Autism Assessments at Nurture Allied Health SA are currently only conducted by our autistic founder who received her autism diagnosis in adulthood (#ActuallyAutistic). Pulling from her lived experience and passion for the Neurodiversity movement, Vanessa aims to provide neuroaffirming and strength-based approaches to both the assessment process and reporting.
Autism Assessments here at Nurture are available to both children and adults. Face to face assessments are available from either our Beulah Park or Salisbury clinic here in Adelaide. Tele-health assessments are also available for individuals living interstate. Please note that tele-health assessments might not be suitable for everyone - please contact the clinic at 08 8102 4209 to speak to Vanessa regarding suitability.
The MIDGAS-2, the most neuroaffirming autism diagnostic tool currently available, will be used during the assessment process.
Questionnaires will be sent out to parents/caregivers as well as any therapy/childcare/school setting the child is attending to gain information around their presentation. These questionnaires need to be completed prior to the 2 hour (3 if required) appointment.
During the first half of the appointment, a clinical interview is conducted with parents/caregivers using a screening questionnaire. Details of your child's Developmental History will be recorded. In the second half of the appointment, the diagnostician will spend time working directly with your child. An additional community-based observation session may be needed in order to gain an accurate representation of your child.
A feedback appointment is then conducted, on a different day, where the outcome of the assessment is discussed and any plans for future work are also raised. Feedback may include suggestions for referrals to other practitioners.
Questionnaires will be sent out to gain information around your concerns, needs and presentation. These questionnaires need to be completed prior to the 2 hour appointment.
During the 2-hour appointment, a clinical interview is conducted using a screening questionnaire. You are invited to bring someone with you to this session should you wish. This could be a partner, other family member, or someone else who is very familiar with the individual to this session. Details of your Developmental History will be recorded. During the 2-hour appointment there is a 30-minute break taken in the middle. Most clients go for a walk or to a local coffee shop during this time. This helps relax people and improves the accuracy of the assessment by reducing test fatigue.
A feedback appointment is conducted, on a different day, where the outcome of the assessment is discussed and any plans for future work are also raised. Feedback may include suggestions for referrals to other practitioners.
According to Australia's National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism published by Autism CRC in 2018, a multidisciplinary approach assessment by qualified professionals (Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists or Paediatricians) is recommended. The guideline states that single diagnostic assessments should only be completed by a clinical psychologist.
Therefore, along with a second opinion by a trained diagnostician, Vanessa's assessment report can be used to support your child's application to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
It is important to note that the National Disability Insurance Agency dictates eligibility and may require further evidence (such as functional capacity assessments) in order to determine if your child is eligible to receive NDIS supports.
Autism Assessments here at Nurture are open to both children and adults. Face to face assessments are available from either our Beulah Park or Salisbury clinic here in Adelaide. Tele-health assessments are also available for individuals living interstate. Please note that tele-health assessments might not be suitable for everyone - please contact the clinic at 08 8102 4209 to speak to Vanessa regarding suitability.
Vanessa is a trained MIDGAS-2 diagnostician.
Unlike other tests for identifying autism, the MIGDAS is an interview process that encourages evaluators to follow the agenda of the individual to explore that individua's sensory-driven worldview as the individual plays with toys and discusses preferred topics with a group of adults. It is a method that involves dynamic interaction between the evaluators and the individuals. The sensory toys and topics used will vary depending on the individual's particular interests.
With the MIGDAS, the evaluators gather systematic, descriptive information about the child in three key areas: language and communication, social relationships and emotional responses,and sensory use and interests. The descriptive profile of the individual's traits can be compared to those typically seen in autistic and allistic children (children who are not autistic).
Most tests require the individual to conform to the agenda of the evaluators. Some individuals with autism are adept at following adult prompts and may not show enough of their underlying traits in standardized test situations.
Standardised autism evaluation measures, such as the ADOS, provide important information that helps evaluators recognise the pattern of traits associated with autism. However, because the presentation of the presses or tasks is standardised, the examiners set the agenda and the child is required to follow the agenda of the adults. As a result, many times not enough of an individualized profile emerges and it becomes difficult to describe the individual child in an authentic and unique way. The emphasis is placed on the quantitative scoring criteria and subtle details about the child’s responses are lost. Many times, evaluators may feel that they are left with a score but not with a sample of behaviour that captures the child’s unique agenda and way of organising information when relating to the world.
Using a sensory-based diagnostic interview with young children allows evaluators to experience the child’s natural drive for sensory-driven play. The process helps assess how difficult it is for the child to participate in social communication exchanges in a way that is not as inherently possible when administering standardised autism evaluation measures.