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Transferring UK CAMHS ASD diagnoses to Australia

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Hi all

After an extended stay (16 years) in the UK our family is planning to move back to live in Brisbane.  

Both our children are on the autistic spectrum.  Our 11yr old has a diagnosis from CAMHS and our 7yr has been referred to CAMHS but it is unlikely that the assessment process will be completed before we arrive.

Thankfully both children are high functioning with no real concerns academically.  Their issues are more related to social interaction, anxiety, mental health, etc. We have also received referrals for other related issues such as Occupational Therapy.

I was wondering if anyone has had any experience of transferring UK ASD diagnoses to the Australian system.  I am primarily interested in knowing whether the diagnosis from CAMHS would be recognised or would we have to undergo the whole process from scratch once in Australia?

We are also wondering whether to get a private diagnosis for my son here in the UK and get a covering letter from CAMHS which can be done quite quickly. From my initial investigations it seems to be much cheaper but obviously it needs to be transferrable. The NHS system takes up to two years from referral to diagnosis. Is the Australian system as slow as this and is any of it covered by Medicare?  

I am interested in what is required for the Criterion One form for school funding and also NDIS, although having looked at the criteria for NDIS which is DSM-V severity level 2 or 3 I'm not sure they would qualify for NDIS.

Both children already have Australian citizenship by descent so there are no issues with visas.

Any insights or experience would be greatly appreciated.


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Posted (edited)

IIRC - and this may well be out of date now so  you might contact Qld dept of  Ed for first hand advice - Qld used to require their own assessments because assessments from other states could be quite haphazard. They had designated multidisciplinary panels headed up by paediatricians. 

In general, disability funding is not dependent upon diagnosis but on level of impairment that significantly disturbs the child's participation in education and unless high functioning kids have significant behavioral or other disabling issues they're unlikely to get much, if any, additional support. It's generally said that Australia doesn't do autism as well as UK and often its just up to the school what support they provide. Some folk have found that non gov schools might provide better pastoral care/smaller classes  which children with autism find easier to handle. 

The only feedback From ex colleagues I've had is that the NDIS is a dogs breakfast - very limited.

Either way, just be sure that you take all assessments - Psych assessments generally have a 2 year validity, skills and adaptive behaviours 1 year validity. If the kids have to be assessed again it wouldn't be covered by Medicare but if they're assessed by the school system then it would be free - but could take a long time to get to the top of the list.

There are some contacts linked on here https://education.qld.gov.au/students/students-with-disability/education-adjustment-program

Edited by Quoll

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My son was diagnosed as on the spectrum entirely in the public system, so cost nothing.  We needed a referral from the GP and also had a letter from his teacher at school.  The waiting list on the public system here in Adelaide is quite long but we got to see someone after about 9 months.  Getting the diagnosis didn’t take long after that - the speech therapist told us the diagnosis at the appointment and sent out a draft report shortly after for us to look over and the final report came out just a week or so after we sent the draft back.

My son is high functioning but came out with a level 2 for his sensory issues.  We did get NDIS funding but to be honest have not really felt the need to use it.  The change from primary school to high school has really suited him and we have a lot less issues that we feel the need to see therapists about.  Lots of people struggle to get the NDIS funding they really need but a lot seems to do with the person you have your planning meeting with.  Our planner was excellent with personal experience of disability and autism and knew exactly what to put in to get funding.  I’ve known of people (through a Facebook group) who’s kids have many more issues than mine who have been given much less than we were.

From the same Facebook group I’ve also found schooling to be really hit and miss.  Some schools are excellent and others are discriminatory.  You have more come back and support in the public system though as you can go to the education department disability people for help where as private schools the buck stops with the head teacher.  I’d suggest finding a Facebook group for the area you are moving to and ask some questions on there.  They are the people that will really know what things are like here and some may even have experience of moving from other countries with a diagnosis in place.

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Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.

Dale Carnegie – 1888-1955, Author and Lecturer

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We bought a letter from our Uk specialist but to access support in the education system or any autism specific funding we required a diagnosis from a doctor in Queensland. The Queensland specialist was happy to accept the Uk documents but Australian diagnosis was needed. Public waiting list to see a paediatrician was about 1 year so we went private but that was still a wait of nearly 6 months. The education system in Queensland is very different to the Uk one with how children with disabilities are supported. The ndis will definitely require Australian reports.

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