Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a pervasive developmental disorder that impacts development across the lifespan.
Social communication, restricted interests and behaviours and sensory processing differences are the main areas of development affected. The cause of ASD is currently not known.
The term ‘spectrum’ is used to indicate that no two people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are the same. This is why it is important to ensure that intervention is individualised to achieve best possible outcomes and it is important to ensure intervention is individualised to support best possible outcomes.
Helping someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder begins with acceptance, knowledge and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder and the individual.
The following signs could be indicators of ASD which may impact someone’s behaviour and development. No single indicator typically indicates ASD, instead a person would present with a number of the following indicators.
In South Australia, a formal ASD diagnosis requires two accredited clinicians (psychologist, speech pathologist, psychiatrist or a paediatrician). Assessments can be conducted by a team of two clinicians in one setting (dual assessment), or by two individual clinicians across different settings.
Assessments involve interactions with and observations of the person, as well as gathering information from caregivers and educators. The information is then carefully considered against the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
Connect Allied Health offers a dual assessment, and can also work with clinicians in other settings. A dual assessment is completed over one session, and is typically 4 hours in duration. Dual assessment locations are in Campbelltown and Hallett Cove.
During the assessment, one clinician performs the caregiver interview and the other observes the person during play.
Following information gathering, clinicians determine whether the client meets the criteria for a diagnosis of ASD. Following a 30-minute break, a feedback session is provided to discuss results and recommendations. A full, comprehensive report is then completed and provided to the family.
Receiving a diagnosis of ASD provides information regarding an individual’s strengths and differences, which can help clients and families better understand certain behaviours or areas of difficulty. This in turn can facilitate improved support for individuals with ASD. It can also help facilitate access to specific services.