Assessments for ASD and ADHD
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, language and communication, interests and behaviour. The symptoms will be present before the age of three but often a child will not get a diagnosis until primary school, and for some children the condition is not diagnosed until secondary school.
At FITZCAF we use evidence based diagnostic tools to assess for ASD, as recommended by National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines. We meet with the young person and family for an initial multidisciplinary assessment to consider whether further specialist assessment of ASD is required. We may also ask parents and or the young person to complete some screening questionnaires. If further assessment is appropriate, we may reccommend that we undertake an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule ( ADOS-2). The ADOS-2 is a play based assessment which is based on level of spoken language, with more verbal tasks when language is fluent. In addition we take a full developmental history of the young person with parent/s or carer/s. With permission, we may also have a discussion with the young person’s school and, where helpful, arrange to observe him/her at school.
Following assessment we provide a full report, and a further appointment to feed back the outcome . If a diagnosis of ASDis given, we offer support around discussing the diagnosis with the young person and other professionals involved their care. We also consider whether therapeutic support would be helpful, and if so what type.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterised by high levels of inattention and distractibility, impulsivity and hyperactivity and restlessness, beyond what would be expected for the child’s age. Signs and symptoms of ADHD typically appear before the age of 7, with them being most prominent in primary school and boys are more commonly affected than girls. ADHD is a pervasive developmental disorder, so for a diagnosis to be given difficulties have to be seen in more than one setting (e.g. at home and at school).
At FITZCAF we use a range of tools to help decide if a diagnosis of ADHD is the most appropriate way to understand a child or young person’s needs. We meet both the young person and their family, take a full developmental history, and may also use screening questionnaires. With permission, we may also liaise with school staff who know the child or young person, and undertake an observation of the child or young person in their school environment, to help us get a sense of what he/she is like outside our consulting room.
Following this, a full assessment report is provided, plus a further appointment to feed back the outcome of the assessment. If a diagnosis of ADHD is given, we offer support to discuss the diagnosis with the young person and other professionals, and advise whether support for parents could be beneficial. Should parents or the young person wish to discuss whether a trial of medication could be helpful, one of our associate Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists can join to think this through further.