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Child Autism Assessments

Are you worried your child might have autism?

Your questions answered

  • What are the signs?
  • How do I find out if my child is on the autism spectrum?
  • Why is identification and accessing intervention important?

What are the signs

Communication & social difficulties

For young children, early signs of Autism are difficulties with communication. This can involve delayed speech but not always. A child may not seek you out to engage in play or simple interactions or want to share with you; they do not point or show you things or respond when their name is called. Older children with developed speech may continue to have difficulties communicating, showing poor conversational skills and showing a lack of awareness of others. They may have difficulty interacting with their peers, possibly preferring the company of adults. Forming and maintaining friendships with their peers can also be challenging.

Limited or unusual behaviours

Autism is not just a social disorder, another key indicator for is that a child is also demonstrating unusual or restricted behaviours. Children may engage in behaviours such as repetitively playing with objects, such as lining up objects or categorising, and not engaging in pretend or imaginative play. They may show repetitive and unusual body movements, such as flapping their hands or walking on their toes. Their speech may be unusual, repeating words or phrases or making unusual vocalisations. Other behaviours may include having difficulty with change or insisting on “sameness”, or becoming fixated on specific topics or interests. Children with Autism often display unusual sensory reactions, they may be sensitive to sensory stimuli, such as experiencing negative responses to sound or tactile sensations, or they may also seek out sensory stimuli, such as rubbing, licking or smelling objects, or peering or staring and lights and patterns.

Why is having a diagnosis important?

Receiving a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder allows your child to access specific state and national government support, funding and services. It ensures that your child accesses appropriate support and intervention which is targeted to their needs and abilities. During the assessment process a profile of strengths and areas of challenge are determined by our clinicians which can be utilised by those working with the your child to better understand their needs and ways to promote learning and development. Receiving a diagnosis can also help your child better understand themselves and why they may feel, think or act differently to others.

What Autism Spectrum Disorder assessments do May offer?

Autism SA requires a dual diagnosis to access all of its services. The benefit of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment at May is that Psychologist Dr Annabel Marsh, and Speech Pathologist Ms Caitlin Del Zoppo, are both very experienced diagnosticians who are both approved assessors by Autism SA. Our diagnosticians have experience in both paediatric and adult assessments. As such, May can offer:

  • Dual ASD assessments with a Psychologist and Speech Pathologist
  • Single initial assessments with a Psychologist or Speech Pathologist
  • Single confirmation assessments with a Psychologist or Speech Pathologist following an initial diagnostic assessment
  • Review assessments

Our administration team will discuss these assessments with you and determine which assessment is most appropriate for your child.

What do Autism Spectrum Disorder assessments look like at May?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis is based on several assessment processes. First, an observation of your child during a play-based assessment is conducted. This may include using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2). Secondly, a comprehensive interview of the parent/guardian is undertaken. This may include using the Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised (ADI-R). Finally, a review of your child’s developmental history is completed. In addition to formal assessments, we collect information via questionnaires and interview. The information requested includes relevant history, current concerns, and general classroom behaviour observations.

Please note that the clinicians may decide to alter this procedure to include or exclude assessments based on what is most appropriate to the question being answered or the problem being investigated. Following the initial assessment procedure, it may also be necessary to observe or visit your child’s child care centre, kindergarten, or school. This decision will be discussed with you in detail if necessary.

Our experienced clinicians will provide you with the quality care and professional service May is known for.