Diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Receiving a diagnosis for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can feel extremely daunting and open you up to a new world of questions and uncertainties. Thankfully, if you or your loved one have ASD there is a plethora of support available to you in Australia.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), an Australian government initiative, stands as a pivotal source of support and services for people living with disabilities, including those on the Autism spectrum. From assistance with daily living to housing support, you can work with your NDIS planner to pave a way to a brighter future.
The challenge is understanding how to access these supports and services successfully to achieve your best possible outcomes. At Maple, our goal is to ensure you have all the information you need to navigate the complex system of an NDIS autism diagnosis seamlessly without compromising your quality of life.
Will NDIS fund autism diagnosis?
Unfortunately, the NDIS does not initially provide funds to help you obtain an autism diagnosis. To access NDIS funding you will need to provide evidence of a disability diagnosis and the effect it has on you or your loved ones life.
For government funding for disability diagnosis options the Australian government department of social services may be able to help. Alternatively, you can reach out to State and territory disability advocates in your area for more information about assistance with an autism diagnosis, however, obtaining a diagnosis with the help of government funding can take a long time. If you have medicare, your coverage can help you pay for the process and your current healthcare team can help you complete an autism assessment.
Speak with your primary care doctor if you haven’t already. Your GP can then connect you to a specialist who can provide a series of assessments and provide in-depth reports on their findings. You can then bring these reports back to your GP or paediatrician for a formal autism diagnosis which will help you with your ASD NDIS application.
Who is qualified to diagnose autism?
As per NDIS guidelines, it is recommended to acquire an autism diagnosis through a specialist multi-disciplinary team. This team would likely consist of your paediatrician, psychiatrist, or clinical psychologist with experience in assessing Pervasive Developmental Disorders. The diagnosis should be based on the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5) to qualify as a valid diagnosis under the NDIS.
This comprehensive approach, with input from a range of experts, increases the likelihood of obtaining an accurate diagnosis for you or your loved one. Beyond diagnosis, a multidisciplinary assessment plays an important role in developing the most effective and tailored treatment plan to complement your unique situation.
What are the criteria for NDIS autism diagnosis?
The NDIS adopts a compassionate and holistic approach throughout the assessment process. During which the NDIA considers various aspects of your functioning and well-being to determine which supports, if any, will best suit your circumstances. The NDIA will consider the following criteria when deciding your level of support:
- Functional impairment – the NDIS assesses the impact of autism on your ability to perform daily activities independently. This can include areas such as communication, self-care, mobility and learning.
- Permanent and significant disability – To qualify for NDIS support, your diagnosis must indicate a permanent and significant disability. This means that the effects of the disability have a substantial impact on your life.
- Need for ongoing support – The aim of the NDIS is to provide you with ongoing support for as long as you need it. Therefore the assessment considers whether you require support to participate in daily activities, whether at home, school, your workplace or within the community.
- Evidence based diagnosis – An autism diagnosis must be determined by a qualified health professional using recognised diagnostic tools and criteria. The NDIS will require evidence of the diagnosis, including detailed reports from the relevant professionals that were involved in your assessments. These reports must have been completed within the past two years of your NDIS application.
When you apply for NDIS funding, make sure to provide as much accurate information and evidence regarding your disability as possible, as well as the impact it has on you. This ensures that both the NDIA and your support network can make informed decisions to tailor the best possible support for your unique needs.
If you or your loved one have received an autism diagnosis and are looking for support from the NDIS, our friendly and experienced team at Maple Community Services is ready to guide you through the process. Our goal is to empower you with information, ensuring you are in control and well-informed at every stage of your NDIS journey.
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