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Specialist autism diagnostic service launches for at-risk young people

a teenage with autism relaxing with rocking chair
Photo: jjwarren97

A first-of-its-kind service is underway from this month to provide autism assessments to South Australians who are at at-risk.

Funding of approximately $800,000 to June 2026 will support a free assessment and diagnostic service focused on young people who have exceptional needs, live in at-risk households or are connected with the youth justice system. It is the first time a dedicated service will be available to these groups in South Australia.

Following an open tender process to identify providers with the capacity and skill to help these groups of young people, the Department of Human Services will work with Autism SA, Solasta Wellbeing and Connect Disability Services to deliver the service.

Where a diagnosis is confirmed, the three organisations will support the department to provide appropriate referrals and services which could include access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme or other supports. As with any neurological developmental difference or condition, early identification is an essential first step to accessing effective supports while contributing to a sense of belonging and identity.

For those who are not diagnosed, a report confirming this along with any recommendations including avenues for further investigation will be provided.

The service will be offered across the state so people in Adelaide and rural and regional areas can access it.

The new service builds on a recent separate announcement of a $330,000 tender for a program prioritising students at risk of disengaging from education and with the flexibility to be delivered on school sites.

In addition to the two new services focused on at-risk young people, other pathways for assessment can be found on the Office for Autism website.

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