Help for Psychology offers an independent assessment and diagnosis service for adults who are suspected of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder, including Aspergers and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).
We offer two different assessments for adults. The first is a diagnostic opinion, which is aimed at adults who merely wish to understand themselves better. The other is a full multi-disciplinary assessment following NICE Guidelines, which is more suitable for adults who may wish to access local services for support post diagnosis.
Full multi-disciplinary assessment
For those who wish to undertake a full assessment the process is as follows:
- A meeting with the individual to establish current levels of functioning and motivation for seeking a diagnosis.
- A meeting with a parent/caregiver (where available) to obtain a full developmental history
- A pragmatic (social use of) language assessment by a Speech and Language Therapist
- A sensory screen
- An assessment of social interaction using the ADOS Module Four
- In addition, we can also carry out an optional Cognitive Assessment to establish areas of strength or difficulty (see further details below).
Following all assessments we produce a very comprehensive report (including recommendations) which can be shared as required. As we follow the NICE guidelines, our independent assessments should be accepted by both the local NHS teams and the Local Authority.
This involves a shorter assessment and takes place with a Clinical Psychologist, and includes the following:
- The taking of a full developmental history
- Carrying out a sensory and communication screen
- Providing a diagnostic opinion and brief report.
Please note – a diagnostic opinion is aimed at those individuals who are looking for a better understanding of the way they present. It does not provide a formal diagnosis.
Adult assessment options
(Available with both a full assessment and a diagnostic opinion)
- Cognitive Assessment – using the WAIS-IV A cognitive assessment is not an essential part of an autism assessment but it can be very useful. Most adults have reasonably similar abilities in the different areas of the assessment (e.g. verbal and non-verbal reasoning, working memory and processing speed). Many individuals on the autistic spectrum will have an uneven or ‘spiky’ profile of strengths and difficulties. Some may be extremely able verbally but struggle in many other areas. They may have difficulties retaining and manipulating information or copying information off the board. Others may have significant language difficulties but process non-verbal information much more efficiently. Results of a cognitive assessment can be shared with college or university tutors to support a request for additional support, or with employers to explain why certain tasks may be difficult.
- The Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System (ABAS™ – II) – The ABAS™ is a questionnaire based assessment, which provides a comprehensive, norm-referenced assessment of the adaptive skills of an individual. Adaptive skills, as measured by the ABAS™, are defined as practical, everyday skills required to function and meet environmental demands, including the skills necessary to effectively and independently take care of oneself and the skills necessary to interact with other people. Ten specific Adaptive Skills are measured by the ABAS™; Communication, Community Use, Functional Academics, Home Living, Health and Safety, Leisure, Self-Care, Self-Direction, Social skills and Work. Measurement of an individual’s adaptive or functional skills is an important part of a diagnostic assessment, alongside the measurement of cognitive skills, as it indicates an individual’s level of actual disability in everyday life.
A Guide to Mental Health Issues in Girls and Young Women on the Autism Spectrum: Diagnosis, Intervention and Family Support
This book addresses the specific mental health needs of girls and young women with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Looking at the ways autism presents differently in girls than in boys, and the mental health conditions that occur most frequently in girls with ASD, this is the essential guide for clinicians and educators on tailoring interventions and support to meet girls’ needs.
Describing the current assessment process for autism diagnosis, the book explains why girls are under-