Assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):
Connect Psychology is a group of Psychologists and Speech Pathologists with many years’ experience assessing children, teenagers and adults with a wide range of developmental and learning difficulties; social, emotional, and relationship problems and challenging behaviour, with particular expertise in ASD. Several clinical practitioners at Connect Psychology are recognised by Autism SA to undertake diagnostic assessments for ASD, for both children and adults. Connect Psychology also offers comprehensive intervention for children with ASD.
What happens in an ASD diagnostic assessment?
A diagnostic assessment at Connect Psychology involves an assessment of all aspects of behaviour, development and history to determine whether an individual meets the current DSM-V criteria for a diagnosis of ASD or if there are any other alternative explanations for the individual’s behaviours and concerns. Connect Psychology clinicians do this through structured interviews with parents, looking at questionnaire results, direct observation of behaviour, and standardised clinical assessment tools. Sometimes, observations at childcare/school are necessary.
Dual / single assessments
To be eligible for registration with Autism SA, a diagnosis must be agreed upon by two professionals from different disciplines. This can be done as a dual diagnostic assessment, or by two different professionals seeing you and your child on separate occasions. Registration with Autism SA is necessary for your child to receive funded support at school, and in some cases, is required for you or your child to be accepted as a participant in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
DUAL: At Connect Psychology, we offer a dual diagnostic assessment which means you will have the assessment with both a Psychologist and a Speech Pathologist at the same time. Dual diagnostic assessments are usually offered on Saturdays. The assessment includes three hours of interview with parents and interaction with your child, or for adults for you and a significant other person in your life, including feedback, plus the provision of a written report. We will also ask for information in a questionnaire sent to you and your child’ s teacher before the assessment.
SINGLE: Connect Psychology can also offer single diagnostic assessments, by either a Clinical Psychologist or Speech Pathologist. Single assessments are usually offered over several dates, but can be undertaken in a single day. If you don’t already have a diagnosis by a professional recognised by Autism SA, a single diagnosis does not allow registration with Autism SA, and that may preclude your child from receiving support at school or from NDIS. This means that if the single assessment results in a diagnosis, a second assessment will need to be conducted with a professional from a different discipline (Psychologist, Speech Pathologist, or Paediatrician for a child or Psychiatrist for an adult) to confirm the diagnosis.
What will happen on the day of the assessment?
DUAL ASSESSMENTS- for child assessments: After a brief introduction time all together, parents will meet with one of the professionals, and your child will spend time with the other professional, for between 1 and 1 1/2 hours. Depending on your child’s age and your concerns, there may be a formal assessment undertaken of your child’s language or cognitive development. At some stage, the two professionals may swap so that each spends time with your child. After a short break, we will meet with parents alone for another hour to gather further information and give you feedback, including our opinion about whether your child meets criteria for the diagnosis of ASD. During this last hour, with parents alone, it will be necessary for you either to have someone who can collect your child, or to care for your child in the waiting room (for younger children) , or for you to have brought material that will entertain your child for this last hour (for older children). For an adult assessment, we will spend most of the three hours together.
SINGLE ASSESSMENTS: Single assessments are usually completed over three sessions, each of 50 minutes. For child assessments, the first session will be parents only, the second session will be for the child only, and we will let you know about the third session, which is the feedback session.
Sometimes, observations at childcare/school are necessary: these will be arranged ( a further fee may apply).
What happens after the assessment?
Feedback is provided to you on the day, usually without your child depending on their age. This is a crucial part of the process at Connect Psychology: it is an opportunity for you to discuss the outcome of the assessment, “where to from now” and how best to support your child, or how to access support for you as an adult. Later, we send you a detailed written report outlining the reasons for the outcome of the assessment. If an individual meets the criteria for a diagnosis of ASD, the necessary registration forms will be forwarded to Autism SA, which is the organisation that registers individuals with ASD in South Australia. On the basis of a diagnosis by Connect Psychology, children and adults will become eligible to be a participant in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and parents will be eligible to receive Carer’s Allowance. Many clients choose to arrange a further session to help guide them through the process of applying for NDIS funding.
How do I arrange an assessment?
Simply phone Connect Psychology on 8357 0043 between 9:30 and 5. Our Receptionist will be happy to answer any further questions and offer you the next available appointments.