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Adolescent and Adult Diagnosis

Our new youth diagnostic clinic is now open and able to provide comprehensive Autism Diagnosis to individuals aged 13 to 30 years.


The Specialist Youth Autism Diagnostic Clinic provides multidisciplinary assessments and diagnosis for people in Western Australia who may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). These assessments are of no cost to young people who have a Medicare card. The assessment team consists of a Consultant Psychiatrist, Psychologist and Speech Pathologist, all of whom have specialist knowledge of Autism.

We accept referrals from GP’s, Consultant Psychiatrists and Consultant Paediatricians. Please see the section on Referral Information for Professionals for more information about making a referral to the clinic.


Information for Families

To be eligible to attend the clinic, we first need a referral form completed by your GP, Consultant Psychiatrist, or Consultant Paediatrician. We recommend that you take this guide to your treating doctor (or treating team) and complete it with them. Referrals are reviewed every week, and may be declined if incomplete. 

Once we have received the completed referral, our clinical team will review and discuss it at the next intake meeting. If the referral is accepted, we will ask you to complete our intake documents, which will help to determine the young person’s suitability for assessment in this clinic. We will then contact you to book the assessment appointments.

Due to high demand, we are currently operating a waiting list. We will let you know within 12 weeks of receiving the completed referral that the young person has been placed on the waiting list.  Assessments are not guaranteed until we have received all referral and intake documents, and these have been reviewed by the clinical team and accepted into the clinic.

Intake Process


Information for Referrers

To make a referral to the Specialist Youth Autism Diagnostic Clinic, please complete and return the Referral Guide for Professionals. This Guide includes a template referral letter. 

Please complete the referral in full and with as much detail as possible. Incomplete referrals, or referrals that do not meet the Clinic eligibility criteria, may be declined.

Eligibility criteria for the Youth Diagnostic Clinic include:

  • The young person is aged 13-30 years (inclusive)
  • The young person has a Medicare card
  • There is a parent or caregiver available to provide a developmental history
  • There is sufficient evidence from the referral to indicate that features of Autism Spectrum Disorder are present (or were present historically)
  • The young person has ongoing difficulty with aspects of everyday functioning, such as education or employment

Referrals will not be accepted if:

  • There is a current, acute psychiatric illness
  • The young person is currently using illicit substances
  • The young person is currently at risk of harm to themselves or others
  • There is other complexity, or confounding factors that mean that the assessment is unsuitable within the clinic model.

Who should I address the referral to?

Referrals must be addressed to:

Dr Kelly McKenna-Kerr, Consultant Psychiatrist
Youth Autism Diagnostic Clinic
Autism Association of WA
215 Stubbs Terrace
Shenton Park
WA 6008

Referrals can also be sent via email to: youthadult.diagnosis@autism.org.au.


Information for Schools

Oftentimes, ASD is first identified at school. While we are only able to accept referrals from a GP, Consultant Psychiatrist or Consultant Paediatrician, school staff (such as class teachers, Year Leads and School Psychologists) play a crucial role in the referral and assessment process. Therefore, we have developed this information guide to assist schools to gather and document information relevant for a referral to the Specialist Youth Autism Diagnostic Clinic. We would encourage you to read and complete this guide in collaboration with families. The information can then be taken to an appointment with a medical specialist, who can make the relevant referral to our clinic.


The Assessment Process

Once a referral has been accepted into the clinic, the young person will be placed on our waitlist. We will contact you to let you know when an appointment becomes available. While we are unable to provide an accurate estimate of the length of the wait, occasionally, cancellation places do become available. Please let us know if you would be able to attend an appointment at short notice.

Assessment Appointments

Families and young people will attend three appointments over a 4-week time frame. Details of each appointment are outlined below:

 

Appointment 1

Appointment 2

Appointment 3

What is the appointment for?

Introduction to the clinic and the assessment process

Multidisciplinary team assessment that includes interviews and direct assessments

Feedback appointment

Who will be involved?

Young person and/or their family

Consultant Psychiatrist

Young person and a parent/caregiver who can provide a developmental history

Consultant Psychiatrist

Psychologist

Speech Pathologist

Young person and/or their family

Consultant Psychiatrist

How long will it take?

Around 45 minutes

Around 4 hours

Around 60 minutes

We may ask you to attend additional appointments if we need to complete further assessments.

Please note that not all assessments result in a diagnosis of ASD, however our approach is comprehensive and follows best practice guidelines for ASD assessments.

 

What happens after the assessment?

If the young person is diagnosed with Autism, we will ask for your permission to have an Autism Services Advisor contact you. They can direct you to services and supports that are available for young people with Autism. We will also give you a feedback pack containing information and resources about Autism.

 

Meet our Consultant Psychiatrist 

Dr Kelly McKenna-Kerr is a Consultant Psychiatrist with a special interest in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She has been awarded both the CB Kidd Memorial Prize in Psychiatry (UWA)and the prestigious RANZCP Maddison Medallion. Currently she is Clinical Lead of an Autism Spectrum Disorders clinic providing diagnostic assessment to individuals aged 13 and above, based at the Autism Association of Western Australia. She is also currently Clinical Lead of a project funded by the Department of Communities, aimed at identifying and addressing potential barriers to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders accessing mainstream mental health services. She has provided psychiatric care to both adults and adolescent youth on the spectrum in a variety of settings, including previously providing a dedicated clinic to clients of the Autism Association of WA presenting with psychiatric comorbidity. She is a member of the RANZCP Special Interest Group in the Psychiatry of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and the WA Autism Peer review group.

Please note, all referrals to be made out to Dr Kelly McKenna-Kerr, Consultant Psychiatrist, Autism Association of WA, 215 Stubbs Terrace, Shenton Park WA 6008

Kelly-McKenna-Kerr
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