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.
Each doctor at our centre has their own approach to assessments and treatment, and may tailor their approach depending on the patient's clinical presentation.
Formal diagnosis of Autism may require more specialised assessment appointments to undertake an ADI-R or 3Di-sv interview, and an ADOS-2 assessment with the patient. Please contact our office for further details or ask our doctor during an appointment.
Please find below an outline of potential elements that may form part of the assessment process:
Some questionnaires may be required to be completed by yourself or other 3rd parties (such as your child's teacher(s) if you are in agreement), during the assessment appointment(s) process.
(For children) we require any contact with school to be arranged via yourself, and our doctor nor office will contact your child's school directly.
Weight, height, pulse and blood pressure may potentially be taken (if applicable), or if the appointment is via Zoom, you may be asked to arrange this before or after an appointment.
Depending on the patient's (and family's) medical history, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and/or blood tests may be required. If so, any such tests are not included within our centre's fees and are payable directly to the relevant clinics whom undertake them.
Psychoeducation strategies may be offered and in addition some written resources may be provided.
Medication may potentially be discussed and prescribed during the assessment process if relevant consent obtained.
Further assessment appointments such as potentially an ADI-R or 3Di-sv interview and an ADOS-2 assessment may be required. If so, these assessments would be an additional charge. Please contact our office for further information.