Psychology and Allied Health Services

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Assessment

How do we assess for an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? 

At Minding Family Townsville, we have skilled clinicians trained in assessing for an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Although a formal diagnosis in Queensland needs to be verified by a Paediatrician / Psychiatristwe complete a comprehensive battery of assessment tools to provide as much evidence as possible to better inform a potential diagnosis of an ASD or other concerns such as Learning Disorders, Intellectual Impairment, and / or an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). 


 What does the assessment process look like? 

We would initially complete a comprehensive developmental intake assessment.  For a child or adolescent this would be with the parents, where we ask questions about the child’s development and behaviours from early childhood to present day. You may also have been asked to complete questionnaires regarding your child.  After first meeting with the child we will then administer our battery of assessments over separate sessions with the child.  For an adult, we would complete a similar intake assessment but also call on partners or family to help gather the information about the individual’s progress through life. 

Central to the assessment process is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2), a standardised semi-structured assessment tool that can identify specific ASD traits and symptoms in children, adolescents and adults. The ADOS is made up of four different modules, each designed to give the most appropriate test for an individual at a certain age or level of functioning.  

The test consists of constructed scenarios, some play based (depending on age) and conversation topics (again depending on age and verbal ability) for the individual to participate in, and their responses are evaluated using a standardised scoring system. Typically, the ADOS-2 will have one person administering the assessment itself and one observer who pays close attention to responses and behaviour during testing.  Both the administrator and the observer then later convene to discuss and compare observations. 

ASD rarely exists in a vacuum.  Often an individual will be experiencing other difficulties subsequent to a potential ASD diagnosis. Therefore, we may also administer one or more of the following tests, depending on the individual’s age, verbal abilities and difficulties experienced: 

  • Cognitive Ability Assessment (depending on age and verbal abilities) 
  • An Academic / Learning based Assessment (Achievement Test) 
  • A Neuropsychological Assessment for learning / processing / attentional strengths or difficulties 
  • Sometimes a visit to an individual’s school is organised to view them in a busy setting with peers rather than just within the quiet one on one testing setting 
  • An Adaptive Behaviour Assessment questionnaire – to measure everyday functioning 
  • Selected Evidence Based Questionnaires 


 The scores and information from the various sources/tests are then integrated and interpreted, along with the important clinical observations and experiences observed throughout the process.  From here a clinical recommendation for a diagnosis (or not) is made. 

At the end of this process the assessor reports back their findings to you in a feedback session.  You will be shown what has been measured, and what the different scores mean.  You will also be given a comprehensive report with results, interpretations, and recommendations that may be used in school or in daily life etc.   


Completing an assessment is a big step and can often give rise to many new questions. What are the next steps? What does it mean to have a diagnosis of ASD? Who am I and how do I fit in this world? What are my strengths and how do I use them? Our team at Minding Family Townsville is happy to help, whether you want to start the assessment process or if you have already had assessments completed and are now looking for psychological intervention.  

Contact our friendly staff on (07) 4723 8221 

and we will be happy to discuss referral pathways for you or yours.