What does Autism Spectrum Disorder look like?
Characteristics of ASD include:
- Finding social situations difficult
- Finding it difficult to make friends
- Disliking small talk
- Finding it difficult to work out what other people are feeling
- Preferring to talk about oneself or a favourite topic of interest
- Being unintentionally rude
- Being good at identifying details and facts
- Being able to focus for long periods of time
- Having intense, narrow interests
- Preferring routines
- Being hypersensitive or hyposensitive to sensory stimuli
What is ASD?
According to the diagnostic criteria, ASD is characterised by impairments in two core areas:
• Persistent deficits in social-communication and social interaction
• Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities
Criteria for the diagnosis of ASD are often taken from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Under DSM-5 and ICD-11. ‘Asperger Syndrome’ which previously referred to those with better-developed cognitive abilities, is now incorporated under the umbrella term of ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’.
What does an assessment involve?
- A general questionnaire is completed by the client.
- Screening questionnaires (the AQ and EQ) are completed by the client and a parent or other close relative completes the RQ if possible.
- A decision is then made about whether to conduct a diagnostic interview.
- The diagnostic interview involves a discussion about issues including key concerns, independent living skills, mental and physical health, and education or work.
- The interview also involves the completion of the Diagnostic Autism Spectrum Interview (DASI).
- It is usually possible to determine whether a client meets the criteria for a diagnosis of ASD on the day of the assessment.
- A detailed report is produced explaining the findings of the assessment and providing recommendations.
Further information about Autistic Spectrum Disorder is available from the National Autistic Society.