Supporting a child with autism

Autism spectrum disorder can vary considerably from individual to individual, depending on where they are on the spectrum – from low functioning to high functioning. Recent changes to the diagnostic criteria in the new updated  DSM-5 (being released in 2013), where there have been adjustments made to the manual which aims to classify medical conditions.

Why is this important for supporting a child with autism is that previously the medical condition called Aspergers was differentiated from Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) where one of the main features that enabled this classification was that Asperger’s Disorder generally did not demonstrate a language disorder, whereby ASD individuals did demonstrate this.

Typically ASD is identified and diagnosed at a young age when the features presenting are of an obvious nature and may be demonstrating themselves as:

delay or disordered acquisition of language skills

pragmatic-social disorder-typically, children may not seek out social interaction from others.

As ASD is diagnosed from observational ratings and assessments and by ruling out other conditions, the diagnosis is best made from a consortium of specialists that come together to provide an opinion about specific skills and capabilities in the child.

Who is involved in the assessment team?

Depending on the age, children who are demonstrating behaviours and characteristics associated with Autism can be identified early by Kindergarten teachers, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Psychologists.

The usual chain of events is that your General Practitioner will need to make a referral to a Paediatrican (a doctor who specialises in children) who will undertake an assessment, however, will also collate the details provided by other professionals. To save time and streamline the assessment process you can collect your assessments from the following professionals. I have indicated the details of some of the assessments that are typically used to evaluate a child who may be being assessed for a diagnosis of autism.

Speech Pathologist:

Receptive and Expressive language assessment

C.E.L.F.-4/5-Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Fourth Edition (5th Edition-2013)-5 years and above

C.E.L.F.-P-Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool- 2 1/2 years to 5 years

PLS-3-Preschool Language Scale-3rd Edition

Articulation and Phonological assessment



The Psychologist may ask you to complete a parent questionaire or may attend their educational facility to observe them at school or around their peers.

Cognitive assessments



Behavioural scale??to find

Emotional scales??to fiund

Occupational Therapist

Sensori-motor integration assessment


Audiometry and Tympanometry-


Kindergarten or school class teacher

Observation of child in classroom or kindergarten setting. Observations regarding academic performance, communication, language and social skills, behaviour and attention.

What would be the estimated costs for the assessment