What does an Autism Assessment Involve? | MyCareSpace

What does an Autism Assessment Involve?

Boy playing with a bear puppet during his assessment

What does an Autism Assessment Involve?

How long does an Autism assessent take?

An Autism assessment can involve a number of sessions. Each session lasts up to 50 - 60 minutes and involves answering questions, carrying out various tests, including completing questionnaires, relating to the presenting concerns.  

One session will involve an appointment with the child's parent, alone, which may take between one to two hours.

Another aspect of the assessment process may include a home and/or school visit for observation in the child's natural environment.

As part of the comprehensive assessment, intellectual functioning may be assessed.  This can be helpful in identifying a child's strengths and areas where they may require support or modification in his/her learning environment to reach their full potential.  

This component of testing is usually referred to as 'cognitive testing'.


Referrals to a paediatrician and/or other allied health professionals, for example, a speech pathologist may be provided as part of the assessment process.

What assessment tools are used?

These can differ slightly between psychologists, but Liz told us that she uses the Vineland adaptive behaviour scale and also the DSM-V criteria. She also uses the Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised Edition, The Childhood Autism Rating Scale - 2nd Edition (CARS-2) and the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS). 

How to prepare for the assessment

Gather together as much detail, for example previous reports from earlier assessments/test if conducted, and/or school reports.

Carefully observe your child before you go to the assessments, and look at the red flags. Take some notes, for example if your child does point, note how many times a day this happens.

Make notes on any words your child says and how the words are used.

It can be upsetting to do this, but it’s best to be 100% realistic about your child. Don’t paint a better picture or say a behaviour is common if it isn’t.

What will the results of the Autism assessment tell you

An Autism assessment includes a verbal feedback session to discuss the results, including potential diagnoses, and treatment/referral recommendations.

A comprehensive written report including the results from the assessment and treatment planning recommendations is provided. 

Details of your child's assessment are completely confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone, without prior consent.

What evidence do I need to apply for the NDIS?

Autism level 1 and 2 have automatic acceptance into the NDIS scheme. Level 1 requires more evidence.*

Types of disability evidence that can be submitted with an NDIS application (in preference order):

  • Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V)
  • Vineland adaptive behaviour scale (Vineland-II)
  • World Health Organisation disability assessment schedule (WHODAS) 2.0 (17 years and over) or
  • PEDI-CAT (16 years and under)

Note that one of the above is sufficient.

Webinar: Demystifying Autism Assessments

In this one hour webinar, CEO Nicole Gamerov will deep dive into autism assessments with expert guest speaker, Dr. Fiona Aldridge.

Fiona is a clinical psychologist with an interest in developmental disability and the assessment of neurodevelopmental conditions. She has particular experience in the assessment, diagnosis and management of autism and intellectual disabilities. Her research into autism assessment and support has been published in international journals and she has presented at international conferences.

In addition, Fiona is committed to supporting and educating new clinicians to ensure high-quality, evidence-based assessments are available to those who need them. Fiona is the Manager of Aspect’s Assessment service.

Fiona will help you understand some important elements of autism assessments, such as:

  • What is an autism assessment?
  • Who can do autism assessments?
  • What do you require for NDIS access?
  • What is the cost of an autism assessment?
  • Where can I find appointments for autism assessments?

Watch this free webinar

Watch webinar now

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