Skip to main content



The extent to which the client perceives a particular service to be appropriate and meets their needs.

Adaptive behaviour

Skills that help people to function in their daily lives, this includes self-care and daily living skills, skills for communicating and relating to others in everyday settings.


The engagement in or performance of a task or action.


The expressed approval of a person to participate in an activity, where that person is not able to give legal consent to participate. In Australia, consent for children (under 18 years of age) to receive supports is generally provided by parents.

Augmentative and alternative communication

Communication by means other than talking, to support both comprehension (understanding) and expression. ‘Augmentative’ means to add to someone’s speech, and ‘alternative’ means to be used instead of speech.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (often referred to as autism or ASD) is the collective term for a group of neurodevelopmental conditions characterised by persistent difficulties in social-communication and interaction, and by restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities and/or sensory behaviours. The behavioural features that characterise autism are often present before 3 years of age, but may not become apparent until the school years or later in life. While these features can vary widely in nature and level between individuals, and in the same individual over time, there is evidence that autistic behaviours endure into adult life, though the impacts may change across the lifespan. A range of developmental, mental, and physical health conditions regularly co-occur with autism, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disability, epilepsy, gastrointestinal issues, sleep disorders, language disorders, motor difficulties, and mental health problems. These co-occurring conditions, in conjunction with the core autism characteristics, can create significant barriers to a person’s ability to function independently in his or her environment, with longer-term implications for educational and vocational attainment and wellbeing.

Autism community

The community of parents, partners, and family members of autistic people, along with practitioners and other community members who seek to support autistic people.

Autistic community

The community of autistic people.

Autism CRC

A collaborative research organisation that is focused on autism across the lifespan, and is an independent national source of evidence for best practice. Autism CRC funded the development of this Guideline. Autism CRC’s website is:


The term ‘client’ is used to refer to the individual accessing assessment and/or diagnostic services and any family and family-like people who are directly involved in supporting them.

Clinical supervision

A professional, and often contractual, relationship in which a typically more experienced supervisor provides guidance to a practitioner on aspects of ethical and professional practice.

Consensus-Based Recommendation

Key elements of practice that must be followed for a practitioner to deliver evidence-based supports.


A person’s agreement, based on adequate knowledge and understanding of relevant material, to participate in an activity.

Community consultation

Refers to research activities undertaken by the Guideline Development Group to gather evidence from the autistic and autism communities to inform the development of the Guideline.

Draft Recommendations Working Group (DRWG)

The nine members of the Guideline Development Group who led the analysis of the information collected through the research and community consultation activities to develop Recommendations and make Evidence to Decision judgments. The members were Nicole Dargue, Emma Goodall, Emma Hinze, Rhylee Sulek, David Trembath, Kandice Varcin, Hannah Waddington, Andrew Whitehouse, and Rachelle Wicks.

Evidence to Decision (EtD) framework

A research method that is part of the GRADE framework, that guides Guideline developers to use evidence in a structured and transparent way, to inform decisions in the context of Guideline Recommendations.


The individual’s parents, siblings, and any extended family, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.


People who are not relatives, but play a significant personal role in the client’s life.


The extent to which a service is able to be delivered by a practitioner in a particular context.

Gender identity

An individual’s perception and experience of their own gender. This may or may not correspond to their physiology or sex assigned at birth.

Good Practice Points

Elements of practice that provide critical context to a given Recommendation, such as how a Recommendation should be operationalised in clinical practice, or how it is applied to a specific population or under specific circumstances.

Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE)

GRADE is an internationally recognised research framework for assessing the certainty of evidence and strength of clinical practice recommendations.

Guideline Development Group (GDG)

The group of people who led the research and community consultation activities upon which this Guideline is based. The process for forming the GDG, membership, roles, responsibilities, and activities are described in full in the Administration and Technical Report.

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)

Commonly known as the ICF, this framework, published by the World Health Organization, presents a biopsychosocial model for conceptualising, describing, and addressing disability in a way that considers individual, contextual, and environmental factors.


Acquiring knowledge and skills.


A group of professionals from different disciplines working with a client, either independently or as a team.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The NDIS is an Australian social security system that provides funding to people with disability, their families and carers. The NDIS is jointly governed by the Australian and State and Territory governments.

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

The NHMRC is the main statutory authority of the Australian Government responsible for medical research. The NHMRC provides guidelines that describe the best practice approach for developing practice guidelines in Australia (called ‘Guidelines for Guidelines’).


The perspective that people experience and interact with the world in different ways. Inherent in this view is that there is no one ‘normal’ way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and therefore differences in behaviours should not be seen as ‘deficits’. In the context of autism, a neurodiversity perspective views brain-based and behavioural differences observed in autistic people as reflecting natural human variation.


Practices that seek to affirm the child’s neurodivergent identity. In the context of autism, this term refers to providing supports that embrace each person’s unique understanding of other people and the world around them, without seeking to ‘cure’ autism.


Any individual with parenting or caretaker responsibilities for a child (of any age), including guardian, kinship, and foster carers.


The involvement in life situations that a person desires and in a way that they agree to.


In the context of this Guideline, practitioners primarily refers to people involved in the process of assessment and diagnosis, but also refers to the broader group of people who provide supports to autistic people and their families. The term ‘practitioner’ is synonymous with ‘clinician’ in this Guideline.

Public consultation

Refers to the process whereby the Guideline Development Group released the draft Guideline, gathered feedback from the autistic and autism communities, and used this feedback to refine the Guideline.

Quality of life

An individual’s perception of their own position in life, particularly in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns.

Reference Group

A group of representatives from key stakeholder organisations in Australia, who supported the community consultation process and who provided input to the Guideline development process at key stages. The process for forming the Reference Group, membership, roles, responsibilities, and activities are described in full in the Administration and Technical Report.

Research synthesis

A research project that combines the results from different studies focused on the same research question, and provides an overarching summary of those studies.

Restrictive practices

Any action that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability. In Australia, restrictive practices are subject to regulation. Restrictive practices include:

  • Seclusion – sole confinement of a person with disability in a room or a physical space at any hour of the day or night where voluntary exit is prevented, or not facilitated, or it is implied that voluntary exit is not permitted.
  • Chemical restraint – the use of medication or chemical substance for the primary purpose of influencing a person’s behaviour (not including the use of medication prescribed by a medical practitioner for the treatment of, or to enable treatment of, a diagnosed mental disorder, a physical illness or a physical condition).
  • Mechanical restraint – the use of a device to prevent, restrict, or subdue a person’s movement for the primary purpose of influencing a person’s behaviour, but does not include the use of devices for therapeutic or non-behavioural purposes.
  • Physical restraint – the use or action of physical force to prevent, restrict or subdue movement of a person’s body, or part of their body, for the primary purpose of influencing their behaviour (not including the use of a hands-on technique in a reflexive way to guide or redirect a person away from potential harm/injury).
  • Environmental restraint – a restraint restricts a person’s free access to all parts of their environment, including items or activities.


In the content of this Guideline, service primarily refers to paid activities performed by a practitioner in the process of contributing to assessment and diagnosis.

Service provider

In the content of this Guideline, service provider primarily refers to an organisation that provides assessment and diagnosis services. These organisations may have a sole practitioner or many practitioners.


The use of telecommunications (including videoconference and internet technology) to connect a practitioner with a client at a distance for the purpose of providing a service.


The combination of physical, mental, social, and emotional health, including feeling positive and well.