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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2976 ..

Diagnosis of Autism

(Question No 385)

Mr Wood asked the Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services, upon notice, on 15 June 2001:

In relation to diagnosis for autism:

(1) Why does it take more than six months to begin the diagnosis process for a child suspected of having autism spectrum disorder.

(2) Why does confirmation of diagnosis often take up to twelve months.

(3) Are children often denied appropriate therapy and educational settings until that diagnosis is provided.

(4) What is proposed to improve the situation.

Mr Moore: The answer to Mr Wood's question is:

(1) Rapid increase in the number of children presenting for assessment for autism spectrum disorder has placed very high demands on current resources resulting in waiting times exceeding six months.

(2) Some cases are complex and require more time for accurate diagnosis.

(3) Children suspected of baying autism spectrum disorder can access a wide range of therapy and education services. These are based on the needs of each child. No child is ever denied access to services.

(4) The following processes are in place to improve the situation:

- Child Health and Development Service and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service are working together to provide a multidisciplinary diagnostic service for children suspected of having autism spectrum disorder; and

- Both services are investigating best practice models to help improve the speed and accuracy of the diagnostic process.

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