Getting a diagnosis for autism helps define the difficulties your child is experiencing, giving greater understanding, support and control.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder, characterised by difficulties with social communication, interacting with others and restrictive or repetitive behaviours or interests.
The term ‘spectrum’ means that the characteristics of ASD will vary, often wildly, between individuals. So, there may be a child at one end of the Autism spectrum who is nonverbal with learning disabilities and at the other end, there may be a child with a high IQ, who is highly articulate
Signs of Autism
In some children, the signs of autism are very obvious and they may be diagnosed with ASD from an early age. But for other children, the symptoms of autism are more subtle and harder to pick up.
Some children have certain strengths that enable them to mask some of their difficulties with social communication and interaction – these can make it harder when you are thinking of seeking a formal diagnosis.
Some early indicators, or ‘Red Flags’ that require follow up from a professional include:
- No babbling or pointing by age 1
- No single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
- No response to name
- Loss of language or social skills
- Poor eye contact
- Excessive lining up of toys or objects
- No smiling or social responsiveness
Indicators that you might find with older children
- Impaired ability to make friends with peers
- Absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
- Stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
- Restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
- Preoccupation with certain objects or subject inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
We offer Multidisciplinary ASD Assessments for children (toddler-18 years) who are presenting with the above symptoms. The assessment consists of the ADI-R (Parent Interview) ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) Pre-School/School Observation, and a clinical team review.
The assessment will look at all areas of your child’s life, both at home and school, and will take into consideration the views of many of the adults in their care. This information helps the clinicians to ensure they are looking holistically at your child’s difficulties and whether they meet the criteria of Autism.
A full report recognised by the HSE, Social Welfare and Department of Education will be provided, including Recommendations for Therapeutic Intervention, and any Educational Supports that need to be put in place.
Post Assessment Support
If the Assessment results in a Diagnosis of Autism for your child, You will be invited to attend a parenting support programme (Cygnet). Cygnet gives parents and carers an opportunity to develop their understanding of autism and look at practical solutions to support their child. It also provides the opportunity to meet other people in a similar position and hear about their experiences in an informal but supportive atmosphere. This a complimentary support services.