Gateways has an expert team that conducts Autism Assessments for children living in the Geelong, Barwon and South West regions aged between 0-6 years of age or prior to school entry and diagnoses children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex disorder that can affect a child’s:
- Social interaction
- Sensory awareness
- Play skills and imagination
- Ability to cope with change.
These characteristics often lead to behaviours such as:
- Rigid adherence to routines
- Fixations on objects or topics (restricted interests)
- Repetitive behaviours.
ASD can have a profound and complicated impact on the most apparently simple everyday activities. The exact cause or causes of ASD are unknown but it is thought that it involves difficulties in how the brain processes information. We do know for certain that ASD is not caused by a lack of love or inadequate parenting skills. There is also increasing evidence that ASD may have some genetic basis. Until recently it was thought that ASD was a relatively rare disorder but in the past 10 years the incidence rate has increased to approximately 1 in every 160 individuals. This may reflect greater understanding and awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder within the community. More information is available from Autism Help
Who conducts an Autism Assessment?
Gateways has an established Autism Assessment Team, which includes psychologists and speech pathologists. These professionals conducted assessments in consultation with the child’s paediatrician.
What does an ASD assessment involve?
An ASD is diagnosed by examining the child’s development and behaviour. Sometimes ASD can be difficult to diagnose so it is important to have a comprehensive assessment to distinguish ASD from a range of other difficulties. An assessment by a paediatrician is required prior to an assessment for ASD in order to rule out other factors including medical conditions that may be affecting the child’s development and behaviour. A hearing assessment may also be required.
If other assessments have also been completed, such as a speech assessment, this information is also considered in making a diagnosis.
Sometimes it is clear from the initial information that the child does not have ASD. If it seems that the child might have ASD, the Gateways Autism Assessment Team will discuss the child’s early development and behaviour with the family.
Information is also gathered about the child’s current development and behaviour to complete a full picture of their day-to-day functioning and interactions in various situations.
Often a specialised assessment is undertaken to determine the child’s range of skills and abilities
All of this information is considered in consultation with the child’s paediatrician before making a decision about whether the child has Autism Spectrum Disorder or some other communication, behavioural or developmental difficulty.
After the assessment, a follow-up session is arranged with the family to: discuss the outcomes of the assessment; provide information; and, discuss available service options.
A written assessment report is then completed and provided to the family. Copies of the report can also be provided to other professionals with the family’s permission.
What can I expect?
At Gateways we recognise that each child and family is unique. We respect the individual needs of families when providing the Autism Assessment service. Gateways aims to provide a high-quality service and family feedback about the process is collected and reviewed each year. Due to resource limits, at this time, there may be a delay until the appointment date. Once a referral is received families are contacted within two weeks.
Referral for an Autism Assessment
To make a referral for this service, please download and complete the Autism Assessment Referral Form below and send it to Gateways Therapy & Inclusion Support Services Manager.
If your child is aged over 6 or at school please contact Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service for further information on arranging an Autism Assessment.
How can I find out more?
For more details about Autism Assessments contact the Gateways Therapy & Inclusion Support Manager.