New Autism Guidelines Aim to Improve Diagnostics and Access to Services

New Australian autism guidelines, released today, aim to provide a nationally consistent and rigorous standard for how children and adults are assessed and diagnosed with autism, bringing to an end the different processes that currently exist across the country.

There is no established biological marker for all people on the autism spectrum, so diagnosis is not a straightforward task. A diagnosis is based on a clinical judgement of whether a person has autism symptoms, such as social and communication difficulties, and repetitive behaviours and restricted interests. This is an inherently subjective task that depends on the skill and experience of the clinician.

This judgement is made even more difficult by the wide variability in symptoms, and the considerable overlap with a range of other developmental conditions such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intellectual disability, and developmental language disorder.

Further complicating autism diagnosis in Australia is the lack of consistent diagnostic practices both within and between states and territories. This leads to patchy ...

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