Australian Government Department of Social Services
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.
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.
The department engaged AHA to evaluate the reach, uptake and impact of the Guideline.
The evaluation involved 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:
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.
'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