From 1 July 2008, new Medicare items became
available for the diagnosis and early intervention of children with autism or any other pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). These items apply to services provided by eligible psychologists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists, on referral from a consultant psychiatrist or paediatrician. The Medicare items cover two specific types of services - assessment services and treatment services.
For information on providing assessment and treatment services for children with autism or one of the pervasive developmental disorders under Medicare, please refer to Services for children with autism or any other pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) on the APS website.
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has partnered with Allied Health Professionals Australia, Speech Pathology Australia, and OT Australia, to develop information materials and activities to support the introduction of the new Medicare items and to promote evidence-based practice in the care of children with autism or one of the pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).
Two information booklets have been developed (one for health professionals and one for parents and carers). The booklets include information about ASD and the role of psychologists, speech pathologists, and occupational therapists in assessing, diagnosing and treating children with an ASD. A booklet for parents and other carers, and one for health professionals are available to download from the following links:
The consumer and health professional booklets include links for seeking further information and support services for parents and carers, and resources for health professionals.
Within this project, an information and education DVD has been developed to provide psychologists with general information about autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to educate them in current evidence-based approaches for the assessment and treatment of children in a collaborative multidisciplinary setting.
The DVD is based on a two-day workshop by Dr Tony Attwood and Dr Michelle Garnett. Tony is considered a world-renowned expert in autism. He has over 30 years experience as a clinical psychologist, researcher and program consultant to children and adults with an ASD and their families. Tony has published extensively in the area and has been a keynote speaker at many national and international conferences on autism. Michelle is a clinical psychologist and is the clinical director of a clinic offering assessment and intervention services to children and adults with autism. Michelle has worked as a clinician and researcher in the field of autism for 14 years and has particular expertise in subtypes of autism across all ages. The workshop DVD will cover the following topics:
The assessment and diagnosis of ASD including:
The presentation will provide practical information on assessing the dimensions of autism and Asperger's syndrome, additional characteristics, the profile of abilities in girls and women and how to explain the diagnosis to a child or adult.
The psychological treatment of children with an ASD using the five dimensions of ASD as a structure, namely:
The relevant theoretical models such as Theory of Mind and Weak Central Coherence will be explained and strategies psychologists can use in clinical practice will be discussed, in particular, modifications to CBT for emotion management and programs to improve social reasoning and friendship skills.
Psychologists who have viewed the Assessment and Treatment of ASD by Psychologists DVD may complete the following online examination to apply for inclusion on the APS Autism and PDD Identified Practitioners list. The online examination takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Access to the examination is via the use of an Access Code, allocated after registration with the Australian Psychological Society. To register please email your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The APS has established a list of APS Autism and PDD Identified Practitioners which is updated on a regular basis. This list identifies psychologists with expertise in the area of autism spectrum disorders. Psychologists must submit an application form for inclusion on the list which asks them to demonstrate evidence of one of the following:
Detailed information on criteria for inclusion, the application process and the required supporting documentation is provided in the application form.
An online multidisciplinary education module has been developed for a broad range of health professionals with the aim to raise awareness of the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to assessment and intervention of children with an ASD, and the role of the key health professionals involved. The multidisciplinary education model will provide information and education about the autism spectrum disorders (ASD); the role of psychologists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children with an ASD; the multidisciplinary nature of assessment and treatment, and pathways to care. This online education tool can be accessed through the Allied Health Professionals Australia website at autism.ahpa.com.au.
There are a number of government and non-government websites that provide advice and support to those wanting to know more about ASD.
Ph: (02) 6290 1984
There are a number of government and non-government websites that provide information about ASD and pathways to care for children with an ASD.
To find a psychologist who specialises in the area of autism and PDD, please refer to the APS Autism and PDD Identified Practitioners list.
A review commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing examines intervention approaches for treatment of children with an autism spectrum disorder, as well as providing an extensive list of services and programs available across all states and territories. This document is available for download from the Department of Health and Ageing website:
A document examining research findings related to early intervention of children with autism and evidence based guidelines for best practice. This document is available for download from the Department of Health and Ageing website: