An Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disorder, present from earliest childhood . Individuals on the autistic spectrum have difficulties with social communication and social interaction. They may find it difficult to read people’s facial expressions, to interact with more than one person at a time, to meet new people and to interpret social cues. This can sometimes lead to feelings of social isolation. Many people with ASD have very specific interests they get absorbed in and may find change and unpredictability difficult. In addition, people with ASD often have sensory sensitivities – they may find bright lights, loud and competing noises, certain foods and textures/materials/temperatures particularly uncomfortable or overwhelming. ASD is really a spectrum of disorders, meaning individuals with ASD may present very differently depending on their specific difficulties or differences. Additionally, females with ASD may present differently to males with ASD.
Many individuals with ASD experience associated difficulties such as anxiety, depression, OCD, relationship difficulties, social isolation, substance misuse and self-neglect.
People often feel a sense of relief to finally have a reason for the lifelong difficulties they have had. They may also feel disappointed that they weren’t diagnosed earlier in life and therefore feel they didn’t get the help they needed then. Getting a diagnosis as an adult can allow people to access additional sources of support at work, university or college and in your everyday life. There may also be strategies or aids that can help with sensory issues and local support groups.
Our ASD assessments take place over 4 sessions and involve assessment by both a psychiatrist and a psychologist. This includes a structured clinical interview, a full developmental history, completion of a series of questionnaires, an interview with someone who knows you well (preferably someone who knew you when you were a child- this can be done by telephone), a feedback session and a full report detailing the assessment and conclusions. People who receive an ASD diagnosis will also receive a letter confirming their diagnosis which they can give to employers/universities that does not include confidential or personal information that it is not necessary for them to know.
If we think there is a different reason or additional reasons you are having difficulties, we will discuss this with you and offer advice and/or signposting to potential sources of support and/or for additional assessment.
It is possible, when clinician availability allows, for this assessment to be completed over the course of one day. Please let us know if this would be your preference. There will likely be a small additional charge for this.