Who can diagnose?
It’s vital to get a full assessment and diagnosis from a qualified and reliable professional or team of professionals using proper assessment tools. A professional who is willing to rule in or rule out something like autism with only a cursory appointment is not following the recommended diagnostic protocol.
According to the NDIS autism should be diagnosed by “a specialist multi-disciplinary team, paediatrician, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist experienced in the assessment of Pervasive Developmental Disorders, and assessed using the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V)”
While the diagnostic criteria for autism under the DSM-5 are consistent across Australia, the diagnostic process has not been. In late 2018 the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Australia was released. The guidelines aim to provide a consistent approach for autism assessment and diagnosis across the country, relieving stress, confusion and lengthy delays for individuals on the spectrum and their families.
So, where can you go for an assessment?
There are both government funded and private services available. Wait time for government funded services can be quite lengthy, so we recommend where possible not to wait and access the assessment services of a private centre or clinician.
You can find a list of all the government funded diagnostic services here
You can find a list of all NDIS approved private assessment providers in your state via the NDIS website.
You can also contact your state-based autism association who may provide assessment services or can point you in the direction of local clinics and services. We’ve listed the state-based organisations below
State autism organisations
Adult assessment & diagnosis
For young adults/adults seeking an assessment and diagnosis the best course of action is to meet with a psychologist and/or psychiatrist who has a deep understanding of autism and experience with the formal assessment and diagnosis process. That process is likely going to include a lot of questions about your childhood and school years, as well as experiences as an adult. As part of the assessment, there will likely be some psychological or psychiatric testing conducted.
To locate a qualified professional near you, please check out the following links: