More and more adults are being diagnosed with ASD, as public knowledge and understanding of the condition has begun to grow in recent years. Many adults seek a diagnostic assessment as they did not have access to services when they were children. Other’s feel their symptoms were misinterpreted as behavioural or mental health difficulties. As access to information has increased via modern technology and the internet, adults who have lived with the feeling of being 'a bit different' and ‘just not getting social situations right’ are now able to conduct research into their own traits and behaviours and many come across the idea that they may be on the Autistic Spectrum. Receiving a diagnosis in your adult years can be a mixed experience, many people feel an overwhelming sense of relief as they can finally put a name to all the difficulties they have been facing. Others feel sad that it has taken so many years to receive their diagnosis.
The Assessment Process: What to Expect
ASD is diagnosed by gathering evidence from an individual, their loved one’s and by completing a clinical assessment. Currently, there is no blood test or brain scan that can test for ASD. It is a bit like a jigsaw, gathering pieces of information from different sources to see if the picture looks like ASD or if the symptoms can be better explained by something else, for example, anxiety. In order to provide a 'gold-standard' service, we have chosen to use a range of clinically recognised tools. Below is a guide to how our assessments proceed:
Stage 1: Phone Consultation
The first stage of our assessment process involves a brief phone consultation with a clinical psychologist. The purpose of this consultation is to give you the opportunity to discuss your reasons for seeking an ASD assessment and to answer any questions you may have about the assessment process. This consultation is free and is to determine whether or not you are happy to proceed with the full assessment.
Stage 2: The Core Assessment
For the next part of the assessment, you will be invited to attend a morning or afternoon session at The Edinburgh Practice. This session will last approximately 3-4 hours. To begin with, we will need to complete an assessment to look at your language and problem solving skills. This is to rule out any difficulties you may have with learning. Following this, there will be a structured interview, asking you a mixture of questions about relationships, interests and how you feel about things, combined with some tasks that will be explained thoroughly at the start of the assessment.
Part of the assessment involves gathering information from others that know you well (e.g. parent, sibling, partner, boss) so it may be helpful to bring them along on the day. However, if this is not possible, with your permission the psychologist will contact them for this information over the phone.
Once all of this information is gathered, you will be provided with feedback on whether or not you meet the criteria for ASD.
Stage 3: Diagnosis, Report & Recommendations
Once all of the information is gathered, you will be invited back to the practice to discuss the conclusion of the assessment. This is also an opportunity to ask questions and plan which supports will best meet your needs. For many individuals, the desire to explore whether they have ASD or not will be driven by a current change in mood or circumstances. There will be information to signpost you to relevant support services if indicated. Also, for many newly diagnosed adults, the impact of chronically misinterpreting social situations and feeling different from others over the years, may have impacted on their self-esteem. Information about local ASD support services and psychoeducational material helping to adjust to a diagnosis of ASD will be given. A full report will also be provided.
Full ASD Assessment (incl. comprehensive report) £1500