Comprehensive Autism Assessments for Children

Do any of the following resonate with you?

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  • My child really focuses on a certain subject and wants to talk about it….a LOT!
  • Finds it hard to read non-verbal social cues, such as body language or tone of voice.
  • Has trouble making and using eye contact.
  • Has few, no friends or is often on the outer of their social group?
  • Uses speech in unusual ways. For example, speaking in a monotone, with an accent, or in a very proper and formal way, or not at all.
  • Prefers solo play, rather than joining in with others.
  • Engages in repetitive behaviour and gets upset if routines are not followed.
  • Is sensitive to sensory experiences, for example refusing to wear “scratchy” clothes, hates loud noises, is fussy with food or textures and can become very overwhelmed by sensory overload.
  • May make unusual body movements or sounds.
  • Every child is unique and your child may not display all of these signs. You may recognise many of the traits listed above in your child, or just a few.

    Why Assess Autism in Children?

    At Thriving Minds Psychology, we recognise that early intervention is key. Our tailored Autism assessments for children provide a crucial foundation for understanding your child’s strengths, challenges, and developmental pathways. These assessments offer an essential roadmap, enabling you to make informed decisions about interventions, therapies, and educational support that align with your child’s individual needs.

    About Childhood Autism

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition, and is reported to be currently impacting approximately 1 in 150 people in Australia. Early detection of autism significantly improves the quality of life for the child, and provides valuable guidance for their parent(s), family, friends, and teachers.

    As children transition through milestones, such as kindergarten and school, parents and/or educators may notice differences in some aspects of the child’s development. While some milestones are easy to identify, others are more challenging. If you are concerned that your child is having difficulty performing everyday tasks and/or not meeting the expected developmental milestones, an autism assessment may be recommended.

    Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often report a range of difficulties and challenges that they encounter in their daily lives. It’s important to note that the experiences can vary widely from one family to another and depend on the severity of the child’s ASD. Here are some examples of difficulties commonly reported by parents:

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    Autistic traits your child might experience:

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    Social and play skills

    • Limited, or lack of interest in, social interactions with peers
    • Lack of, or restricted, eye contact
    • Unusual obsessions/fixations with specific activities, objects, or topics
    • Repetitive or rigid play, and/or limited cooperative play
    • Difficulty with social conversation or making friends
    • Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
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    Communication and language

    • Speech and language difficulties
    • Challenges with non-verbal communication
    • Lack of response to sounds or pictures
    • Not using gestures or pointing
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    Learning and daily routines

    • Difficulty learning, and adapting to new things
    • Difficulty developing independence in daily routines, such as dressing, feeding self, and toileting
    • A high level of frustration and tantrums/meltdowns, occurring more often or lasting longer than expected
    • Intense reactions to sensory input, such as sounds, lights, touch, etc.
    • Difficulty adapting to changes in daily routine

    How Can Autism Assessments Help?

    Parents and carers often report complex emotions and transformative experiences upon receiving an Autism diagnosis for their child. Assessing your child for Autism is a journey of growth, acceptance, and learning that leads to a deeper understanding of your child’s strengths and challenges.

    What parents say about our child & adolescent autism assessments:

    “When we finally got the diagnosis, it was like a puzzle piece falling into place. We could understand our child’s unique journey better and start finding the right support”

    “We felt a whirlwind of emotions – confusion, sadness, but also a determination to give our child all the love and tools they need to thrive.”
    “Understanding that our child’s brain works differently has taught us so much about acceptance and the importance of embracing neurodiversity.”
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    What does an Autism assessment at Project Wellbeing involve?

    At Project Wellbeing, our highly skilled team of professionals are internationally trained and accredited in the USA & UK to conduct Autism assessments. Our Psychologists work in a flexible and individualised way to address any concerns you may have about your child.

    Project Wellbeing offers a fee-for-service model, so you can skip the waitlist and get the information you need sooner. We are flexible and can offer payment plans. Please contact our friendly admin team for further information regarding cost.

    Initially, we ask you to come along for a Parent only Consultation. In this session, your Psychologist will discuss the concerns you have about your child and really take the opportunity to get to know your child’s history to ensure the most appropriate assessment package is recommended.

    Following this, our Autism assessment package is outlined below:

    The Child & Adolescent Autism Assessment Process:

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    Step 1: Parent only Initial Interview (2-3hrs)

    In this session, your psychologist will conduct an in-depth Parent only Interview with you. You will be asked for details about your child’s development with a particular focus on ages 4-5. It could be helpful to bring your child’s “Blue Book” to this appointment. As this is a parent-only session we ask that you arrange care for your child.

    Step 2: Child Autism Assessment (1hr)

    Next a Child Autism Assessment is carried out. This is an interactive session which allows the psychologist to really get to know your child. For younger children a parent or carer is required to attend this session with the child.

    Step 3: Cognitive Assessment (2hrs)

    Then we conduct a cognitive assessment to explore the way that your child learns, so we can tailor recommendations for teachers on how best to harness your child’s strengths, and support identified challenges in their learning, regardless of if Autism is present or not. This is a child only session but please stay close by (in the waiting room, at the cafe etc) so you can be contacted should they complete the assessment early.

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    Step 5: Case Consultation

    The Psychologist will then reach out to your child’s teacher and any other health professionals involved with your child as this is an important part of assessing and diagnosing Autism. Neither you nor your child are required to do anything at this stage.

