Autism – Who can Diagnose and What You Need to Look For

We are receiving a lot of questions regarding the new guidelines for getting a diagnosis for Autism. The rules around who can diagnose or who is qualified have not changed, but what has changed are the best practice guidelines for a diagnosis, and the criteria a lot of funding bodies (e.g. NDIS & Centrelink) will accept a diagnosis from. The best practice guidelines advise that for a child, a diagnosis will need to come from a Paediatrician, Clinical Psychologist or multi-disciplinary allied team. For an adult, it is a Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatrist or multidisciplinary allied health team.  

What does this mean if you need a diagnosis? 

Most importantly, it is imperative to get a diagnosis from someone who understands Autism. Unfortunately, the degree that most clinicians who can diagnose have, does not go into thorough detail on the process of diagnosing Autism. This usually comes from the experience of working in the field. It is important that you ask your clinician what experience they have in diagnosing Autism.

Another important thing to consider is the cost of the assessment. To see an Allied health team can be quite expensive. A Paediatrician could diagnose in one session, but is unlikely. To get a diagnosis you are looking at attending multiple sessions, at least 2 – 3. One of the most cost-effective ways would be to see a Paediatrician, get a referral to a Psychologist that has experience in Autism (it doesn’t need to be a clinical psychologist), then use the Medicare rebate system see the Psychologist, and finally go back to the Paediatrician to have it signed off.  

Real Therapy solutions can diagnose Autism. We are a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, Behaviour Support Practitioners, Speech Pathologists and Occupational Therapists. We work with several Paediatricians and we can diagnose Adults with Autism as well! However, you will need to go back and get it signed by a Psychiatrist so you may be better off going to a Psychiatrist initially.