There’s a saying within the care industry, ‘if you’ve met someone with autism, then you’ve met one person with autism.’...
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
There is growing public awareness of the existence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but it is still important to clarify exactly what it is, as misconceptions are common. ASD is a relatively common neurodevelopmental disorder (around 1 in 68 children) with two main clusters of symptoms: a difficulty in communicating and interacting in social settings, and behavioural patterns that tend to be repetitive and restricted. ASD is known as a “spectrum” disorder as people with the condition vary greatly in terms of how severe their symptoms are, and how much they disrupt their everyday life. While some people with ASD also have learning disabilities, many others display high academic performance.
Although ASD symptoms are first manifested in early childhood, people with milder versions of the condition may not be diagnosed until they reach adulthood, by which stage they have typically developed a range of coping mechanisms on their own. However, many of them continue to struggle in the area of making friends or sustaining friendships, in romantic relationships, and in a range of social scenarios. People with ASD can also suffer from other disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
While it is never too late to diagnose ASD and to start taking steps to improve a patient’s quality of life, the earlier the diagnosis takes place, the better. Children as young as two can be given a reliable diagnosis by a mental health professional. When assessing a child or an adult, a psychologist uses one or more of a range of tests, such as the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale or the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised test, which (in the case of children) include a detailed interview with the child’s parents about their behaviour and early childhood development.
There are many treatments available that can help to minimise the condition’s impact on the patient’s life. Speech and language therapy, learning social skills, and occupational therapy can all make a big difference. When the patient is a child, parents can be taught special techniques to help them to develop their social skills.
What can we offer to support ASD?
We can provide a reliable diagnosis for both children and adults. The better we understand you or your child’s experience, the easier it will be to create an approach for managing it as effectively as possible. Many people experience a sense of relief when the difficulties they may have been living with are finally given a name.
The treatments we offer children and adults with ASD include cognitive behavioural therapy, social skills training, emotional regulation and impulse control, and practical guidance and coaching. A tailored combination of these approaches assists individuals with ASD to understand and interact better with others, and manage the difficulties associated with ASD.
What is the ADOS-2?
What is the ADI-R?
ADOS-2 vs ADI-R?
What options are there for ASD assessments?
How do I book an ASD assessment?