03 9657 1600



03 9639 4955


PO Box 374
Carlton South
VIC 3053

I Don't Believe my Student Has AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

In most cases, a student diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, has been comprehensively assessed by a team including a

  • paediatrician
  • psychologist (or child and adolescent psychiatrist), and
  • speech pathologist.

Other professionals such as an occupational therapist may also have been consulted.


This team carry out a variety of different assessments over several appointments. Consultation between all (at least three) relevant professionals occurs and they agree that the student meets the criteria for a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder according to the criteria in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5).


If your student has a diagnosis of ASD, a team of experienced, knowledgeable professionals have arrived at this diagnosis by following a rigorous, established process. Your student may not display what we think of as “classic” signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, it is important to remember that every individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder has a different profile.


ASD is sometimes referred to as an “invisible disability”. Students may be highly verbal and skilled in some areas, but struggle to achieve in others. Students who are passive, quiet and co-operative may appear to understand what is happening in the classroom, when in fact they have learnt which social skills mask their disability and lack of understanding. ASD is a developmental disorder. It may not become obvious to others until social demands outweigh an individual’s abilities. For example, a student may have the social and communication skills to manage the social demands required of them in grade one, but begin to struggle as the complexity of interaction increases in the upper primary years.


If your student has a diagnosis of ASD, but you do not feel that the student shows signs of the disorder, it is advisable to seek further information from the student's file - psychologist reports and speech pathology reports often lay out clearly where areas of difficulty lie. Consider making a time to find out more from the student's parents/carers about the student's particular areas of difficulty. It may be advisable to build your knowledge through reading, particularly the sections of this website on organisational skills and social communication. Alternatively, you may seek further professional learning with a reputable organisation such as Amaze.