Autism spectrum disorder
See your GPor health visitor if your child is showing symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) , or you're worried about their development.
If appropriate, your GP can refer you to a healthcare professional or team who specialise in diagnosing ASD, or someone who has access to such a team.
The specialist or specialist team will make a more in-depth assessment, which shouldbe started within three months of the referral.
If you're referred to an individual specialist, they may be a:
Some local health authorities use multidisciplinary teams. These are a combination of specialists who work together to make an assessment.
Adiagnosis of ASD is based on the range of features your child is showing.
For most children:
In addition, for some children:
Once this process is complete, a diagnosis of ASD may be confirmed.
When a child is diagnosed with ASD, many parents are keen to find out as much as they can about the condition.The National Autistic Society has an excellent range of resources and advice.
Some people with ASD grow up without their condition being recognised, but it's never too late to get a diagnosis. Some people may be scared of being diagnosed because they feel it will "label" them, and lower other people's expectations of them.
But there are several advantages to getting a diagnosis. Ithelps people with the condition and their families understand ASD and decide what sort of support they need. A diagnosis may also make it easier to access autism-specific services and claim benefits.
See your GP if you think you may have ASD and ask them to refer you to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. The National Autistic Society website has information about being diagnosed with ASD if you're an adult .
If you're already seeing a specialist for other reasons, you may want to ask them for a referral instead.
You can also read the NICE guidelines about the recognition, referral, diagnosis and management of adults on the autism spectrum (PDF, 267kb) .
The characteristics of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) can vary both from person to person and across different environments. They can also be different for the same person at different times in their life.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behavior. There's no "cure" for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support and other interventions.
The main features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are problems with social communication and interaction. Signs of ASD include: frequent repetition of set words and phrases, speech that sounds very monotonous or flat, preferring to communicate using single words, despite being able to speak in sentences, etc.
The exact cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently unknown. It's a complex condition and may occur as a result of genetic predisposition (a natural tendency), environmental or unknown factors.
See your GP or health visitor if your child is showing symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or you're worried about their development. Some people with ASD grow up without their condition being recognised, but it's never too late to get a diagnosis.
There's no 'cure' for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, a range of specialist educational and behavioural programmes can help children with ASD.
Adults with ASD may also benefit from some of the treatments offered to children with ASD, such as psychological therapy and medication. Adults with ASD can live in all types of housing.
Daniel Weston, who has autism, experienced a transformation since taking up tandem cycling with his dad, Pat. "Daniels major impairment is social and communications skills, which affects his life drastically," says his mother.
Sarah Ridout lives in Exeter. At the age of 23, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum. "I'm passionate about raising awareness, particularly within the police force. I'm a member of the force's Disability Forum." she says.
Aly Gynn was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a disorder on the autistic spectrum, at the age of 45, although he had suspected for some time that he had the condition.