Autism Assessment in Singapore

This article will provide an overview about Autism and Autism Assessments in Singapore, and answer some common questions that most parents and caregivers might have. 

This article will cover the following areas:

  1. Signs and Symptoms of Autism
  2. What is Autism?
  3. What is Autism Assessment?
  4. How to prepare for autism assessment?
  5. How Autism Assessment Works - What to Expect?
  6. How will a formal Diagnosis Benefit my Child?
  7. How long does it take to diagnose autism?
  8. How Much Does a Private Autism Assessment Cost in Singapore?
  9. Where To Go For Autism Assessment in Singapore?

We hope this will provide you with a better understanding about Autism and its diagnostic process.

Signs and Symptoms of Autism

The signs and symptoms of Autism can vary among individuals, but there are some common features that are commonly present in most individuals. 

According to the DSM-5, the following are the three main characteristics of Autism: 

  1. Continuous difficulty in engaging in mutual communication and interaction with others, 
  2. Distinct preference to engage in limiting and recurrent behavioural patterns and interests, 
  3. The prevalence of these symptoms are noticed from young, severely affecting the individual's day-to-day functioning. 

Some general signs of Autism include: 

  • Marked difficulty in engaging in meaningful discussions with others 
  • Less likely to bond with others over common interests 
  • Difficulty in making eye contact 
  • Unable to comprehend or display appropriate signals such as body language, facial expressions and tone of voice based on the current context
  • Challenges in wanting to make and maintain friendships
  • Frequently engages in the same behaviour and interests (e.g., only taking a certain bus route, or an extreme interests in trains and less interest in other activities)
  • Finds solace in a strict routine 
  • Unusual changes in sensory inputs (under or hyper sensitivity to environmental stimuli e.g., smells and sounds)

What is Autism (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects an individual's socio-emotional and intellectual ability, causing learning and developmental disabilities. 

The five main disorders that fall under its purview include Autistic Disorder, Asperger Disorder, Rett Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. Its signs and symptoms will vary amongst individuals, but it typically presents itself in early childhood for most. 

Globally, 1 in 100 children have been diagnosed with ASD, with a total of 28.3 million cases reported worldwide. 

In Singapore, the actual prevalence of ASD is unclear, but it has been reported that at least 200 new cases are being diagnosed each year. 

What is Autism Assessment?

An Autism Assessment will involve a complete diagnostic evaluation whereby the clinician will take a comprehensive assessment of the child’s conduct and growth through various means such as past history, clinical observations and interviews. 

There is a misconception that this psychological assessment can only be done in young children. Even though autism first appears in children, teens and adults can also be assessed for autism. 

There are various different types of ASD assessments available that cater to different age groups. 

For example, one of the assessments done at our clinic, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, is a semi-structured and standardised assessment that has five modules, of which only one module needs to be completed by the individual based on their age and language proficiency.  

Our clinic offers assessments for everyone aged 3 and up; it is never too late to seek help!

How to prepare for autism assessment?

Coming down for an assessment might seem scary, but there are some things you can do to get you and your child ready. 

In order to ensure that your child will be comfortable during the assessment, it is important that they be in good health, which will include getting adequate sleep and food and being generally well. 

You can prepare your child beforehand on what will happen during the assessment so that they do not feel overwhelmed with the new environment. For example, you can let them know that they will be seeing someone just to have a chat and to do some fun activities. 

You can also note down some key points regarding your observations of your child’s behaviour that you might think is important for the psychologist to know, or any other concerns or questions you might have.

How Autism Assessment Works - What to Expect?

In our practice, our psychologists use a wide range of diagnostic tools for ASD assessment. 

Intake Session (1.5hr)

During the intake session, our clinician will ask a series of questions to gain a better understanding of the individual’s needs and to know them better. 

This session can include why you are looking into getting this assessment, prior history, any questions you might have, and a clearer understanding of how the assessment will pan out. 

