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More Information

Autism Assessment

Autism in Adults

Autism Assessments: Diagnostic evaluations of autism for adult clients are designed to help people understand whether they have autism, identify their unique strengths and challenges, provide guidance for developing effective coping strategies, and obtain information regarding autism and supportive services.

Recognising Autism: Each autistic person is different, but common traits include difficulties with social interaction and communication, sensory sensitivities, repetitive behaviours, and intense narrow interests. Autistic people may struggle to understand nonverbal communication and have difficulty with relationships. They may be sensitive to noise, bright light, or certain textures. They may struggle with change or ambiguity.

Assessment Report: An autism assessment report will be supplied that can vary in scope from a concise letter summarising the findings to a comprehensive report, depending on your preferences and needs. Recommendations will be noted. This report can be used to help access supportive services and to communicate with healthcare providers.

Unfortunately I am currently booked out for assessments. Please contact me again in February 2024 in order to book an assessment for later into that year. I suggest looking for other assessors using the Autism NZ directory.

DALL·E 2023-03-14 10.34.02 - A confused woman with autism experiencing sensory overload, w
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Assessment Process

  • Step 1 - Initial Contact: The assessment process usually begins with a brief exchange over email or phone regarding your desire for assessment and to answer any questions. We will then usually book a 2-3 hour interview appointment and I will send through some screening questionaires.

  • Step 2 - Comprehensive Evaluation: The assessment appointment involves evaluating your individual characteristics, developmental history, and other relevant information. It is helpful but not essential to bring a family member, partner, or close friend to the interview. After the assessment, we will book a feedback appointment to review the outcome and recommendations.

  • Step 3 - Additional Interviews and Document Review: Depending on your situation, the assessment may include a separate phone interview with a parent or someone else who knew you well during your childhood, and a review of and relevant documents, such as school reports or previous assessments.

Cost and Payment Information: The cost for an adult autism assessment with a comprehensive report is $1600. Payment must be made one week prior to the first assessment appointment. Please note that due to the complex and interactive nature of ASD assessments, I always conduct these in person rather than via videoconferencing to ensure the most accurate evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Do you assess clients with autistic traits that are not 'obvious'? 

    • A. Most of the clients I see have a long history of masking autistics traits. They are often employed, have meaningful relationships, and can make eye contact. Their autistic traits may be less apparent to an observer. It may be that only the individual themselves is aware of their internal struggle to live in a predominantly nonautistic world. A thorough assessment involves looking at both observable characteristics and experiences that may be internal or that may only occur within private environments.

  • Q. How long is the assessment appointment? 

    • A. Assessment appointments are typically 2-3 hours. It is fine to take breaks if this would help. I am happy to book multiple smaller appointments on separate days if this is preferred.

  • Q. Is it necessary to provide documents from my childhood? 

    • A. Childhood documents like school reports or assessment reports can be useful but are not mandatory. Likewise, input from a family member is beneficial but not a requirement.

  • Q. Must a family member be involved in the assessment?

    • A. Involvement of a family member or close friend can be beneficial but is not obligatory. It is acceptable if you prefer to undergo the assessment without involving anyone close to you. 

  • Q. Do I need to attend the assessment in person? 

    • A. Yes. At least one session is required to be attended in person. A comprehensive assessment of autism involves a degree of observation and interaction. Follow-up appointments can be held via videoconferencing if prefered.

  • Q. How long does the report take to produce? 

    • A. Reports typically take 1-2 weeks to prepare. I will send you a draft report prior to the feedback session to check for any factual errors or any concerns about the content.

  • Q. How should I prepare for the assessment? 

    • ANo specific preparation is required for the assessment. However, you might find it helpful to review old photographs or writings to jog your memory about your early life. If you want to write down any notes, I am happy to read these. During the session, please feel comfortable being yourself; there's no need to mask any autistic traits. If you have any sensory preferences, such as dimming the lights, reducing noise, or regulating the air temperature, do let me know so I can make the room more comfortable for you. Clients are welcome to bring sensory aids or comfort items.

  • Q. Is the assessment confidential? 

    • A. All information gathered during the assessment is held in strict confidence, adhering to professional ethical standards and legal requirements. While I usually send a copy of the assessment report to the client's GP, this step is optional. It's important to note that individuals who contribute collateral information are not automatically granted access to the assessment results. The final report belongs to you, giving you the choice to share it with others as you see fit.

  • Q. Can you assess people from outside of Canterbury?

    • A. I am happy to see individuals from anywhere in NZ provided they can travel to Christchurch for at least one appointment.

  • Q. Do you assess children or adolescents under the age of 18 years?

    • A. No, I don't assess individuals under 18. However, Another of child assessors are listed on the Community Links page on the Autism NZ website.

  • Q. Can I pay via credit card? 

    • A. I can arrange for credit card payment for assessments on the day if this is required. There is a 5% surcharge.

Co-occuring ADHD
An assessment that includes both autism and potential co-occurring ADHD involves a more comprehensive evaluation. This is because the diagnosis of ADHD needs to be robustly evidence-based for a public mental health service psychiatrist to approve the prescription of stimulant medication. A specialised ADHD team within the public service reviews the psychologist's assessment report to make a prescribing decision; they do not meet the client in person. Their review process takes several weeks but does not add extra costs for the client. A drug test is often requested. I cannot garantee that they will approve medication prescribing even if I recommend it. The additional work of incorporating a formal ADHD evaluation into the autism assessment usually requires an additional appointment and additional report writing time, which increases the overall cost.

  • Cost: Including both autism and ADHD in the assessment incurs a fee of $2400.

  • Evidence Required: Corroborating evidence from a reliable source is essential. This might be a parent or older sibling or from relevant documents. Relevant written records typically include school reports from primary or intermediate school or childhood assessments that indicate the presence of ADHD symptoms before the age of 12. Please review the documents and/or speak to the involved relative to confirm that there is clear and unambiguous corroborating evidence prior to making contact.

  • Alternative Options: If confirmatory collateral informations is not available, I suggest contacting a private psychiatrist who may have different requirements. If your primary interest lies in an assessment principally for ADHD rather than autism, I can suggest other assessors who may be available.

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