If you would like to access a publicly funded assessment (i.e. free to access), you should book an appointment with your GP to request a referral. If you are already seeing a specialist for other reasons, you may wish to raise the matter with them first.
It would be helpful if the GP you see has an understanding of autism. Consider taking along a copy of the online screening test result or the “does this person have autism” quick card, as it may be a helpful guide when discussing characteristics that you think apply to you. Alternatively, you may like to refer to the characteristics of autism page on the Autism New Zealand website.
While the New Zealand Autism Guideline recommends that specialist diagnostic assessment should be publicly available for all people who may have autism, this is not currently the case for adults. It can be challenging for adults to access a publicly funded assessment for autism. In some cases a referral is only accepted if the adult has a co-occurring intellectual disability or mental health condition. Occasionally a referral is accepted without any co-occurring conditions.
Regardless, GPs can send a referral to the appropriate local Adult Mental Health Service. Although autism is not a mental health condition, it can be diagnosed by Psychologists or Psychiatrists who work for the Adult Mental Health Service.
If the referral is not accepted, your GP may be able to refer you to an autism-experienced Psychologist or Psychiatrist in the private system. You can also look on the Community Links page of the Autism New Zealand website to see a list of private diagnosticians in your area.
The above quick card “Does this person have autism” is also available in the following languages: Maori, Cook Island Maori, Samoan and Tongan.