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  • Lemuel Tan

Autism Assessment: Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule 2nd Edition (ADOS-2)

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

AURE: Psychology, Counselling & Therapy currently provides the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule 2nd Edition (ADOS-2) as part of the assessment of autism. The National Guidelines for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism currently requires several clinicians to be involved in the assessment of autism - psychologist being one of them.

The ADOS-2 allows for the assessment of autism from children as young as 3 years old to adults. You do not need a referral for the autism assessment. The ADOS-2 is only one of the many assessment tools that may be used to assess for autism.

The ADOS 2 is an observational assessment. It is a semi-structured and standardised assessment of communication, social interaction, play, and restricted & repetitive behaviours. It presents various activities that elicit behaviours directly related to a diagnosis of autism. The clinician will observe and code these behaviours, and use the information to inform diagnosis and treatment planning.

The ADOS-2 has five modules that are about 40 to 60 minutes long. The client will only need to complete one module based on their language capacity. For younger children, the ADOS-2 assessment appears as a fun and playful session with various tasks that the child would need to complete. For youth and adult, the assessment typically appears as a conversational experience with the individual requiring to complete certain tasks.

Some of the ADOS-2 testing equipment for children.

The whole autism assessment process has 3 primary parts:

1) Initial Interview: This typically takes about 60-90 minutes. This is to collect relevant background information & allows the clinician to complete a brief screening of autism. If the child is the client, the parent would be present.

2) The assessment(s): Delivery of the ADOS-2 assessment takes about 60 minutes. Other autism assessment may be used instead or in addition depending on the need and clinical appropriateness. The clinician may also contact the school, referring professional and others close to the individual to collect additional information.

3) Feedback: This takes about 60 minutes. The session is to provide you the information from the autism assessment, its findings and recommendations. You will be provided a summary report of the ADOS-2 findings for your doctor, paediatrician or psychiatrist.

The ADOS-2 alone is typically not enough to make a diagnosis. The National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders recommends that the diagnosis is made up by a team of professionals – usually Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Psychologist and Paediatrician/Psychiatrist. This is much welcomed by the Autism community as it affirms the complex nature of autism.

A typical private autism diagnosis assessment would cost between $1500 - $2500. This includes the interview, assessments, feedback and summary report. There may be an additional cost depending on the circumstance and function of the assessment. For individuals under 25 years old, Medicare rebates are available to help cover some of the costs. For this, a paediatrician or child psychiatrist will need to complete a Complex Neurodevelopmental Disorders under Medicare. The medical specialist will need to send the referral through to the assessing clinician. This will enable the client to claim up to 8 assessment services (typically 4+4) per life-time between the eligible allied health professionals (Psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, etc). Some private health insurances do cover autism assessments and it is worth checking this out with your private cover.

If you are concerned that your child has autistic challenges or that you are struggling with autistic challenges, please do not hesitate to contact AURE: Psychology, Counselling & Therapy. I would be more than happy to support you on this journey.

Disclaimer: The material on this blog is not to be used by any commercial or personal entity without expressed written consent of the blog's author. The article above is an opinion of an individual clinician and should not be taken as full clinical advice. The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any mental health or mental illnesses. Always consult your doctor for medical advice or seek professional therapy.

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