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Autism (ASD) assessments

(Primary to High School aged)

Completing an Autism assessment can seem like a daunting or confronting task. As with all the work we do at ConnectEd Counselling and Consultancy, we want to make sure that you have a positive experience of seeking help. Below you will find information to help you better understand why you might want to have an assessment completed, what is involved, and a number of other common questions or concerns you might have have.

We provide two options for the assessment of Autism:

  1. Autism targeted assessment comprehensive assessment – is ideal if you are wanting to understand whether your young person has Autism. This is recommended when Autism has been identified as a likely concern by yourself, your educator or other health professional

  2. Autism comprehensive assessment – recommended when there are a range of potential concerns, that may include Autism, ADHD or other difficulties. The comprehensive assessment provides the opportunity to determine what factors may be contributing to how your young person is currently coping

What is different about ConnectEd assessments?

  • Our assessment team are highly experienced Educational and Developmental Psychologists and former School Psychologists
  • Our team has a special interest in the assessment process. This means that the psychologist you work with is really passionate about this area!
  • Their unique experience means that they understand what is most helpful in the school context and can work with you and your child’s school to best meet their needs
  • We greatly value the role that parents play and see assessment as an opportunity to not just answer your specific question, but also to develop your understanding of your child and how you can best support them
  • We aim to provide a thorough assessment and include additional time allocations for liaising with your school and report writing, which allows your psychologist to spend considerable time developing a rich understanding of your child. This is particularly important given that many of the tests used can’t be repeated for an extended period of time (e.g. 2 years). We encourage clients to consider what is the best quality and most meaningful assessment process before committing, while also understanding the need to juggle a budget. 
  • We know that everyone is different and has different hopes and expectations in completing an assessment. We will work with you to understand your concerns and develop an assessment process that best meets your needs. 

Why might you get an Autism assessment?

The list below provides some common concerns that parents might have. As Autism is a “spectrum disorder”, there can be a wide variation in the presence/absence of concerns, as well as the extent/degree to which they occur

Communication and Social Skills

  • Speech and communication delays
  • Limited eye contact
  • Challenges in social interactions
  • Difficulty understanding emotions

Behavioural Patterns

  • Repetitive behaviours
  • Unusual motor mannerisms
  • Resistance to changes or transitions
  • Intense focus on specific interests

Developmental Milestones

  • Delayed developmental milestones
  • Lack of pointing or gesturing
  • Unusual play with toys

Sensory Sensitivities

  • Sensory sensitivities to lights, sounds, textures, or smells

Interactions with Peers

  • Limited interest in peers
  • Solitary play

Educational Concerns

  • Concerns raised by educators
  • Difficulty with receptive language and following instructions

What are the benefits of an Autism assessment?

  • You want to better understand your child’s strengths and challenges. An assessment is NOT just about finding out “what is wrong”, it is also about acknowledging and suggesting ways to utilise the strengths that your child has
  • Knowing your child’s profile allows you to advocate more clearly for support for your child. Schools often have requirements they need to meet (e.g. a diagnosis, assessment results) before they are able to implement certain supports
  • You want specific recommendations for how to best support your child, now and into the future

The assessments we provide cover:

  • Autism specific assessment – administration of standardised measures that assess for Autism
  • Functional assessment – determining the extent to which your child is able to cope/struggles with functioning across a number of domains, including: social, communication, general cognitive
  • Clinical psychosocial assessment – understanding any additional mental health difficulties your child might be experiencing and how this may impact them. Given the co-occurrence of educational challenges and other mental health difficulties, this will assist in identifying the most helpful support 
  • Attention and hyperactivity (Autism comprehensive assessment only) – a comprehensive assessment tool that determines the presence (or absence) of difficulties with attention and hyperactivity, as compared to similar-aged peers
  • Review of historical documentation

Additional assessments

Depending on your concerns and needs, we can also provide additional assessments that cover the following:

  • Cognitive abilities – your level of functioning for various cognitive abilities (e.g. working memory, processing speed, fluid reasoning). This information can give teachers and other student support staff information about strengths and challenges to help tailor their planning and support.

  • Functional academic testing – your child’s academic achievement in the classroom and without additional support. Can be useful as a baseline for trialling or understanding some impacts of in-class support and accommodation strategies and for confirming areas in need of academic intervention.

What we DON'T provide

  • A guaranteed diagnosis – the assessment process is designed to provide rich information to understand your child’s needs. Sometimes this equates to a diagnosis, other times it does not meet this threshold but still provides valuable understanding. In some cases, a diagnosis will also need to be confirmed by another healthcare specialist (e.g. paediatrician or psychiatrist)

  • That you will have all the answers from one assessment package – in some cases, further information will lead to further needs being identified. In this case, we will provide our recommendations to you about what else might be needed and you can work with your psychologist to identify if you are in a position to undertake this 

Autism targeted assessment

What is involved in an assessment?

