phone icon 0417 452 365

pam.connor@bigpond.com


Unit 6/55 Lathlain St, Belconnen

Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessments Canberra

The process for undertaking an Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment involves the following:

  • An interview with parents (usually 3 hours) based on the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) in which a focussed comprehensive development and psycho-social history is obtained.
  • (If there is little evidence of ASD, it is possible to proceed no further after this interview. In this case, discussion is held with parents as to the best way to proceed. However, in most cases, clients proceed to the next stage.)

 If ASD seems to be a possibility the following will take place:

  • Parents will be given a number of ASD-related behavioural inventories (ASAS, SAS, ASSQ) to complete. They will also be given inventories for the teacher (and another individual who knows the child well) to complete. These are not diagnostic, but provide invaluable qualitative information for the assessor.
  • An observation of the child/adolescent is held at school in the classroom and in the playground. Fee – hourly rate. ( During COVID, there will be more reliance on teacher interview).
  • An interview is held with the classroom teacher (the observation and interview are usually 1.5 hours in total). If the young person’s school is on the Southside or requires some travelling, travelling time is factored into the fee. [During COVID, teacher interviews are typically longer in the absence of an observation].
  • Sometimes a home observation with the child/adolescent (depending on age) is also requested – but this is not always an essential part of the assessment). Fee: Hourly rate.
  • A structured interview/play session with the child/adolescent based on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). This is usually of 1- hour duration.
  • A cognitive assessment - it is important in any ASD assessment where it is necessary to determine the cognitive functioning of the child. Sometimes, school counsellors/psychologists are able to do this part of the assessment (or may have already competed this). Sometimes, school performance is sufficient to ascertain cognitive functioning. However, if this is the case, the results must be available to me for analysis and inclusion in this report.
  • Writing of report. After all the data is collected, a comprehensive report is written containing an account of the initial ADI-R interview, details of the school observation and interview with the teacher, a summary of the results of the inventories from teacher and parents, a summary of the results of the ADOS, and then consideration of the information against the diagnostic criteria for ASD/Asperger’s Disorder.Payment for the report is required electronically prior to the feedback session.

The cost of the report is variable, depending on the amount of data/information that needs inclusion and the hours spent writing.  Often, two full days can be devoted to analysis and writing this report.  However the final cost does not represent the full number of hours of writing and analysis.

  • A feedback session is usually then scheduled to discuss the information collected, and the results, conclusions and recommendations.As this appointment is not scheduled ahead, it is often not within standard practice times, less stable, and thus may be subject to change at short notice.

This process is represented in the table below

STAGE OF ASSESSMENT

TIME TAKEN

Initial Interview with parents only [ADI-R](inventories are provided at this interview)

3 hours

ON THE ADVICE OF THE CLINICIAN, PARENTS MAY NOT CONTINUE AFTER THIS SESSION as the interview may provide enough direction itself.

 

School observation and interview with teacher

1.5 hours

Sometimes home observation.

1 hour

Structured play/observation session with child or adolescent (ADOS)

1 hour

COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT ( MAY NOT NEED TO BE DONE)

2.5 hours

ASD Report: Analysis of data/inventories, information from interview, observation and writing of report

Can often be two to three days (21 hours) equivalent.

Any other assessments, meetings, or observations required.

Review of extensive previous reports will also be at the hourly rate.

The need for these will be explained to parents prior to conducting them.

 

Please note that the cognitive assessment is a separate assessment and cost (detailed separately).  Sometimes this is undertaken by the school psychologist – and in these cases, parents need to provide the report written by the school psychologist.  Please note that a diagnosis cannot be made merely from a cognitive assessment.  However this assessment provides additional information about the child – in terms of whether he/she is high or low functioning.

Often the ASD assessment process can span 4 to 8 weeks, from beginning to end, as sometimes the school observation can take some time to organise, and the analysis and writing can often span over several weeks.   I anticipate that. If there are any questions associated with this assessment, please contact me on 0417 452 365 or on my e mail.

PLEASE NOTE THAT diagnosing a child with ASD carries with it SIGNIFICANT RESPONSIBILITY.  THUS, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT A RECOMMENDATION FOR A DIAGNOSIS SHOULD ONLY BE MADE BY THOSE WHO HAVE UNDERTAKEN THE SPECIALIST TRAINING IN THIS FIELD. The Find A Psychologist site on the APS website contains the name of those psychologists who indicate this is an area of speciality for them.