What is Autism Spectrum Disorder ?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder commonly diagnosed in early childhood. All children with ASD are unique, although parents often notice that their child has challenges in how they communicate socially and has a narrow range of interests and behaviours.  Our psychologists can assist you with assessment and treatment as outlined below.

Diagnostic Assessment

Benchmark Psychology provides a range of diagnostic assessment services for autism.  As a parent, you are the expert on your child and are an essential part of this process. Assessments include talking with you about your child’s abilities and challenges, and observing your child to assess their behaviour against the criteria for ASD. There are four options for assessment depending on your needs. We understand that this process can be confusing , so if you are unsure of your requirements, please contact our reception and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Where do I start ?

If you are worried that your child has ASD, we suggest families start by visiting their GP to talk through the service options. If you would like to access rebates on assessment sessions, you will need to visit your child psychiatrist or paediatrician for a referral. We also offer a single-session ASD Initial Screener to start you on the right track if you are unsure.

Do I need a referral ?

No, families can self-refer to Benchmark Psychology for a Diagnostic Assessment. However, you will not be able to claim Medicare rebates without a referral from a child psychiatrist or paediatrician.

Is there a rebate available?

Yes, families who are referred for an assessment service by a paediatrician or child psychiatrist can access Medicare rebates through the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) program. A rebate of $84.80 is available for up to four diagnostic or assessment sessions and can all be used on the same day if required.

What is the ADOS-2?

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule is used to assess and diagnose ASD. The assessment is completed in a single session (40-60 minutes) with the child and a trained clinician. The assessment includes tasks such as make-believe and interactive play, conversations and story-telling, emotions and social difficulties.

Who can diagnose ASD?

Most support and education services need a diagnosis of ASD from a Paediatrician or Child Psychiatrist. These professionals combine information from a range of medical, neurological, and psychological assessments. Diagnostic assessments provided by Benchmark Psychology are an important piece of this puzzle, though do not provide a standalone diagnosis.

What do I get from the assessment?

All the diagnostic assessment options provide you with a written report. It is strongly recommended you keep the original and make copies of this report as it may be required in the future to help your child access funding and intervention services. A copy of this report is also provided to your child specialist who will make the formal diagnosis.

Developmental Assessment Package

This package may include additional assessments by an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, and/or psychologist. The assessment package is tailored to each individual, to offer families the most helpful and cost effective assessment to meet their needs. Find out more about the Developmental Assessment Package.

Does Benchmark provide ASD treatment?

Yes, our clinicians can provide interventions for children, adolescents, and adults with ASD. These options range from behavioural modification and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to social skills training and emotion management. We also provide support for parents of children with ASD. Find out more about our team of clinicians here.

Dr Grace Lynam (née Sweeney) - Clinical Psychologist

Grace Sweeney PsychologistGrace is a clinical psychologist with a real passion for helping kids with autism spectrum disorders.  Prior to becoming a psychologist, Grace worked as an ABA support therapist and has had a long involvement with the autism community of Queensland.  Grace currently offers both assessment and treatment of children with ASD at Benchmark Psychology.  When not at Benchmark, Grace facilitates home-based Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) programs for children.

Grace is also a certified facilitator of both the Triple-P program and the Secret Agent Society program. Grace is also trained and certified to administer the ADOS-2.

ADOS-2 Test Kit

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule is considered one of the "gold standard" tests for Autism Spectrum Disorders.  The observation must be conducted using standardised materials and can only be conducted by a highly trained professionals who has also done advanced training is the Administration of this test.