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“The most interesting people you’ll find are ones that don’t fit into your average cardboard box. They’ll make what they need, they’ll make their own boxes.” ~ Dr. Temple Grandin


Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that results in neurological (brain structure, function and connectivity) changes that create differences in the way an individual interacts with others, thinks, feels, and experiences the environment around them. An autistic brain style is characterised by differences (not necessarily deficits) in: 1) language and communication style/preferences, 2) social interaction and emotional response, 3) sensory interests, use and perception.  

An autism diagnosis requires thorough information gathering from multiple sources regarding developmental history, in addition to clinical observation, interview and assessment of the person to gain insight into their experience, and identify their strengths and differences that characterise the autistic brain style. While a cognitive assessment is not needed to diagnose autism, adding this can help to identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses to guide support recommendations, particularly when there are experienced functional difficulties. 


Cara offers autism assessments for adults and children over 6 years old in accordance with the National guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in Australia.  Cara tries her best to practice using a neuro-affirmative approach, where assessment is seen as a therapeutic exploration of identity. However, acknowledges she is still learning a lot from the neurodivergent community and reframing her language and practice through additional training, after working for years under a more medical model. It should be noted that many organisational systems require a formal diagnosis to use medical models (i.e. the DSM-5-TR) as a benchmark, and current best practice guidelines indicate a recognised classification system needs to be considered as part of the process.

Please obtain a referral from your GP, paediatrician or psychiatrist, prior to booking in your appointments. We understand that specialists now have a very long wait-times so we can be seen prior to your specialist appointment if you have a GP referral. However, in accordance with the guidelines a medical evaluation must be included in the assessment process.

A comprehensive autism assessment consists of multiple appointments and components including:

  1. Initial consult (1 hour) - here we will take a detailed history, discuss your current concerns, complete some screening questionnaires and book in your assessment appointment(s).

  2. Autism assessment (approximately 3 hours) which includes a structured clinical interview with parent or individual (if adult), observation, questionnaires, and social cognition assessment.

  3. IQ assessment (WISC-V or WAIS-IV) (approximately 1-1.5 hours) 

  4. You can choose to have an add-on of a more comprehensive cognitive assessment if you would like a more comprehensive profile of strengths and weaknesses, including attention, executive function, memory and academic functioning. This is highly recommended if there is potential ADHD or specific learning disorder comorbidities. This would add on approximately 2-3 hours of assessment time.

  5. The comprehensive report will be written following your assessment (minimum 4 hours work depending on referral question and complexity) and provided to the referrer and client approximately 4 weeks post-assessment.

  6. We also recommend clients attend a feedback session (1 hour) to discuss the results and recommendations detailed in the report. 

(*please note if the diagnosis is not clear cut, other health professional assessments may be required for diagnosis, i.e. with paediatrician/psychiatrist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist)

Please contact us if you have any questions. Please see FAQs for pricing structure.

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