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    Step 5: Comprehensive Report

    The Psychologist will then take a deep dive, spending many hours reviewing your child’s results. They will then formulate your written report and recommendations. We will then provide 2 reports. One for you as the family and one for your child’s school or kinder. In this report we don’t include your personal background information – we only include your child’s results and recommendations on how they can best support your child moving forward but you will receive the full comprehensive report.

    Step 6: Feedback Session (1hr)

    The final step in the Assessment package is a feedback session. Here your psychologist will go through the results and report with you, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. Please note, we are unable to release reports without the feedback session taking place. You will be able to discuss next steps to make sure you are on the right path after the assessment. You may also wish to schedule an additional feedback session with your child’s school – please contact reception for more information on costs and availability.

    How do I get started?

    At Project Wellbeing  we strive to meet the needs of our clients by offering quality services by qualified and well-supported Psychologists.

    You do not require a referral to book an assessment at our practice.

    If you are ready to get started, fill in the enquiry form below and our friendly admin team will be in touch to discuss your next steps.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Do I need a GP Referral?

    No, families can self-refer to for any assessment.

    Can I receive a Medicare rebate?

    To be eligible for Medicare rebates, a referral is needed from a pediatrician or Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, under the Helping Children with Autism Package (HWCA). GP referrals are not applicable. This referral entitles the child rebates for 4 assessment sessions that are shared across other professionals involved in your child’s assessment (e.g. Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Psychologist). Your paediatrician or psychiatrist will need to have seen you at least twice before they can make a referral for an assessment under HWCA. Rebates are only available for sessions where the child is present. Some private health providers may provide potential rebates for psychological assessments – please enquire with your private health fund to determine if you are eligible. Your paediatrician will need to have seen you at least twice before they can make a referral for an assessment under HWCA.

    Do you accept NDIS referrals?

    For those who are self-managed or plan-managed NDIS clients, please check with your support coordinator regarding utilising your NDIS funds for psychological assessment.

    What can I expect from an Autism assessment?

    An Autism assessment can help you further understand your child, and provide insight into how their unique mind works. An assessment will help you rule out whether your child has autism or if there is another area of their skills that may be developing slower than expected. Diagnostic Autism assessments can help those involved in the child’s life – families, teachers, GPs, paediatricians, and carers – to understand their individual differences and allow parents to put the right long-term strategies in place to help their child thrive.

    What do I tell my child about the Autism assessment?

    Before the assessment, we recommend you tell your child that they are coming to see someone who is going to do some fun activities including puzzles, games and pretend play (to observe your child’s behaviour, social skills and communication). Avoid describing the appointment as a test or assessment as this can make some children feel anxious.

    How can Autism Assessments help my child?

    Parents and carers often report complex emotions and transformative experiences upon receiving an Autism diagnosis for their child. Assessing your child for Autism is a journey of growth, acceptance, and learning that leads to a deeper understanding of your child’s strengths and challenges.

    Does my child need to attend the initial and feedback sessions?

    Following best practice guidelines, all of our assessment options start with a parent-only intake session followed by an in-depth parent interview. In these sessions, the clinician will ask you questions around your child’s abilities, challenges, and developmental history. Both these parent sessions will allow you to learn more about the assessment procedure, and ensure that we tailor the assessment sessions specifically to your child’s individual needs. It is therefore important that you arrange appropriate care for your child to enable you to attend these sessions uninterrupted.

    Do both parents need to be at the initial session?

    Where possible information from both parents is preferred (as they can have different experiences with the child), however it is appreciated that this is not always possible.

    Why do we have multiple sessions throughout the assessment?

    It is not possible to complete the intake parent consultation, in-depth parent interview, child assessment sessions, case consultation, report writing and feedback altogether. Following the initial parent consultation, clinicians will determine which assessment tools will be most appropriate. Assessment slots are tailored to ensure children are not getting fatigued. Feedback sessions are required to be minimum three – four weeks following the last assessment session to allow sufficient time for clinicians to score, interpret and write a comprehensive report in preparation for your feedback session.

    Should my child take their medication before the assessment session?

    This information needs to be discussed with the clinician during the parent intake session.

    Do I need to be there during the child assessment sessions?

    No, unless specified by the clinician during the intake, parents are not required during the assessment session. ​Depending on the assessment package and the child’s age, your child will then be required to attend a separate testing session which is undertaken without the parent in the room. We ask that you do not leave your child unattended and either wait in the waiting room or go for a walk to a nearby cafe/shop where you can be contacted to return to collect your child should they complete the assessment in less than the allocated time.

    My child wears glasses. Do they need to wear them during the assessment?

    Yes

    How long will the report take?

    In most circumstances the report is not given at the feedback session. Reports usually take one week to complete, following the feedback session.

    Why do assessments cost so much?

    Psychological assessments are very lengthy and in-depth processes that must be taken very seriously. In most instances we find that the assessment takes far more time than the quoted price. At Project Wellbeing we always honour the price quoted regardless of how long it takes to deliver the final report. The fee for an assessment does not just cover the time spent in the consultation room. There is a great deal that goes into an assessment behind the scenes that contributes to the cost. This includes: data entry and analysis, interpretation of tests, report writing, consultation with other stakeholders and costs associated with the purchasing of assessment and test material.

    Can my child continue to access therapy after the assessment?

    Yes, our clinicians can provide interventions for children and adolescents experiencing a range of developmental, social, emotional, or behavioural difficulties. These options range from behavioural modification and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to social skills training and emotion management. We also provide support for parents.

    Make an Enquiry

    To find out more or make an appointment please call us on (02) 9136 0481 or fill in the contact form.