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Adult & Child Autism Assessments in London at Harley Therapy™

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  • Do you or your child struggle to understand others and fit in socially?
  • Find the world chaotic and messy when you prefer control and organisation?
  • Have others suggested you or your child might be on the spectrum? 

An autism assessment can be a helpful next step. 

What is autism?

'Autism spectrum disorder', or 'ASD', is an umbrella term for a wide range of neurodiverse profiles, all sharing core traits of:

  • difficulties with social communication and interaction
  • repetitive behaviours and set ways of thinking
  • limited interests and a tendency to overfocus on one subject
  • resistance to change.

Other autism features can include sensory difficulties (being over or undersensitive to light, colour, or noise), and problems controlling your emotions. 

Is adult autism different than children’s autism?

No. Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopment condition, meaning it’s always present since childhood. It’s just that, as the word ‘spectrum’ implies, some people have a milder version. Signs of autism can be overlooked as a child being simply ‘unique’ or ‘special’. But then demands of adulthood mean traits become more apparent. 

Autism in Children 

Early diagnosis of autism in children can be crucial for effective intervention and support. Children on the spectrum may display:

  • delayed language development 
  • limited eye contact 
  • intense focus on certain interests
  • difficulty with changes in routine 
  • challenges with social interactions 

Identifying these signs early allows for timely interventions that can significantly improve a child's developmental trajectory. 

Aspergers syndrome in adults

Asperger’s syndrome is a milder form of high functioning autism. Despite typical issues with socialising and a need for sameness, those with Aspergers have strong intellects and verbal skills that mean they cope better. 

If you are looking for an Aspergers test, it can help to understand that it's now diagnosed as part of autism spectrum disorder. But you can still refer to yourself as having Aspergers if that feels more comfortable for you. 

Autism in women

Females can be diagnosed later in life because they manifest traits differently. Recent research shows girls and women can be better at social situations and hiding their frustrations, meaning their struggles are more likely to be overlooked.

How is ASD diagnosed in adults?

An autism assessment is not medical testing, so you don’t have to worry about any health or blood tests. An autism specialist will observe how you interact and socialise, and ask about your past, including your childhood development and struggles with mental health. 

They will use one or more of a variety of diagnostic tools, which generally consist of questionnaires looking at the ways you think and behave. At Harley Therapy™ we use DISCO, ADOS, and ADI-R testing. 

Your results will then be compared to guidelines put forth by diagnostic manuals. Here in the UK this is not the DSM-5, popular in America, although your practitioner will know its recommendations. The ICD-10 is used instead, alongside the guidelines put forth by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). 

How is ASD diagnosed in children?

Diagnosing ASD in children at Harley Therapy involves a thorough and multi-step process designed to ensure accurancy and provide comprehensive support. Our assessment process is for children over the age of 8 and includes: 

  1. Developmnental history interview with parents/caregivers: This interview with Dr Marta Costa gathers detailed information about the child's developmental history and behaviours.
  2. ADOS assessment: This is conducted in person with the child at our London Bridge location with Dr Peter Slater. The Adutism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is a structured observation used to assess communication, social interaction and play.
  3. Individual Meeting with child: On a seperate day, Dr Marta Costa will meet with the child in person at our Harley Street location to further assess and understand their behaviours and experiences. 
  4. Multidisciplinary team meeting (MDT): This meeting involves a team of specialists reviewing the assessment data and discussing the diagnosis. 
  5. Feedback session with parents/caregivers: This session will be online and provide detailed feedback on the assessment results and discusses the next steps and recommendations. 
  6. Report Writing: A comprehensive report detailing the findings and recommendations is prepared and sent to the parents within two weeks of the feedback session. 

This structured approach ensures a thorough and supportive assessment process, providing families with clear insights and a path forward for managing ASD. 

The benefits of autism testing

An assessment with an autism expert can help you or your child:

  • finally understand ongoing struggles 
  • explain to others why you or your child might seem different 
  • override any previous misdiagnosis such as a learning difficulty or anxiety disorder
  • receive the right treatment plan to help cope 
  • qualify for certain benefits and support 

Autism support post-diagnosis and therapy sessions

While there is no cure for ASD, there are a variety of interventions that have shown success in managing and improving quality of life. These typically address one or more areas of functioning, including social, communication, cognitive, and academic skills. There are also support groups and networks that can help, such as social learning programs and daily skills programs.

Counselling is a recommended intervention, particularly when ASD occurs alongside another mental health issue, such as depression or anxietyCognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) in particular is often recommended.

It’s important to not overlook support for yourself if you are a family member or partner with someone suffering autism spectrum disorder. 

Private autism assessment in London - the Harley Therapy™ approach

Our autism specialists in London provide assessments and ASD diagnosis for both adults, adolescents and children. We offer post-diagnostic support sessions and relationship help. Our team has a long history working with individuals with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD), as well as longstanding emotional and psychological difficulties and acute stress. We have a strong interest and expertise in the special challenges faced by women and children on the neurodiverse spectrum.

As well as our autism specialists, we provide a roster of talk therapists who work with autistic clients, helping them cope better and improve relating skills.

Why not get in touch to discuss your concerns and get the support you need? Call us now or book online to make a confidential autism diagnosis in London, or autism support in our locations that include Harley Street, London Bridge, and the City, or worldwide via online counselling.

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How to book your session

Call us now on 0345 474 1724 OR book online

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All of our practitioners are qualified and accredited with reputable professional associations for counselling and psychotherapy.

Updated May 16, 2024 by Dr. Sheri Jacobson Dr Sheri Jacobson

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Autism Assessment Adults & Children in London

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