How is Autism Spectrum Disorder assessed and diagnosed?

Diagnosing a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder involves three stages: Screening; Assessment; and, Feedback and Report.
The assessment team uses information gathered from parents, doctors, therapists and teachers, as well as their own observations in the child’s home/kindergarten/childcare, and during the formal assessment
A diagnosis is formulated after consultation with the child’s paediatrician. Families are then given feedback about the diagnosis.

What does an ASD assessment involve?

ASD is diagnosed by examining the child’s development and behaviour. Sometimes ASD can be difficult to diagnose so it is important to have a comprehensive assessment to distinguish ASD from a range of other difficulties.

An assessment by a paediatrician is required prior to an assessment for ASD in order to rule out other factors including medical conditions that may be affecting the child’s development and behaviour. A hearing assessment may also be required.

If other assessments have also been completed, such as a speech assessment, this information is also considered in making a diagnosis.
Sometimes it is clear from the initial information that the child does not have ASD. If it seems that the child might have ASD, the Gateways Autism Assessment Team will discuss the child’s early development and behaviour with the family.

Information is also gathered about the child’s current development and behaviour to complete a full picture of their day-to-day functioning and interactions in various situations. Often a specialised assessment is undertaken to determine the child’s range of skills and abilities.

All of this information is considered in consultation with the child’s paediatrician before in arriving at a decision about whether the child has Autism Spectrum Disorder or some other communication, behavioural or developmental difficulty.

After the assessment, a follow up session is arranged with the family to: discuss the outcomes of the assessment; provide information; and, discuss available service options.

A written assessment report is then completed and provided to the family. Copies of the report can also be provided to other professionals with the family’s permission.

Where to seek Diagnosis

Austin CAMHS – Developmental Assessment Program
Austin Health, 145 Studley Rd – HEIDELBERG
Telephone (03) 9496 3620

RCH Mental Health Services Travancore – Autism Spectrum Assessment Team (Western Suburbs to age 15)
50 Flemington Street – FLEMINGTON
Telephone (03) 9345 6011

Alfred CAMHS- Developmental Assessment Service
999 Nepean Highway – MOORABBIN
Telephone (03) 8552 0555

Southern Health CAMHS
Monash Medical Centre – CLAYTON
Telephone 1300 369 012
Developmental Disabilities Clinic – Paediatrics (please note that a medical referral is required to see this team)

Monash Medical Centre – CLAYTON
Telephone (03) 9594 4495

Gateways Support Services (for children under age 6)
10-12 Albert Street – GEELONG WEST
Telephone (03) 5221 2984

Geelong CAMHS (Children over 6)   15 Pakington St Geelong West  52267075

Eastern CAMHS (This region has developed a list of local clinicians who do Autism Spectrum Disorder assessments. When you ring ask the Intake Worker for their contact list.)
Maroondah Hospital, RINGWOOD
Telephone (03) 9870 9788

North East CAMHS – Autism Spectrum Assessment Team (ASAT)
WANGARATTA – Telephone (03) 5722 4837
WODONGA – Telephone (02) 6024 7711

Northern Mallee CAMHS – Autism Spectrum Support & Evaluation Team (ASSET)
107 Pine Avenue – MILDURA
Telephone (03) 5018 7900

Gippsland Autism & Related Disorders Assessment Service
LRH Mental Health Services – TRARALGON
Telephone (03) 5171 1255 (Triage)

Bendigo CAMHS – Autism Assessment Team
BENDIGO
Telephone (03) 5440 6500

Grampians Region Autism Assessment & Diagnostic Team
111 Ascot Street – BALLARAT
Telephone (03) 5320 4100

Goulburn Valley CAMHS – GV Autism Spectrum Assessment Team (ASAT)
Operating in SEYMOUR and SHEPPARTON
Telephone (03) 5832 2160

Warrnambool CAMHS
WARRNAMBOOL – Telephone (03) 5561 9100

Melton Health – Autism Spectrum Assessment Clinic
Djerriwarrh Health Service
195-209 Barries Road MELTON
Telephone (03) 9747 7600

For more information on autism diagnosis see
http://raisingchildren.net.au/children_with_autism/children_with_autism_landing.html

http://www.autismvictoria.org.au/parents/