Investigating diagnostic practices of autism in Australia

This project was undertaken to investigate the diagnostic practices of autism and their reliability in Australia. With no established biomarker for autism, a ‘gold standard’ diagnosis relies on a 'best estimate’ clinical judgement, based on the behavioural presentation of the individual. However, the variability in early autism symptoms, and the considerable behavioural overlap with other developmental disorders, means that an autism diagnosis is a complex undertaking. The task of providing an autism diagnosis in Australia is further complicated by significant variability in assessment process between clinicians and between states.

This report below, commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, outlines the results of a national survey of health professionals participating in diagnostic assessments. The report has uncovered discrepancies in autism diagnosis practices across Australia and confirmed the need to implement national standards.

Note: Since this research Autism CRC has released a National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Australia and accompanying resources.

Early Years
Project code
Project Leader(s)
  • Lauren Taylor,
Project status