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

    The Department of Social Services

  • Jurisdiction

    Australia-wide

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.

Health professional survey open now

Paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers, nurses and general practitioners who have a role or an interest in the assessment and diagnosis of autism are invited to participate.

The survey will evaluate the awareness, application and impact of the Guideline and obtain the views of health professionals on issues that may be affecting uptake of the Guideline.

The survey is open now and will close at 11:59 pm on Tuesday 6 July 2021.

Follow this link to find out more information and to access the Survey
Take the survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your Internet browser:
https://austhealthcareassoc.syd1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5C7dKSoQGp41FfE

Community survey open now

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

The 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 Friday 17 September 2021.

Follow this link to find out more information and to access the Survey
Take the survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your Internet browser:
https://austhealthcareassoc.syd1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_79BuY5VBi32x8d8

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.¹ This review provided the impetus for the development of the Guideline, funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), and published in 2018.²

The Guideline outlines processes for both diagnostic decision-making and the 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 of Social Services has engaged AHA to evaluate the reach, uptake and impact of the Guideline.

Consultation with stakeholders includes:

  • a survey and focus groups with health professionals (paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, social workers, nurses and general practitioners)
  • a 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, to evaluate the Guideline community resources (community survey)
  • interviews with autism sector stakeholders.

In addition to consultation, the evaluation will involve a desktop review of publicly available peer-reviewed and grey literature, and analysis of web analytics data related to the download of the Guideline from the Autism CRC website.

The evaluation will be completed by 30 June 2022.

Findings from this evaluation will support government decision-making about opportunities to strengthen supports and resources for health professionals to access and apply the Guideline in their contexts, and 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) scheduled 2023 review of its endorsement of the Guideline.

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

 

References

¹ Taylor et al. 2016

² Whitehouse et al. 2018

* ‘What is Autism?’, as defined by Aspect Australia

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.*