Skip links and keyboard navigation

Autism spectrum disorder (suspected)

Minimum referral criteria

Category 1
Seen within 30 days

  • Definite history of developmental regression

Category 2
Seen within 90 days

  • Patient aged < 6 years,  who has developmental screening indicating concerns across communication, social, and behavioural domains (suggestive of autism spectrum disorder (ASD))
  • Patient expected to be in "out of home care", supervised by the Department of Child Safety for more than 6 months
  • Children with ASD at imminent risk of losing existing resources without diagnostic review
  • Acute severe functional deterioration in a patient diagnosed with ASD

Category 3
Seen within 365 days

  • Most other referrals for suspected autism spectrum disorder

Standard information for all referrals

Reason for request

  • To establish a diagnosis
  • For treatment or intervention
  • For advice and management
  • For specialist to take over management
  • Reassurance for general practitioner or second opinion
  • For a specified test or investigation the general practitioner can't order, or the patient can't afford or access
  • Reassurance for the patient or family
  • For other reason (e.g., rapidly accelerating disease progression)
  • Clinical judgement indicates a referral for specialist review is necessary

Patient's demographic details

  • Full name (including aliases)
  • Date of birth
  • Residential and postal address
  • Phone contact numbers – home, mobile and alternative
  • Medicare number (where eligible)
  • Name of the parent or caregiver (if appropriate)
  • Preferred language and interpreter requirements
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ask the patient their ethnicity

Referring practitioner details

  • Full name
  • Full address
  • Contact details – phone, fax, email
  • Provider number
  • Date of referral
  • Signature
  • Patient's usual general practitioner (if different from above)

Relevant clinical information about the condition

  • Inclusion of Clinical Prioritisation Criteria (CPC) where relevant
  • Presenting symptoms (evolution and duration)
  • Physical findings
  • Investigations carried out and results as indicated in the relevant pathway
  • Details of previous treatment (including systemic and topical medications prescribed) including the course and outcome of the treatment
  • Options already pursued
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Details of any associated medical conditions which may affect the condition or its treatment (e.g. diabetes), noting these must be stable and controlled prior to referral
  • Current medications and dosages
  • Drug allergies
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs use

Clinical modifiers

  • Impact on employment
  • Impact on education
  • Impact on home
  • Impact on activities of daily living
  • Impact on ability to care for others
  • Impact on personal frailty or safety
  • Identifies as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Other relevant information

  • Willingness to have surgery (where surgery is a likely intervention)
  • Choice to be treated as a public or private patient
  • Compensable status (e.g., DVA, WorkCover, motor vehicle insurance)

Essential information for autism spectrum disorder (suspected) referrals

  • Audiology screening (if available)
  • Identify developmental red flags
  • Children aged < 3 years:
    • Completed screening tool M-CHAT
    • If in childcare, a letter outlining learning and behavioural challenges
  • Children aged > 3 years:
    • CAST assessment
    • A letter from school or preschool outlining learning and behavioural challenges

Highly desirable additional information for autism spectrum disorder (suspected) referrals

  • Copies of previous speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, or cognitive assessments (highly desirable)

Information for your patient

Expected time frame for appointment notifications

  • Once the request is received, categorisation by the hospital will occur.
  • General practitioners and patients are notified of the assigned category between 14 days to 1 month after completed request is received.
  • Patients are usually notified of the upcoming appointment time and date approximately 4 weeks prior unless short notice appointments become available.

Appointment information

  • Patients will be given an appointment via phone, SMS, or letter.
  • The patient must contact the hospital to reschedule if they are not able to attend.
  • If the patient fails to respond to 2 appointment offers:
    • They will be discharged back to their general practitioner.
    • They can have a new request for assessment sent to the hospital if the need still exists.
  • The patient's first appointment may not always be with a specialist. Where appropriate, the request may be sent to a public allied health or nursing service for initial assessment and management. A specialist assessment may then be arranged or ruled out.

Ask your patient to:

  • take a list of current medications, and all relevant radiology films and reports to appointments.
  • advise of any change in circumstance (e.g., getting worse or becoming pregnant), as this may affect the request for assessment.
  • update their contact details (e.g., phone number and address) with the hospital.
Last updated: 14 March 2022

Send referral

Specialist Outpatient Department

Fax: 1300 017 155

CQ Fracture/urgent referrals
Fax: (07) 4920 7242

Named referrals

If you would like to send a named referral, please address it to a specialist listed below.


  • Dr Sunday Pam, Department Director
  • Dr Sheshu Roopireddy
  • Dr Upul Perera
  • Dr Vinay Jogia


  • Dr Lloyd Bwanaisa
  • Dr Verangi Herath
  • Dr Sarah Townsend

> view all CQ Health specialists

Service advice

Phone: (07) 4920 7060

Phone: (07) 4976 3359

Capricorn Coast
Phone: (07) 4913 3000

Phone: (07) 4987 9750

Phone: (07) 4913 2800


Find assessment and management information on a range of conditions. Access to HealthPathways is free for clinicians in Central Queensland.

Log in

Request access