Autism Spectrum Disorder

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that sits on a spectrum of severity from that which requires low-level support to severe difficulties that require very substantial support. Autism is present in the early developmental period and is characterised by restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities, and deficits in social communication, which cause a significant impairment in functioning.It is important that children with Autism receive early intervention with appropriate assessment and treatment by properly trained professionals. Our Kids Clinic in Woonona is able to provide expert clinical assessment and treatment to children who are on, or are suspected of being on, the Autism spectrum.

Dr Nick Marsden conducts comprehensive Autism assessments using the gold standard assessment measures: The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) and The Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI-R). He will provide a thorough assessment and will provide a written report with diagnosis and recommendations for future treatment.

Dr Nick is also a part of a local multidisciplinary assessment team for Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disorders. This team consists of a paediatrician, clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist, and is called CHAMPS (Childhood Autism Multidisciplinary Professional Service. This is a service for the difficult to diagnose developmental disorders and the referral pathway is through a paediatrician.

Pathway to assessment

A referral from a paediatrician or child psychiatrist for an autism assessment is recommended, as this will allow for a Medicare rebate on the assessment (valued up to $339.20). See your GP for a referral to a paediatrician or child psychiatrist.

*Please note that a referral is not required; however, it is recommended. Your GP may recommend you attend an initial assessment with the psychologist first before a referral to a paediatrician or child psychiatrist is given. This may assist with consideration of the appropriateness for the Autism Assessment Service.

Assessment process

The comprehensive assessment involves four hours of assessment (only initial two hours with child) with a comprehensive report and recommendations for intervention and follow-up.

The assessment consists of:

1.     Initial interview with parents and child to listen to current concerns and take developmental history

2.     Administration of the ADOS-2 with child

3.     Administration of the ADI-R with parent/s only (child need not be present from when this part begins)

4.     Concluding interview with parents

 

Following the assessment, a comprehensive report will be written and sent to the referring paediatrician/child psychiatrist and GP. A copy of this report will also be provided to you for your records.

 

A follow-up session will be scheduled to provide feedback reqarding the assessment and to discuss treatment recommendations. This will be charged at as an individual psychological session and if there is a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan in place will attract a Medicare rebate as well.

 

Costs

The total cost for the assessment of Autism is $1200. This includes the four hours of assessment, use of assessment measures and questionnaires, and provision of a report. A Medicare rebate may be applicable if a valid referral from a paediatrician is provided and they have activated Medicare items 110 through to 131 under the Helping Children With Autism initiative. If a follow-up session is required for feedback and treatment planning then this will accrue additional fees as per the standard billing rates for psychologists/clinical psychologists.

 

Government funding is available through the National Disability Insurance Scheme for children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

 

Treatment

There are various approaches to treatment of autism related difficulties. All of our treatments are evidence based and are developed and individually tailored to the individual needs of the child and family. For further information on treatments, read about the Early Start Denver Model as an example for helping children on the autism spectrum.