AUTISM Assessment Perth

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Identify possible early signs and symptoms of Autism

AUTISM ASSESSMENT PERTH


What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD; Autism for short), is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterised by social interaction difficulties and repetitive, ritualistic, routine behaviours.

The behaviours characteristic of Autism typically appear within the first three years of life with some mothers/parents even reporting that they could tell something was “different” about their child from as early as before they had discharged from hospital after just having given birth.

Asperger’s Disorder is a very similar disorder to Autism with the differentiating feature usually being that the individual with Asperger’s Disorder does not have a language deficit.

Autism is found to be more prevalent in males and the overall prevalence appears to have increased dramatically in the past decade and in some studies has been shown to be as high as 1 in every 68 children.

Many other disorders such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Language Disorder, Specific Learning Disorders, anxiety, depression, etc are often found to be comorbid with Autism.


Autism’s Common Characteristics

As mentioned above, Autism is characterised by social interaction difficulties and repetitive, ritualistic, routine behaviours.

The DSM-5 (published by the American Psychiatric Association, 2013), which is the most widely used mental disorder classification system in the world, and the one followed by the Health and Education organisations in Perth / Western Australia stipulates three core areas for social interaction (Criteria A) and four core areas for repetitive, ritualistic, routine behaviours (Criteria A).

Criteria A:

  1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity (e.g., abnormal social approach; failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; failure to initiate or respond to social interactions).
  2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction (e.g., poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; abnormalities in eye contact and body language; deficits in understanding and use of gestures; total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication).
  3. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships (e.g., difficulties in adjusting behaviour to suit various social contexts; difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; absence of interest in peers).

Criteria B:

  1. Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypes; lining up toys or flipping objects; echolalia; idiosyncratic phrases).
  2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualised patterns of verbal or nonverbal behaviour (e.g., extreme distress at small changes; difficulties with transitions; rigid thinking patterns; greeting rituals; need to take same route or eat same food every day).
  3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects; excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).
  4. Hyper- or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature; adverse response to specific sounds or textures; excessive smelling or touching of objects; visual fascination with lights or movement).

How is Autism Diagnosed?

For an individual to meet the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Autism they must meet all three of criteria A and two or more of Criteria B.

 

For younger children (e.g., approximately 13-14-year-olds and younger) there must be three professionals (Paediatrician/Child Psychiatrist, Registered Psychologist, Speech Pathologist) that all assess the individual and all concur that the individual meets the Autism diagnosis.

 

For adults and the older children (e.g., approx. 14-year-olds and older), where there are no concerns with language, the Speech Pathologist’s involvement is not mandatory, so the assessment is often conducted by the Paediatrician/Child Psychiatrist/Adult Psychiatrist and Registered Psychologist only.

 

Assessments for Autism are the synthesis of information from many areas such as background information, behavioural information, cognitive results, adaptive behaviour results, and clinical interview information.

How is Autism treated?

There are a range of options for the treatment of Autism.

Early intervention is always optimal for any condition, and this is most certainly true for Autism due to the efficacy of interaction being greater the younger the child is identified and begins treatment.

There are also some extra Government resources available for the younger children, so getting an assessment immediately is recommended should you feel that Autism is a possibility.

Booking an Autism Assessment:

If you would like an Autism assessment for your child or for yourself by one of our Registered Psychologists, please ring (08) 9388 8044 and one of our staff will provide all of the information you require.

Just remember – you are never too old to have an Autism Assessment. We are often assessing people in their 20s to 50s who finally get some relief/understanding of where their life’s issues stemmed from.

Contact us today for an Autism assessment.

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