Our qualified speech pathologists and psychologists provide the gold standard in autism assessments.
What is autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or autism, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects three main areas of an individual’s life: communication, social interaction and repetitive and restricted behaviours.
Approximately one in every 88 people has autism and it is more common in boys than girls. In 2017, 2.5% of the Australian population had a diagnosis of autism. Although the cause of autism is unknown, genetic factors have been identified and siblings have a 35% higher chance of developing signs of autism.
Signs of autism can include:
- Lack of communicative intent (the use of gestures, facial expressions, written or spoken words)
- Difficulty with the flow of conversation, including reverting conversations back to self- interests, difficulty listening, frequent interruptions or lack of engagement
- Language difficulties, or difficulty with reasoning and problem solving
- Speech delays or non-verbal communication
- Difficulty using and interpreting others’ body language, gestures and facial expressions
- Problems with play, including difficulties with imaginative and pretend play, as well as engaging in play with peers
- Difficulty making and maintaining relationships with friends or significant others
- Difficulty with processing sensory stimuli such as an oversensitivity to noise
- Attention difficulties
- Behaviours that are repetitive or ritualistic (i.e. having to complete a ritual task before moving onto another task)
- Obsessive behaviours
- Difficulty with transitions
- Refusing to go to school or leave the house
- ‘Black and white’ thinking and inflexibility with rules or routines
While the above characteristics are common, no two people with autism are alike. This is why a ‘spectrum’ is referred to. All people on the autism spectrum are different and will experience autism in different ways.
If you are concerned that your child may be showing signs of autism, contact your paediatrician and they will make the appropriate referrals based on the findings of their initial assessment.
How do I get an autism diagnosis?
An autism assessment helps determine whether an individual meets the criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and provides information about their presentation and support needs.
The diagnostic process includes a comprehensive assessment by a paediatrician (for children) or psychiatrist (for adults), plus assessments by a psychologist and speech pathologist with specialised training using criteria outlined in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5). All three professionals have to be in agreement with the findings of the assessments before the paediatrician/psychiatrist makes the final diagnosis.
Our Autism Assessment Services
At Therapy Focus we provide the gold standard in autism assessments. As members of the WA Autism Diagnosticians’ Forum, our qualified speech pathologists and psychologists are highly knowledgeable and conduct assessments in line with the National Guidelines for Autism Assessment and Diagnosis.
Our Autism Assessment service includes:
- Use of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale-2 (ADOS -2) to provide a decision based on the DSM-5 criteria
- Comprehensive parent interview, functional assessment and cognitive assessment (if required)
- Assessment of language, play, communication and social skills
- Consultation with the key people in the child or young person’s life (i.e. family members, teaching staff)
Assessments are conducted over 1-2 sessions, depending on the individual’s age and the information provided in a pre-assessment questionnaire. If the individual is school aged, then the first session may take place at school with permission.
At the conclusion of the assessment a detailed diagnostic report will be provided to the referring paediatrician or psychiatrist, who will confirm the diagnosis of ASD based on the report. This report can also be used to support conversations with NDIS Planners about what supports are required.
Parents and/or carers will be invited to a follow-up feedback consultation to discuss results in detail and provide support for next steps. Our team can provide information about our services for people diagnosed with ASD. Services are tailored to the unique needs of each individual and can include early childhood intervention, behaviour support, social skill development and parent carer support.
Book an assessment
Contact us today to request an appointment. Please note that a referral from a consultant paediatrician or psychiatrist is required prior to the assessment. This will allow you to claim back some costs as a Medicare rebate.