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Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - What it is

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - Symptoms

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - How to prevent?

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - Causes and Risk Factors

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - Diagnosis

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - Treatments

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - Preparing for surgery

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - Post-surgery care

Diagnostic Assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder - Other Information

You have been given this information leaflet because your child will soon undergo a diagnostic assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with a psychologist.

What tests will be done for my child?

During the assessment, our psychologist will:
  1. Observe your child’s behaviour using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS).
  2. Interview you to understand your child’s development from young and his/ her behaviours in everyday situations.
The assessment does not require any blood tests or scans. Information you have shared with your child’s doctor is taken into consideration. Feedback from your child’s teacher or therapists may also be used to understand how your child's behaviour is in various settings.

What is the ADOS?

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is the current gold standard for a behavioural observational assessment of individuals suspected of having ASD.

During the ADOS, the psychologist will use a standard set of activities to assess your child’s social communication and interaction behaviours, play and use of materials. The set of activities used will depend on your child’s language and developmental age.

How will a formal diagnosis benefit my child?

If the assessment indicates that your child has ASD, a formal diagnosis will support your child’s placement in a suitable early intervention programme. It can determine the types of intervention that your child will benefit most from.

It will help parents to understand the features of ASD in their child, identify strengths and needs, and thereby aid in coping with and adapting to the needs of their child. It may also be important for school placement and school support in the future.

Some children with ASD benefit more from specialised educational school settings. Therefore, the diagnosis may assist in determining appropriate school placement depending on your child's skills at the completion of an early intervention programme.

A formal diagnosis allows caregivers to obtain subsidies for the child, such as a Caregivers Training Grant from the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and tax relief.

Will the diagnosis affect my child’s chances of entering mainstream primary school?

There are already many children with ASD who are supported in mainstream schools. The diagnosis will not prevent entry to mainstream school, but a child with ASD may need a school readiness test at around five to six years old to guide school placement decisions.

If your child does progress on to mainstream schooling, having a diagnosis of ASD can help your child to get the necessary socio-emotional and learning support from a primary school’s Allied Educator (AED).

Can I delay the assessment?

Timely assessment will help you to understand your child better and determine a suitable placement for him/ her. Delaying the diagnosis may delay access to ASD-specific programmes in certain early intervention centres.

Can my child grow out of it if he/ she has ASD?

ASD is a condition that affects early brain development. It is a lifelong condition, but an individual’s behaviours, presentation, degree of impairments, and levels of support may change over time and with intensive intervention. 

Some individuals with ASD may show only minimal signs of ASD when they are older. This may be due to good response to early intervention.

Are the results confidential?

The results of the assessment are confidential. Only healthcare staff members caring for your child will have authorised access to your child’s health record and will know that your child was assessed for ASD and know the outcome of the assessment.

If you have signed permission for communication with external agencies, the assessment report will be made available to your child’s Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) centre to facilitate enrolment and intervention goals.

If your child progresses to mainstream school in the future, you will need to sign another consent form if you want us to share the information with your child's school.

How do I prepare my child for the assessment?

You can prepare your child for the assessment by ensuring that he/ she receives adequate sleep the night before and has had a good meal on the day of the assessment. If your child is ill, or on medication on the day of the assessment, or in the days leading up to the assessment, please try to alert the psychologist beforehand to check if the assessment should proceed.

Please bring along a copy of the completed Teacher Report Form (if applicable) to give to the psychologist. You may also want to bring some snacks and a jacket for your child.

What will happen after the assessment?

Your doctor or psychologist will share the results of the assessment with you personally and provide a copy of the full psychological assessment report.

With greater insights from the assessment, we will advise further on interventions that may help your child.

In some children, there may be insufficient evidence to make a conclusive diagnosis at the end of the assessment. A repeat assessment may be required in the future, if more symptoms or concerns for ASD arise.

After the assessment, your doctor will continue to monitor your child’s progress and needs through regular follow-up appointments.
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