For a people aged <25 years, referral from a Paediatrician or a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist for an Autism Spectrum Assessment under Medicare will make max 4+4 rebates available.
The referring paediatrician/psychiatrist coordinates the multidisciplinary ASD assessment. They determine what assessments have been completed to-date, conduct or request relevant medical or laboratory tests and specify what allied health (eg speech pathology, occupational therapy and/or psychology) assessments are still required for a reliable diagnosis or no diagnosis. They then write the referral under the relevant Medicare item(s).Medicare rebates apply to the direct observation and/or assessment of the person. Rebates for max 4+4 Autism Spectrum assessment items can be claimed under the age of 25 years.
We offer the following Autism Spectrum assessment services under Medicare:
Additional assessment services are also available as part of a comprehensive multidisciplinary Autism Spectrum assessment but not covered by Medicare:
Medicare rebates do not apply to autism spectrum assessments above the age of 25 years.
Referral from a Psychiatrist for an Autism Spectrum assessment is preferred.
The referring psychiatrist coordinates the multidisciplinary ASD assessment. They determine what assessments have been completed to-date, conduct or request relevant medical or laboratory tests and specify what allied health (eg speech pathology, occupational therapy and/or psychology) assessments are still required for a reliable diagnosis or no diagnosis.
We offer the following Autism Spectrum assessment services:
*If the parent of an adult is not available, their spouse or another close relative or friend, who knows the person well and/or has known the person since childhood, may attend the diagnostic interview.
We also offer these additional assessments that are not diagnostic of ASD but are helpful for the specifications of associated difficulties:
When potential reading difficulties are identified early, it is easier to respond to the problem. Early screening and support can lead to improved learning and reduced emotional distress. Slow learners and potentially dyslexic children can be identified from the age of 5-6 years, in time to arrange for additional reading support in primary and/or secondary school.
The Dyslexia Screening Test (DST) is designed to identify children and adolescents/teenagers who may be 'at risk' of reading difficulties.
Alternatively, including in later years (ie K-12), a small number of subtests from the WIAT can be administered and used to obtain a Dyslexia Index Score indicative of 'risk'.
Prior to formally assessing for specific learning difficulties, it is essential that the person has received a period of additional academic support targeting those difficulties.
*It is important to note that Reading Recovery does not count as evidence-based explicit instruction for reading difficulties.
Following such a period of additional support, the formal assessment process has 2 components:
(1) a cognitive assessment (WISC or WAIS) to exclude intellectual disability and to identify strengths and weaknesses in the person's cognitive profile; if a cognitive assessment was completed in the past it may not be necessary to re-administer it - please discuss with the assessing psychologist
(2) an achievement test (WIAT) to identify strengths and weaknesses in academic/learning domains: eg reading, spelling, maths.
The assessments require two separate appointments, usually on the same day, with a long lunch break in between.
The assessment results are used to establish if there are significant and 'unexpected' differences between the person's cognitive abilities versus their learning achievements. These are usually very specific areas: it can be a single area or there can be multiple areas of specific learning difficulties.
If a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disorder is required, we then also take developmental history, obtain school/teacher reports, consider the results of other standardised tests (eg NAPLAN, On Demand, Edutest, etc) and consult current diagnostic criteria (eg DSM or ICD).
Finally we write a comprehensive assessment report that serves as evidence of these learning difficulties.
This is a time consuming and therefore expensive process that is not subsidised by Medicare.
Some schools and/or agencies are able and happy to fund these assessments as a third party because the assessment results inform their service provision, including additional, individualised and targeted support.
We conduct these assessments locally, in our Shepparton clinic. Further afield, in Melbourne, SPELD Victoria also conduct these assessments, using a similar process.
In adulthood, ADHD is often assessed by a team of professionals with training and expertise in ADHD. Medicare rebates are not available for ADHD assessments.
This multidisciplinary team of professionals often includes:
For an adult ADHD assessment, it is recommended that you first meet with your GP and discuss available referral pathways. Some psychiatrists prefer to conduct their own assessments, while some will request, accept, and incorporate assessments conducted by a psychologist.
Following assessment and diagnosis, a GP referral & Mental Health Plan, or a psychiatrist referral, will make Medicare rebates available under the Better Access to Mental Health Services initiative.