What are some steps to follow to have a child assessed for a possible autism diagnosis?
To have a child assessed for a possible autism diagnosis in Australia, you can follow these general steps:
- Consult your General Practitioner (GP): Start by discussing your concerns with your family doctor or GP. They can provide initial guidance and refer you to specialists who can conduct a comprehensive assessment.
- Seek a Paediatrician or Developmental Paediatrician: Your GP may refer you to a paediatrician or a developmental paediatrician who specialises in child development and neurodevelopmental disorders like autism. These specialists have expertise in diagnosing and managing autism.
- Comprehensive Assessment: The paediatrician or developmental paediatrician will conduct a thorough assessment of your child’s development, behaviour, and social interaction.
- Multidisciplinary Assessment: In some cases, the diagnostic process may involve a team of professionals, including psychologists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and educational specialists. This multidisciplinary assessment helps in obtaining a comprehensive view of your child’s strengths, challenges, and developmental profile. Standardised diagnostic tools used may include the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R), to gather information about your child’s symptoms and behaviour.
- Early Intervention Services: If the diagnosis confirms autism, your healthcare provider can guide you towards early intervention services. These services aim to support your child’s development, enhance their skills, and address any challenges they may face.
- Assistance Programs and Funding: Depending on your location in Australia, there may be government assistance programs and funding available to support families with children diagnosed with autism. These programs can provide financial support for therapies, interventions, and educational support.
- Ongoing Support and Management: After diagnosis, it’s important to establish a support network and collaborate with healthcare professionals, educators, and therapists who can provide ongoing support and interventions tailored to your child’s needs.
Remember, this is a general overview of the process, and it may vary based on individual circumstances and the specific region in Australia where you reside. Consulting with healthcare professionals will provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information for your situation.
Leanne Hopkins is an Occupational Therapist at Succeed Healthcare Solutions and is passionate about creating a world where families thrive. If you are a parent or carer of neurodiverse young person, please contact us and arrange a free 15-minute Discovery Interview to see how we can assist.