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Diagnostic Assessment: The Process

Autism SA provides comprehensive multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessments for individuals of all ages.  The assessments are conducted by Psychologists and Speech Pathologists with expertise in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). 

ASD is a term used to describe a lifelong disorder that effects how an individual develops across several areas compared to other individuals the same age or developmental level.  The key areas investigated and considered when diagnosing ASD are persistent impairments in social communication and social interaction together with restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities.  The presentation of ASD varies considerably depending on factors such as an individual’s cognitive ability, age, communication skills and personality.  No two individuals with ASD are the same.

Assessments involve a team of experienced professionals gathering information from all relevant and available sources, interaction with and observation of the individual being assessed and careful consideration of all the data in light of international diagnostic criteria (DSM5).  Assessments may be conducted by a team of professionals in one setting or over a period of time by several professionals in different settings

Early diagnosis is preferable, but a diagnosis at any age will help individuals, their families and professionals recognise and understand the needs of the individual with ASD and assist with developing supports to optimise their potential.

In brief

  • a multidisciplinary assessment is undertaken
  • Consultation by the two professionals, namely a Psychologist and a Speech Pathologist, to agree to the presence or absence of meeting DSM-5 criteria.
  • If the Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis is positive then referral to appropriate intervention services and including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)  for an application for inclusion in the scheme. NB: The NDIS roll out in SA is determined by age cohort
  • If the Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis is negative but there are other developmental deficits identified by the professionals then refer to NDIS for an application for  inclusion to the scheme.

If you have any questions regarding the diagnostic process, please do not hesitate to contact Info Line 1300 288 476



Since October 2018, Adelaide Primary Health Network (PHN) has been working with Autism SA and Adelaide Paediatrics on the Paediatric Partnership – Southern/Central Project. This 2 year project has focused on assisting children on existing wait lists to receive assessments for autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay sooner than they otherwise would have. The current project with Autism SA is now ending and a new project lead by Adelaide PHN will commence later in 2020 with a focus on hospital child development units, a particularly important focus given COVID-19 has further lengthened these existing wait lists. Autism SA continues to offer autism diagnostic assessments to families referred to Autism SA on 1300 288 476 or