We carry out diagnostic assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorders (our reports are recognised by the Dept. of Education & Skills, HSE, CAMHS etc.). Autism in a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by social / communication difficulties, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour. Autism is a spectrum condition, with varying levels of autistic symptomatology and intellectual ability. The disorder is almost five times more common in males than in females.
Children with classic autism typically demonstrate delayed speech and language development. They generally show limited social-engagement with others (limited eye-contact, failure to point out objects of interest), may engage in echolalia (repeating words or phrases), and may also have motor difficulties.
Autism has a largely genetic aetiology, with certain candidate genes having been identified (e.g., SHANK3, NLGN3 etc.). Although there are likely to be environmental factors involved in its pathogenesis, it remains unclear exactly what these environmental factors are. Neuroimaging studies point to some abnormal structure and/or functioning in certain parts of the brain in autism (amygdala, fusiform gyrus, cerebellum etc.).
Autism is diagnosed by a multidisciplinary team using psychometric test batteries, rating scales, checklists and clinical observations. As part of the assessment process, we request reports from other professionals (e.g., Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrists), and make referrals as necessary.
Certain educational interventions have been shown to be effective for children with autism (e.g., Applied Behavioural Analysis, Picture Exchange Communication System etc.).