Neurodiversity-Affirming Psychological Support for Autism Assessment and Intervention in Melbourne

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition linked to natural brain variations, impacting social interaction, communication, behaviour, and sensory processing. Autism is referred to on a spectrum, meaning no two individuals display identical signs or characteristics. Our experienced psychologists provide autism assessment and diagnosis in Melbourne, to help better inform our therapy approach and treatment recommendations. 

Autism and when to seek support

What are the common signs and symptoms of autism?

  • Challenge with communicating and interacting with others
  • Tendency to dominate discussions with specific interests
  • Difficulty interpreting social cues and facial expressions
  • Trouble interpreting what others are thinking or feeling
  • Repetitive behaviours and strong, special interests
  • Participates in a restricted range of activities
  • Sensory sensitivities and reactions
  • Preferences for routines and dislike change
  • Difficulty regulating emotion
  • Trouble interpreting emotions and maintaining natural conversations
  • Prone to monologues on a favourite subject
  • Strict consistency to daily routines, outbursts when changes occur

What are some common manifestations of masking in individuals with autism?

  • Imitating the social behaviours of others, including gestures and facial expressions
  • Purposefully imitating or feigning eye contact during conversations
  • Concealing or downplaying their strong interests
  • Scripting or rehearsing conversations or preparing a bank of stock phrases for conversations
  • Suppressing stimming (self-stimulating) behaviours, which are repetitive actions (i.e., whistling, jumping, finger-clicking) that individuals with autism use for self-regulation and enjoyment
  • Internally coping with sensory discomfort

How can we better understand the challenges and strengths associated with autism?

Many adults who exhibit autism traits, navigate life successfully. It’s common for adults to display autism signs or traits without having undergone assessment or diagnosis, often for various reasons.


Some adults with autism will experience symptoms that result in challenges in everyday life. Others may feel like something is different about them from the next person. They may have felt that way since childhood but couldn’t pinpoint precisely why. Or, they may not notice that they feel or behave differently than others. Sometimes characteristics play out well and do not result in impairment or difficulty in functioning, but sometimes characteristics will not result so well. 

What are the positive impacts often described by individuals with autism?

  • Excelling in a chosen area of study, or a chosen career
  • Noticing details in the environment that others miss
  • Having increased empathy or immense care for people or animals
  • Enjoying working independently
  • Embracing intense interest and directing this into an area of work  

Are there other co-occurring mental health challenges associated with autism?

Anxiety is a prevalent condition affecting a diverse range of individuals, including those with autism. Research indicates a higher prevalence of anxiety disorders in individuals with autism compared to the general population. While the precise reasons for this heightened susceptibility to anxiety in individuals with autism are not yet fully understood, some studies suggest that challenging social situations and sensory environments can amplify stress and anxiety among those with autism.


Additionally, a significant source of anxiety may stem from feeling misunderstood or unaccepted. To assimilate and avoid standing out as different, individuals with autism may engage in masking or camouflaging behaviours.

What are the motivations for seeking an autism assessment and diagnosis, whether for oneself or a loved one?

  • Addressing academic challenges, such as falling behind in schoolwork, including reading and writing.
  • Resolving school-related issues, even if the underlying reasons are unclear.
  • Accessing necessary supports to enhance functioning, early intervention, or additional classroom assistance.
  • Gaining insights into an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, including assessments of Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Working Memory, and Processing Speed, with the latter often associated with ASD or autism.
  • Supporting NDIS participants in identifying concerns and accessing additional support to align with NDIS treatment goals.
  • Facilitating NDIS applications to secure funding for daily living and capacity-building support.

Common reasons why an autism assessment and a formal diagnosis has not been pursued:

  • Signs or characteristics are not evident to those around them
  • People around them are not aware of the signs or markers of autism
  • Signs and characteristics do not result in challenges 
  • Learnt strategies to support areas of difficulty
  • Financial and emotional cost of an assessment
  • Already having perused another diagnosis (e.g., of ADHD) that may account for some of the signs and characteristics demonstrated
  • The individual does not see the benefits of having a formal assessment when they already know there is a likely diagnosis
  • Internalised stigma, the person does not want a formal diagnosis
  • Characteristics and signs have been linked to other common comorbidities including social anxiety, depression, ADHD, or panic

How can Positive Wellbeing Psychology help?

At Positive Wellbeing Psychology, our experienced Melbourne psychologists have a special interest in autism and neurodiversity.   

If you’re considering an assessment, our warm and compassionate psychologists at Positive Wellbeing Psychology can help you explore its benefits and necessity during a session. We encourage you to initiate this process by scheduling an appointment to discuss your requirements as an initial step.

Make an Appointment

At Positive Wellbeing Psychology, we offer flexible appointments with our psychologists during the day, evening, or weekends, both in-person at our Melbourne psychology practice or online via telehealth.

believe in change and reach progress with a Melbourne psychologist

Our team of psychologists hold full registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and adhere to ethical guidelines as mandated by the Psychologists Registration Board and Australian Psychological Society. Our clinical practice is grounded in evidence-based treatment approaches and autism assessments in Melbourne, ensuring comprehensive support for autism assessment, accurate diagnosis, and effective therapy in our Melbourne psychology practice.

Autism Assessment Melbourne