Autism

Introduction

 

Autism is developmental condition which affects the way a child socialises and communicates. They may have rigid thought processes and /- or repetitive behaviours.  No two children on the Autism spectrum are the same: there is a spectrum of presentation. Autism is not always easy to recognise particularly in girls and teenagers where they are able to mask a lot of symptoms.

Autism has been known by many different names. These include High Functioning Autism, Asperger's Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Condition etc. Since May 2013, all forms of Autism have been recognised using the single term Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to the new classification system, the  DSM-5. This is the term most commonly used by many clinicians in UK as well.

A lot of children and young people are misunderstood and parents are often blamed for the child's behaviours. Families have felt let down due to a poor understanding of their child, in various settings. Some children struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression before they are even considered to have Autism.

It is believed that Autism affects 1 in 100 individuals. However, data from the US suggests that it is even more common than that. 

 

Medical Conditions associated with Autism

There are a number of conditions that can co-exist with Autism. The presence of other conditions can sometimes mask the presentation of Autism. Therefore, experienced clinicians are required to uncover the complex presentation of Autism.

 

The common medical conditions that coexist with Autism include:

  • Global Developmental Delay or Learning Disability

  • Dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination Disorder 

  • Epilepsy

  • Chromosomal Disorders and syndromes etc.

Therefore assessment by a medically trained expert is required to identify them

 

Functional and Behavioural problems associated with Autism

Children  with Autism may also have  functional and/or mental health and/or behavioural problems:

Functional Problems and Disorders

  • Eating Disorders such as Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

  • Urinary Incontinence

  • Faecal Incontinence

  • Sleep Disorders

 

Mental health and Behaviour Problems and Disorders:

  • ADHD

  • Anxiety and Phobias

  • Mood Disorders

  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder

  • Tics or Tourette Syndrome

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

  • Self-Injurious behaviours

  • Pathological Demand Avoidant Profile is being increasingly recognised by expert clinicians 

Therefore an expert assessment is recommended to uncover the possibility of these conditions

 

Autism Assessment 

The assessment of Autism includes:

  • A detailed history of the child’s development and presentation

  • Medical examination 

  • Observation/ information from more than one setting such as educational setting if applicable or information from other professionals involved is helpful

  • Blood tests and investigations are not routinely indicated but  may be necessary depending on individual presentation

  • Use of Autism specific tools as necessary

​​There are a number of Autism specific tools that can be used for assessment. These include but are not limited to:

  • ADOS-2

  • ADI-R

  • 3Di

There is an increasing trend of using modifications of  these tools using tele-consultation as a part of diagnostic assessment of Autism internationally.

The newer technology based assessments include:

  • Brief Observation of Symptoms of Autism (BOSA) for all ages pre-verbal through to fluent speech

  • Tele-ASD-PEDS for pre-verbal children

Assessment for Autism can be complicated and very lengthy; we are here to make this process simple and easy and tailored to your child.

We assess for all forms of Autism including classic childhood Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Condition, High Functioning Autism and Autism in girls.​


Using standardised assessment tools, we assess your child and provide you with comprehensive reports and suggest strategies, that meet the needs of your child. Additionally when requested, we are able to provide a profile of your child such as demand avoidant. 

 We are trained in all these Autism assessment tools including newly introduced tele-consultation methods.

During the assessment if any other needs become apparent then we would recommend further condition specific assessment. 

 

Autism Management

Autism is a lifelong condition. Early intervention and support has been shown to have a positive impact on the child’s development and outcomes. Education of those caring for children with Autism has an important role in improving lives of those affected by Autism.

 

The amount of support required varies from individual to individual and across the life span. The condition requires reasonable adjustments to be made by those who are in contact with individuals on the autism spectrum.

 

Role of Health

  • Establish accurate diagnosis in a timely manner

  • Identify of other conditions that may be associated with Autism

  • Management of conditions such as ADHD, Sleep Difficulties and Aggression

  • Management and advice on sensory and co-ordination issues 

  • Advise and support parents and other professionals 

  • Support the individual with Autism

  • Contribute to Education Health and Care Plan assessment etc.

  • Contribute and support applications for Disability Living Allowance etc.

  • Coordination with other agencies such as education and social care.

 

Role of Education

According to the Special Education Needs and Disability Code of Practice, education settings should make reasonable adjustments for children and young people with Autism.

The Autism Education Trust provides a rich source of information advice and support for schools and educational authorities.

Role of Social Care

There are a range of benefits that may be available to families with children who have a diagnosis of Autism. These include Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance etc. This information can be obtained at the Citizen Advice Bureau. Alternatively your health visitor can support you.

Each local authority publishes their Local Offer that helps parents navigate through the services available locally for children and young people with Autism and other special education needs and disabilities.

Opening Hours

Mon – Fri 17.00 – 20.00

Saturday 09.00 – 13.00

Sunday 09.00 – 10.00

Contact Details

Location

Autism Doctor

Neurodevelopmental Services Private Limited 

Spire Bushey Hospital

Heathbourne Road

Bushey

Hertfordshire, WD23 1RD

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