Projects Disability ServicesMental HealthSocial Services

Evaluation of the reach and uptake of the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Projects Disability ServicesMental HealthSocial Services

Evaluation of the reach and uptake of the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Projects Disability ServicesMental HealthSocial Services

Evaluation of the reach and uptake of the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Services

    Evaluation & Advisory

  • Status

    Current

  • Client

    Australian Government Department of Social Services

  • Jurisdiction

    Australia

The National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (the Guideline) is the first unified approach to the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia.

Community survey open now

AHA want to hear from the community to find out if many people know about the Guideline resources for the community, and if they have been useful.

The community survey is open to anyone aged 18 or over who has been assessed for autism themselves, or cares for a child who has. We would also like to hear from people who are thinking about organising an autism assessment for themselves or a child they care for.

The survey is open now and will close at 11:59 pm on Monday, 31 January 2022.

Follow this link to find out more and take the survey.

About the Guideline

In 2014, a review of diagnostic practices for autism noted substantial variability across Australia, and suggested that this was likely to contribute to inequities in access to required health, education and disability supports. This review provided the impetus for the development of the Guideline, which was published in 2018.  The Guideline was developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) with funding from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The Guideline outlines processes for both diagnostic decision-making and comprehensive assessment of individual support needs. The Guideline describes a step-by-step process for assessing autism concerns, from the time of referral until the assessment results are shared in a written report.

Implementation activities are underway to support health professionals and services to align their practice with the Guideline.

Evaluation of the Guideline reach, uptake and impact

The department has engaged AHA to evaluate the reach, uptake and impact of the Guideline.

The evaluation will involve a desktop review of publicly available peer-reviewed and grey literature, analysis of web analytics data for the Autism CRC website, and consultation with stakeholders including:

  • a survey and focus groups with health professionals (paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers, nurses and general practitioners)
  • a community survey for people on the autism spectrum, people who are undergoing or have undergone assessment, their families and carers, and other people considering autism assessment
  • interviews with autism sector stakeholders.

Findings from this evaluation will help the government to strengthen supports and resources for health professionals to access and apply the Guideline in their context, and to create awareness of the Guideline approach for people on the autism spectrum and their families and carers. Findings from this evaluation may also feed into the National Health and Medical Research Centre’s (NHMRC) review of its endorsement of the Guideline (scheduled for 2023).

For more information, please email autism.guideline@ahaconsulting.com.au

'Autism is a condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. It is a lifelong disability that starts when a person is born and stays with them into old age.' - Aspect Australia