Diagnostic & Assessment Centre


Diagnostic & Assessment Centre


The process of getting an initial diagnosis of autism or even a follow up assessment is daunting for children and their families.

Helen Appleton 

Helen Appleton 

National Director of Student and Psychological Services

Helen Appleton is the Director of The Assessment and Diagnostic Centre. Helen has worked at Giant Steps since 2005 focusing particularly on behaviour support, crisis management, family resourcing and working with and training other agencies in best practice techniques in working with children with autism.

Helen has a special interest in autism, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities and mental health concerns for young people. She has presented at both national and international conferences on her work with siblings of children with autism and runs an extensive sibling support program at Giant Steps.

Helen has a Bachelor’s Degree of Science majoring in Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Helen is also an Associate Member of APS (Australian Psychological Society).

Children with autism are generally uncomfortable in new spaces or with novel people, cannot sit still for long periods of time and struggle with the verbal instructions that make up most formal assessments.

For parents the diagnostic process is just as confronting, with the combination of fear and hope that comes with a formal assessment.

The Stepping Stones D&A Centre aims to provide families with a formal diagnostic process that minimises the stress and difficulties often associated with the assessment procedure. Assessments are completed by Giant Steps therapists, who have considerable experience working with young people with autism and developmental delays.

Assessments can be for initial diagnosis, progress reviews or formal reporting for school or service access. The assessment process includes on-site observations and use of standardised tests, parent interviews/feedback and off-site visits as needed.

Assessment Examples of Tests Used Cost (inc gst)
Autism Assessment ADOS $650
Psychometric Development Assessment Stanford Binet 5, Griffiths, ABAS, Vinelands $650
Speech Assessment CELF 4 $550
Occupational Therapy Assessment AMPS $550

Neil Nicoll  –  Consultant Psychologist

Neil Nicoll has worked as an Educational and Developmental Psychologist for some 30 years. Neil has an extensive background in the assessment, diagnosis, and management of children with a range of developmental delays and disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, and a range of other genetic and chromosomal disorders including VCFS. Neil is currently employed in his own private practice, and has been so for a number of years. Neil has also worked in research at the Children’s Hospital Education Research Institute, and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in the context of disabling conditions. Neil in his past has fulfilled the role New South Wales chair of the College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists.

Mr Nicoll has also been involved in the training of many Psychologists and Medical Practitioners in relation to the assessment and diagnosis of children with developmental delays and disorders. He has presented at both national and international conferences and has supervised other psychologists in relation to developmental psychology.

We aim to provide families with a formal diagnostic process that minimises the stress and difficulties often associated with the assessment procedure.


Please support Giant Steps through a tax deductible donation and help change the lives of children and young and adults with autism.

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