

Assessments can be conducted by a team of two clinicians in one setting or by two individual clinicians across different settings. Two clinicians are required as the diagnostic criteria are very specific and having two separate clinicians assess the child ensures the validity of the diagnostic criteria. Often the two clinicians will assess the child with varying tools. Confirmation of an ASD diagnosis is obtained when the second clinician confirms the findings of the first clinician. Two clinicians may carry out a joint ASD assessment. This enables a more time efficient ASD assessment to be performed.

At SASHC, we perform both single and joint ASD assessments. Our joint ASD assessments are performed with experienced psychologists from Think Wise Psychology.

ASD Assessment Process at SASHC

The ASD assessment is booked over 1 session. We will require:

*A hearing assessment can be carried out by our team of audiologists at SASHC and Speak Hear, please speak to our admin team to arrange an appointment.

Single clinician ASD assessment

An ASD assessment can take up to 2 hours as the testing may take up to an hour and disclosure and case history may take up the rest of the time. It is important to make your child aware that there will be a portion of the session that will involve play and games, but there will also be some discussion time between the clinician and parents. Please bring along toys/items to keep your child engaged during disclosure and discussion time. A full, comprehensive report is then completed and e-mailed out to parents within a week of the assessment.

For single clinician ASD assessments, it is important to note that should the individual being tested present with a diagnosis of ASD, a confirmation assessment will need to be completed to confirm the findings of our assessment.

This may be performed by a:

As there are waitlists for ASD testing in most clinics in SA, it is recommended that a second/confirmation assessment be booked as soon as possible to ensure timely confirmation of diagnosis.

Joint ASD assessment

Joint ASD assessments can take up to 90 minutes, however parents and children will be placed in separate spaces with the speech therapist assessing the child and the psychologist interviewing parents. The child’s ASD assessment will be recorded for later analysis to assist with the report writing.

Once the testing portion of the ASD assessment is complete, parents can leave the clinic with their child. The speech pathologist and psychologist will jointly observe video footage of the child’s engagement in the assessment and a thorough analysis will be completed. Parents will receive a phone call from the clinicians on the day of the assessment to inform them of the findings of the assessment. A full, comprehensive report is then completed and e-mailed out to parents within a week of the assessment.

Autism SA

All joint ASD assessment reports with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD will be sent to Autism SA. This is a standard process carried out in South Australia.

Autism SA will be able to support families by providing educational care and input to Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) educational settings. Additional funding in DECD schools is generally only provided once an individual is registered to have a diagnosis by Autism SA.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

If an individual is diagnosed with ASD from a joint ASD assessment, the NDIS funding application process can be commenced immediately. Single clinician ASD assessments will require confirmation of ASD diagnosis prior to commencing the NDIS funding application process.

ASD Checklist

This checklist is intended as a guide only and is not a standalone diagnostic tool.

Booked an appointment?

Please remember to complete the ASD forms and read below to ensure you’re fully prepared.

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