Autism Assessments

There are times when as parents we may wonder: Does my child have autism?

does my child have autism

Statistics do show that cases of autism are rising in Australia.

For example, in 2009, 64,400 Australians were estimated to have the condition; by 2012, this figure had risen to 115,400 in 2012 (ABS, 2012).

We also know that autism is four times more likely to occur in males than females, with prevalence rates of 0.8 percent and 0.2 percent respectively. These rates increase from birth, peaking between 5 and 9 years old and dropping off as age increases (ABS, 2012).

What does autism look like?

If your child has autism, you may have noticed that s/he experiences difficulties with sensory, social, and communication stimuli. For example, you may have observed the following in your child:

Difficulties with Social Communication and Interaction

  • Difficulties with back and forth conversation;
  • Little expression of emotions, interests or sharing;
  • Failure to initiate or respond to social interactions;
  • Difficulties in nonverbal communication;
  • Lack of eye contact or facial expressions;
  • Difficulties in understanding and using gestures;
  • Difficulties adjusting behaviour to suit social situations;
  • Difficulties making friends.

Restricted and/or Repetitive Patterns of Behaviour

  • Repetitive motor movements;
  • Lining up toys;
  • Ordering items;
  • Insistence on routines;
  • Ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behaviour;
  • Difficulties with change;
  • Rigid thinking patterns;
  • High fixation or strong attachments with objects with unusual intensity;
  • Unusual interest in sensory items;
  • Indifference to pain or temperature;
  • Adverse response to sounds or textures.

In order for a diagnosis to be made, symptoms must be present in the early developmental period and cause significant impairment in social or occupational functioning.

How can I have my child assessed for autism?

If you are interested in having your child assessed for autism, you will need to see a registered psychologist providing this service.

An autism assessment is a comprehensive process; it may include a specialised Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) Assessment and/or a cognitive assessment or IQ test.

Autism Assessment Fees

Fees for an Autism Spectrum Condition Assessment are as follows:

  • An initial appointment for gathering information about your child, covering a range of areas to allow a detailed holistic picture of your child ($220);
  • ADOS Assessment (1-2 hours, $280/hr includes costs of test and specialist’s time);
  • Cognitive Assessment (may not be required) (approximately 1-2 hours, $280/hr);
  • Report ($540);
  • Feedback session ($180);
  • Total fee starting at $1220.

It is a good idea to gather information about your child’s communication, social skills, interests and behaviours across several settings, including both at home and at school, to bring to your initial appointment.

Author: Cassandra Gist, BPsych (Hons), Cassandra Gist Psychologist BrisbaneMPsych, MAPS.

Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist works with clients aged from two years old right through to adulthood. She has a special interest in working with children and their families around the diagnosis and treatment of issues such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist, try Online Booking – Loganholme or Online Booking – Mt Gravatt . Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129, or Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) on (07) 3088 5422.

References:

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)