In The Media | 25 May 2016

Inconsistent autism diagnoses causing delay in early intervention, report finds

A report into autism diagnosis in Australia has found discrepancies in how children are assessed for the condition and calls for a national standard to ensure early intervention.

The study was produced through the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism.

The senior author of the report, Professor Andrew Whitehouse from Perth’s Telethon Kids Institute, said the study highlighted serious problems.

“It’s clear that one child can go to a diagnostic team in Queensland and get a diagnosis of autism, cross state boundaries and not get a diagnosis,” he told720 ABC Perth.

“It leads to horrible inequity and doesn’t give kids the best start in life.”

He said he hoped the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would provide the impetus for national standards.

“The great thing about the NDIS is that it actually appraises a child on their level of difficulty rather than the diagnosis,” he said.

“Now is the time to actually bring in these national standards and that will actually help the sustainability of the NDIS in the future.”