  • For Adults

For the adult intake assessment, the psychologist may ask questions pertaining to your background, the challenges you are experiencing, what symptoms you are experiencing and how these symptoms are affecting your personal life, relationships, work, and/or studies. 

  • For Children 

For child intake assessments, the psychologist will talk to both the parent and the child. 

This assessment is similar to that of the adult assessment, with the psychologist asking questions relating to the child’s developmental, educational and social background and answering any questions and concerns that the parent may have. 

The psychologist will also observe the child’s behaviour, and might ask them some questions to get a sense of how the child is functioning and to gain more information about their behaviour, communication and language skills. 

Based on how the intake assessment goes, these are some of the assessments that the psychologist might do:

Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) (1.5-2h)

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) is a clinically proven and reliable assessment to diagnose ASD. It is a semi-structured and standardised assessment that modulates an environment whereby a child’s communication/interaction with others and  repetitive/restricted conduct can be seen. 

This will allow for the clinician to observe potential behaviours that are reflective of ASD. It contains five modules, of which an individual only has to do one based on their level of chronological age and development. 

Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) (2-3h)

The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised is a semi-structured and standardised interview catered towards the parents or caregivers of children being diagnosed with ASD. 

Parents will be asked questions relating to their child’s ability to engage in social communication and interaction with others, their language skills, and their tendency to gravitate towards restrictive and repetitive behaviours.  

Cognitive Tests 

  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V) (2h) & Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (AIS-IV) (2h)

WISC-V & AIS-IV are cognitive tests used as a measure of intellectual functioning and cognitive ability. 

  • Child Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-IV) (2-2.5 hours)

The WIAT-IV assesses a child’s achievement, especially how they are doing academically in school in terms of reading, writing, and maths. This test allows the psychologist to get a better understand of the areas the child is struggling in and how we can help them 

Social Responsiveness Scale (15-20 mins) 

The Social Responsiveness scale is a 65-item questionnaire that can be used on individuals aged between 29 months to 18 years of age, and is used to measure an individual's social ability in the context of ASD.  

Social Communication Questionnaire (10-15 mins)

The Social Communication Questionnaire is a 40-item questionnaire designed for parents or caregivers to complete. It can be used on individuals aged 2 years old and above, and it asks questions relating to the individual's level of communication and social functioning. 

Interviews with teachers and caregivers and school observations might also be done.  

How Will a Formal Diagnosis Benefit My Child?

Assessing your child for ASD might seem scary, but being able to obtain a formal diagnosis sooner than later has various benefits. 

Firstly, it will allow for earlier access to appropriate treatment and intervention options for your child, which is especially pertinent during their early developmental years when these interventions will be more effective. This has been backed up by various studies that have found a positive link between early intervention and various behavioural, socio-emotional and intellectual outcomes. 

Furthermore, receiving the appropriate intervention early will allow for an easier transition to adulthood, as your child will be more readily equipped with the relevant tools to deal with challenges as an adult. 

Lastly, benefits of early intervention are extended to parents as well! 

Parents seeking help early report being less worried and stressed, giving them greater bandwidth to seek relevant support services for their kids. 

How long does it take to diagnose autism?

The time taken to diagnose autism can vary, depending on various factors such as the number of tests or sessions required. Typically, at Psychology Blossom, it can take about 2-3 weeks to complete the assessments, and another 2-3 weeks to complete the full report after the session. 

How Much Does a Private Autism Assessment Cost in Singapore?

The cost of getting an Autism Assessment can vary depending on certain factors, such as (the type of screening done and number of assessments and sessions needed). 

Contact us at Psychology Blossom to enquire about the pricing of this assessment. 

Where To Go For Autism Assessment in Singapore?


Our psychologists here at Psychology Blossom are trained and specialised in conducting ASD assessments and diagnostics in both children and adults. 

To schedule an Autism Assessment with us, you can contact us via a phone call at +65 86868592. Alternatively, you can whatsapp us at +65 8800 0554 or email us at [email protected]