Chapter 3


Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults requires a comprehensive assessment by experienced healthcare professionals in Australia. The diagnostic process typically involves multiple steps to accurately identify and differentiate these conditions from other possible causes of the presenting symptoms.

For ADHD, the diagnostic process usually includes:

  1. Initial concerns: Parents, teachers, or the individual themselves may notice developmental delays, communication difficulties, or atypical social interactions that raise suspicion of ADHD.
  2. GP consultation: A visit to the General Practitioner (GP) is the first step, where concerns are discussed, and an initial evaluation is conducted. If the GP suspects ADHD, they will provide a referral to a specialist or a multidisciplinary team.
  3. Specialist assessment: A thorough assessment by a specialist, such as a paediatrician, psychiatrist, or clinical psychologist, is crucial. They will use standardised diagnostic tools and gather information from multiple sources, including interviews, observations, and reports from parents, teachers, and other professionals involved in the individual’s care.
  4. Rule out other conditions: For ADHD, the specialist will also consider and rule out other possible causes for the symptoms, such as learning disabilities, sleep disorders, or anxiety.
  5. Diagnosis and support planning: If the specialist confirms an ADHD diagnosis, they will discuss the results with the individual and their family, provide recommendations for support services and interventions, provide recommendations for treatment options (e.g., medication, behavioural therapy, and educational support) and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to create a tailored care plan.

In Australia, the diagnostic process for both ASD and ADHD must adhere to the guidelines provided by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). It is crucial to obtain an accurate diagnosis to access appropriate support and interventions that can improve the individual’s quality of life.

For Adult ADHD screening, we recommend the ADHD psychology clinic and to have a chat with your GP as soon as possible.