Community consultation has now closed
A draft version of the (updated) National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia was released for community feedback from Monday, 17 April 2023 to Monday, 29 May 2023.
Feedback on the draft is currently closed, as Autism CRC is working on developing the final Guideline. You can access the Draft (updated) Guideline and associated documents on this page.
The Draft (updated) Guideline has been prepared over a period of seven months by the 17-member Guideline Development Group.
The Guideline Development Group have systematically reviewed the research evidence engaged in a range of community consultation activities, and followed a structured and transparent process to turn this information into a set of draft (updated) Recommendations and Good Practice Points.
What you will find on this page
From this webpage you will be able to access the following:
- Draft (updated) Guideline – This is the main document, and explains the context for the updated Guideline and 66 Recommendations and Good Practice Points
- Supporting Evidence – This document summarises the evidence supporting the Recommendations in the Draft (updated) Guideline
- Administration and Technical Report – This document describes the steps taken by the Guideline Development Group to develop the Draft (updated) Guideline
- Easy Read version of the Guiding Principles presented in the Draft (updated) Guideline
- Frequently Asked Questions about the update
To stay informed about further updates and releases, register to access the Guidelineupdating your account to subscribe to this resource.
We will notify all users subscribed to the Guideline with further updates and releases.
About the Guideline
The National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia was the first unified approach to the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia. This is the first update of this Guideline.
The Guideline’s purpose, scope, intended audience, and rigorous process through which it has been developed remain unchanged. In 2018, this was the first National Health and Medical Research Council-approved National Guideline relating to autism in Australia, and it presented Recommendations reflecting multiple converging sources of evidence from research, clinical practice, and the views and preferences of the autistic and autism communities.
The 2023 Guideline update combines new evidence and perspectives with those from the original, resulting in revised and new Recommendations where required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Launched in 2018, the Guideline defines clinical best practice in Australia and a new diagnostic standard. It aims to make the practice of assessing and diagnosing autism clearer and more consistent throughout the country so that individuals and their families receive the best possible care.
Autism CRC is committed to ensuring that the Guideline remains up to date so that it continues to be relevant to autistic people, those close to them, and practitioners who are involved in assessment and diagnosis.
The update is being led by a Guideline Development Group, that includes people with diverse perspectives, experience, and expertise. The group includes autistic people, family members, a First Nations professional who is also a parent of an autistic child, an expert in ethics, and clinician-researchers with expertise in Guideline development. The group is diverse in terms of culture, gender, identity, professional and personal expertise, and communication preferences. Read more about the group on the Guideline Development Group page.
The Guideline Development Group has followed the NHMRC process for developing and updating Guidelines, which has so far included:
- Completing a systematic review of research literature, to gather new evidence to inform how assessment and diagnosis should occur. This included looking at evidence regarding the experiences of autistic people, as well as evidence to inform the way assessment and diagnosis can be individualised and improved.
- Engaging in a community consultation process that enabled members of the autistic and autism communities to share views regarding assessment and diagnosis. The community consultation included an online survey and focus groups.
- Synthesising the evidence in relation to existing Recommendations, and making revisions where relevant. The process has involved the use of the internationally respected GRADE methodology for moving from Guideline questions to Recommendations.
- Preparing a Draft of the updated Guideline, as well as documents outlining the methods used (Administration and Technical Report), the evidence for Recommendations (Supporting Evidence), and an easy-read summary of the overarching Principles presented in the Draft updated Guideline.
We are now releasing the Draft (updated) Guideline for Public Consultation. We invite all members of the autistic and autism communities to review the Guideline and supporting documents, and provide feedback if desired. The Guideline Development Group will read and respond to all feedback received, and use it to further inform the update of the Guideline.
The purpose, scope, and target audience of the Guideline has stayed the same, as has the clinical pathway for individuals and families that is recommended.
The Guideline Development Group, having considered all available evidence, has not proposed changes to the tiered approach to diagnostic evaluation or to the qualifications required by practitioners who are directly involved.
The total number of Recommendations is similar, given that some original Recommendations have been combined while new Recommendations have been proposed.
The criteria for determining if a Recommendation should be made is also unchanged. That is, each Recommendation is supported by multiple converging sources of evidence from across the autistic and autism communities.
The Draft (updated) Guideline combines new evidence and perspectives from the last 5 years with those gathered to inform the original Guideline.
The structure and look of the Guideline have changed to reflect international standards, provide readers with more concise recommendations, and to adopt similar formatting across other Autism CRC Guidelines. Although there has been substantial re-organisation, the meaning of the majority of Recommendations is unchanged.
The terminology used to talk about autism has been changed to reflect contemporary community views and preferences. There are also some changes in terminology to further clarify aspects of the assessment and diagnostic process. For example, rather than referring to a ‘Single Clinician Diagnostic Evaluation,’ the updated Guideline refers to a ‘Lead Practitioner Diagnostic Evaluation’ to emphasise the practitioner leads the process but draws on information and evidence from all relevant sources, including involvement of other practitioners.
The way in which Recommendations are ‘graded’ has changed, to align with the international standard GRADE methodology. The new approach will enable readers to consider a range of factors that are relevant to implementing each Recommendation, such as in terms of the certainty of evidence and the likely acceptability to people accessing assessment and diagnostic services and practitioners.
Feedback on the draft is currently closed, as Autism CRC is working on developing the final Guideline.
Autism CRC has produced a range of resources to support clinicians to implement the existing Guideline. These are available on the Clinicians page. To access these resources, register to access the Guideline update your account to subscribe to National Guideline for Assessment and Diagnosis.
These resources continue to be relevant and appropriate for supporting its use in Practice. If the updated Guideline introduces new concepts and Recommendations, the existing resources will be added to over time.
Following the Public Consultation period, the Guideline Development Group will take time to consider and respond to all feedback. It is anticipated that the 2023 Guideline will be launched in late 2023 or early 2024, once all feedback has been considered and the updated Guideline submitted to the National Health and Medical Research Council for consideration.
To stay informed about further updates and releases, register to access the Guidelineupdate your account to subscribe to the National Guideline for Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia.
As you have subscribed to the Guideline, we will notify email you with further updates and releases.