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AUTISM Information on assessment and treatment

  • Autism is a neurodevelopmental  disorder causing difficulties in communication and in social relationships associated with a narrow range of interests and repetitive activities. It can manifest in a various ways and is commonly known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This includes Classic autism and Aspergers syndrome 

  • Autism is a spectrum of disorders and can manifest in various ways in different people. They share difficulties in certain areas such as –

    Social communication

    They can have difficulty understanding verbal and non-verbal language when interacting with others. Some people have a too-literal understanding of other peoples speech. They can struggle to understand subtle changes in tone and gestures during conversations.

    Social interaction 

    Autistic people can have difficulty understanding other peoples emotional states as well as their own . They can come across as uncaring and indifferent to others . They have trouble making friends and find social situations awkward.

    Repetitive behaviours and routines 

    Autistic people often have highly ritualised behaviours such as carrying out daily activites  in a set way. All of us can have routines in our lives to enable to carry out tasks in an efficent way such as when getting ready in the morning , however the routines in autistic people sometimes appear to not be productive in that way.

    Restricted interests

    Many autistic people have restricted interests which can vary from collecting objects to playing videogames. It is the unusual amount of time devoted to such interests to the detriment of social and other obligations that differentiate this problem.

    Sensitivities to stimuli

    Often autistic people can be unsually over- or under- senstitive to stimulus such as sounds, lights, touch etc.

  • The causes of autism is still being investigated. It is believed that abnormalities in genes can be responsible for some types of autism. These genetic factors interact with environmental influences to affect brain development thus leading to features of autism.

  • Diagnosis of Autism requires a comprehensive assessment by a clinician who has expertise in autism. This involves a detailed developmental history using tools such as the DISCO assessment.

    The assessment process with Dr Thomas will involve a clinical interview supplemented with questionnaires if required .  It will be a diagnostic assessment based on standard clinical diagnostic criteria. Any additional information from a parent or someone who knows you quite well would be helpful but we understand that this is not always available. You will receive a full report following the assessment. Depending on the outcome of the assessment Dr Thomas will discuss his recommendations including signposting to various agencies including psychology if required.

    If you would like to discuss your concerns, functioning or to determine if a full assessment is needed you could choose to have an initial consultation. The cost of the initial consultation will be deducted from the cost of the full assessment.

  • There is no cure for autism .However there are various interventions that can help to improve the lives of people with autism. The National autistic society have provided further information on the range of interventions that may be of benefit.


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