The flowchart below shows the process of an example assessment. The assessment best suited to your child may be different and, for example, involve more or less interview time, report writing time or time at their school. The discussion at your intake session will lead to your psychologist being able to judge what elements of the assessment process will answer your questions about your child in order to meet the purpose of the assessment.

What is the difference between the Autism targeted and Autism comprehensive assessment?

  1. Targeted assessment = assessing specifically for Autism only (while also giving consideration to other factors which may be impacting but not specifically assessing for these)
  2. Comprehensive assessment = assessing for Autism + ADHD. This means some additional time is involved as we are covering a wider range of areas in the assessment process. We can also include additional assessment components if needed if there are concerns with cognitive abilities or academic functioning (e.g. cognitive abilities, functional academic testing)

FAQ

Our assessment protocol is based on the best-practice guidelines established by the Autism Cooperative Research Centre (Autism CRC), which are the national guidelines recommended for the assessment of Autism

Autism assessment tools

  • Monteiro Interview Guidelines for Diagnosing the Autism Spectrum – 2 (MIGDAS-2). This is a structured assessment protocol for Autism. In addition to having a strong evidence base, it is also considered a neuro-affirming protocol and also emphasises the strengths of the person being assessed, and provides a wide range of information that can be used in developing recommendations and supports
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). This is a structured interview, specifically done with parents, and assists with gathering high quality information from the parent/caregiver
  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale – 2 (CARS-2). This is a standardised rating system which provides further information on the presence/absence of a range of features and behaviours consistent with Autism

Clinical Psychosocial assessment

  • Behavioural Assessment for Children-3 (BASC-3). A standardised and age-normed questionnaire assessing a range of psychosocial symptoms
  • Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System – 3 (ABAS-3). This is a wide-ranging assessment of adaptive skills

Autism assessment is a specialised skill set, much of which is utilised “behind the scenes” in the report-writing process. We believe that a high-quality assessment, done once, can provide meaningful understanding (and possibly diagnosis) that can inform the support for an individual for years to come. It is often better to undertake as comprehensive assessment as is required, as much of the cost of assessment is embedded in the whole process (rather than adding additional assessments in).

Please see our fees section for more information

Autism comprehensive assessment

What is involved in an assessment?

The flowchart below shows the process of an example assessment. The assessment best suited to your child may be different and, for example, involve more or less interview time, report writing time or time at their school. The discussion at your intake session will lead to your psychologist being able to judge what elements of the assessment process will answer your questions about your child in order to meet the purpose of the assessment.

What is the difference between the Autism targeted and Autism comprehensive assessment?

  1. Targeted assessment = assessing specifically for Autism only (while also giving consideration to other factors which may be impacting but not specifically assessing for these)
  2. Comprehensive assessment = assessing for Autism + ADHD. This means some additional time is involved as we are covering a wider range of areas in the assessment process. We can also include additional assessment components if needed if there are concerns with cognitive abilities or academic functioning (e.g. cognitive abilities, functional academic testing)

FAQ

Our assessment protocol is based on the best-practice guidelines established by the Autism Cooperative Research Centre (Autism CRC), which are the national guidelines recommended for the assessment of Autism

Autism assessment tools

  • Monteiro Interview Guidelines for Diagnosing the Autism Spectrum – 2 (MIGDAS-2). This is a structured assessment protocol for Autism. In addition to having a strong evidence base, it is also considered a neuro-affirming protocol and also emphasises the strengths of the person being assessed, and provides a wide range of information that can be used in developing recommendations and supports
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). This is a structured interview, specifically done with parents, and assists with gathering high quality information from the parent/caregiver
  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale – 2 (CARS-2). This is a standardised rating system which provides further information on the presence/absence of a range of features and behaviours consistent with Autism

ADHD

  • Conners – 4. A structured and age-normed questionnaire for assessing ADHD

Clinical Psychosocial assessment

  • Behavioural Assessment for Children-3 (BASC-3). A standardised and age-normed questionnaire assessing a range of psychosocial symptoms
  • Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System – 3 (ABAS-3). This is a wide-ranging assessment of adaptive skills

Autism assessment is a specialised skill set, much of which is utilised “behind the scenes” in the report-writing process. We believe that a high-quality assessment, done once, can provide meaningful understanding (and possibly diagnosis) that can inform the support for an individual for years to come. It is often better to undertake as comprehensive assessment as is required, as much of the cost of assessment is embedded in the whole process (rather than adding additional assessments in).

Please see our fees section for more information

Immediate availability

We have appointments available for counselling within the next week and assessment times within the next 1-2 months

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