What to expect from an Autism Assessment
Neurodevelopmental Assessments are incredibly beneficial for children and adults because they help us understand our strengths and difficulties. This article gives you more information about what ASD assessments are and when they are useful tools.
Why is it important to get an Autism Assessment?
There is currently no known single cause of Autism but an early diagnosis can help children because it means the people around them understand their strengths and difficulties and they therefore can enjoy the right support at home and in school.
We also offer Autism Assessments for adults and we are seeing more and more adults coming into Evolve for assessments. It is never too late to be assessed because it can help in so many ways. We find clients say that the assessment gave them a great understanding of themselves. They could go onto make better choices, get closure on a feeling they always had or gain a greater understanding on why they feel or act in a certain way.
What is Autism Spectrum Condition?
Autism Spectrum Conditions or ASD is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and how they experience the world around them. ASC is a complex, lifelong developmental condition that typically appears during early childhood and impacts on social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation.
One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. The National Autistic Society
There is a growing awareness around Autism through more documentaries, tv shows and articles in the media and we are increasingly seeing a celebrations of neurodiversity.
Sites like the NHS offer a lot of information around autism so please visit the NHS site to find out more : What is autism? , Signs of autism
The National Autistic Society and The Guardian are also rich in resources, personal accounts and information that families, young people and adults may find useful.
Content Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
What are the core features of Autism?
Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviours and is a “spectrum condition” which means it affects people differently, to varying degrees.
The core features are present in early childhood but they often go unnoticed until something big happens. For example a change that leads to new social demands can exceed their ability to cope and that’s when you see a change in behaviour. This basically means when there is too much change and too many unknowns and someone who may have been able to cope before, suddenly can’t because their coping strategies no longer work.
- Persistent differences in communication, interpersonal relationships, and social interaction across different environments.
– Speech and language difficulties (including an absence of speech),
– Unusual accents or speech patterns
– Trouble understanding and using nonverbal communication (body language)
– Difficulty making and keeping friends
– Difficulty maintaining typical back-and-forth conversational style
- Restricted and repetitive behaviour, patterns, activities, and interests.
– Repeating sounds or phrases
– Repetitive movements
– Preference for sameness and difficulty with changes of routine
– Rigid or highly restricted and intense interests
– Extreme or significantly lower sensitivity to various sensory stimuli such as noises
For more information around ASC then please visit Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) :: Healthier Together (what0-18.nhs.uk)
What is an Autism (ASD) assessment?
We offer a gold standard comprehensive multidisciplinary Autism Assessments for adults and children which typically take 6-8 weeks to complete.
The Autism Assessments are useful for adults and children to gain an understanding of the individual’s strengths and difficulties following the guidelines set out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (N.I.C.E)
The Autism assessment includes:
- Full developmental assessment which focuses on developmental and behavioural features ( DSM-5 criteria)
- Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) to gain a thorough understanding of the young person’s strengths and difficulties.
- This is an assessment of social communication skills & behaviours and speech & language
- School observation and school input
What are Neurodevelopmental Screenings appointments?
If you are unsure about where to start then an initial screening appointments can be a good starting point.
During a screening we look at the following areas :
- Discussing reasons for the assessment
- Talking through the assessment processes
- Discussing possible outcomes from the assessment
- Gaining an understanding of the young person’s presenting difficulties
- Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of assessment and/ or diagnosis
- Completion of screening questionnaires at home and by school
- Individual time with the young person and parents
- Consideration of the most appropriate assessments to be undertaken by the team
At the end of screening we provide a summary report with recommendations. This may include a full assessment or other strategies.
Who is in the ASD Assessment team?
We approach all assessments as a multi disciplinary team.
Our teams include Consultant Psychiatrist, Forensic and Clinical Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist and Senior Mental Health Practitioner. The team includes an Assistant Psychologist who may undertake some observation or information gathering.
Are ASD Assessments face to face or online?
We offer face to face assessments and undertaking school observations.
What happens after the ASD assessment?
At the end of the assessment you will have a feedback session to fully discuss the outcomes of the assessment. You will also receive your gold standard report which includes strategies, resources and recommendations . The report is incredibly useful as an ongoing referral tool and we recommend it be shared with schools and GPs where appropriate.
We also offer ongoing support with therapeutic management services for families, children, young people and adults . (Emotional Wellbeing therapy services)
We also now offer support workshops for families which are available online in group format or privately as family workshop sessions.
The sessions are part of a 10 week program where parents and families work with qualified practitioners to understand ASC, symptoms, behaviours and develop strategies to manage behaviours.
This is a service not offered from other statutory services, and we currently have no waiting times.
For details click here
Find out more about Autism Spectrum Conditions and about why less girls are getting diagnoses than boys in our blog on Girls masking ASD
You may also find the blog on Visual Guides and Social Stories (TM) useful