Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder identified by deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts such as social emotional reciprocity, non-verbal communication and in developing, maintaining and understanding relationships.
Spectrum severity is based on a formal and standardised assessment of social communication impairment s and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour (These may include stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, adherence to routines in the use of objects or speech, lining up toys, flipping objects, echolalia and idiosyncratic phrases.) There may also be an insistence on sameness, resistance to change, highly restricted or fixated interests such as taking the same route or eating the same food. There can also be hyper or hypo reactivity to sensory inputs and an indifference to pain or temperature or a hightened sensitivity to sound s or texture which can include smelling and touching. Each person presents with a different profile and presentation.
A diagnosis can be made with or without an accompanying intellectual impairment or a language impairment.
Autism is diagnosed by a specialist psychologist with advanced qualifications and training in this specialised area of developmental psychology using the diagnostic criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association in it s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Our specialists are skilled in identifying and assessing the Autism Spectrum and its range of individualised presentations.
The assessment report also requires a cognitive assessment (IQ test) and may require a speech pathology report if language problems are evident.