Definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
ASD is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition and whilst all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live independent and successful lives, whereas others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, taste, smell, light or colour.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding social situations and processing language.
Signs and symptoms of ASD
The condition can cause a wide range of symptoms, the main ones being:
Problems and difficulties with social interaction, such as a lack of understanding and awareness of other peoples’ emotions and feelings.
Impaired language and communication skills, such as delayed language development and an inability to start conversations or take part in them properly.
Unusual patterns of thought and physical behaviour.
This includes making repetitive physical movements, such as hand tapping or twisting. Set routines of behaviour may develop and upset can be caused if the routines are broken.
For children this can often result in an obsession over a type of toy or type of food.
For adults it can result in difficulty when placed in social situations such as a party.
Treatment of ASD
At present there is no ‘cure’ for ASD, however treatment often comes in the form of different types of therapies, such as educational and behavioural programmes.
An initial one hour assessment followed by two further hours of assessment are necessary.
If there are no other psychiatric conditions present, no further appointments will be required. Reports will be sent to relevant parties (including school and GP) ONLY if in agreement after the initial assessment.
During this two hour assessment we will cover the points below:
3Di screening tool administered after the initial assessment.
ADOS screening tool during this assessment.
Psycoeducation strategies will be offered.
If Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or family therapy is necessary a referral will be made.
Dr. Giovanni Giaroli MD MSc PGDipCAT