Diagnosis & Assessment
Autism is a complex condition, which can be difficult to understand. You may have noticed things about yourself or a relative which leads you to consider whether a diagnosis might be helpful. You may be unsure whether these signs and symptoms are relevant or in what way a diagnosis could benefit you
How can a diagnosis be of benefit?
People with autism who are well supported and understood according to their individual strengths, needs and preferences have the capacity to achieve rewarding and fulfilling lives and to excel in what they do. As well as confirming a diagnosis, a comprehensive assessment can help us to understand more about how this impacts on you or your relative in everyday life.
- With research and development, there is a growing understanding of how people with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome make sense of the world and process information about their environment. This will vary between individuals who are diagnosed. A comprehensive diagnostic evaluation will help to understand what features or characteristics are particularly relevant for you or your relative.
- A diagnosis may be helpful in obtaining access to relevant support networks and local services, including help with employment.
What further assessments might be beneficial?
- It is important to understand some of the unique ways in which people with autism process cognitive and sensory information or understand aspects of their environment. There are some general areas in which we would expect to see particular strengths and weaknesses, but there are others, which can be more specific to the individual or may vary in type or severity.
- There are a range of specialist psychological assessments that can be helpful in developing a more extensive individual profile. Other professionals, such as speech and language therapists and occupational therapists may offer more detailed assessments of aspects of communication and sensory processing.
How to Obtain a Diagnosis
- Diagnostic services for adults are available through the NHS. Your GP should have information about local services which have been commissioned to provide autism diagnoses and will be able to advise you. If you are unsure about whether an autism diagnostic assessment may be right for you or your relative, Liz Keenan may able to offer a consultation to help you decide.
- Liz Keenan is also able to offer a diagnostic assessment using the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO) developed by Lora Wing and Judith Gould at the Centre for Social and Communication disorders. This involves completing a detailed semi structured interview with someone who owns the person well, preferably from infancy as well as further psychological assessments and interviews with the person undergoing a diagnostic evaluation.
- Liz Keenan is also able to offer further psychological assessments to explore differences in the way the person processes information and ways in which this impacts on the ability to carry out everyday tasks and activities. Alternatively these can be offered as a post diagnostic assessment to build on information from a recent or past diagnostic assessment.
How We Can Help Now
Information about autistic spectrum conditions is constantly evolving. At PFA we aim to keep in touch with new developments through local and national networks and through our links with autism researchers and people whose lives are affected by autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. This helps us to design and deliver a range of bespoke services, which are current, relevant and drawn from best practice. For more information about any of our services click below: