Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects the development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication and is marked by severe difficulties in communicating and forming relationships with people, in developing language and in using abstract concepts. Characteristics include repetitive and limited patterns of behaviour and obsessive resistance to tiny changes in familiar surroundings or routines. The 3 main areas of difficulty (triad of impairment) for people with autism is referred to as the “triad of impairments”:adult-and-child-therapy-centre favicon

  • Social Communication
  • Social Interaction
  • Social Imagination

Although not included in the triad of impairments, there is a fourth area which has been identified as presenting people with autism with significant difficulties and that is the area of sensory processing. Sensory processing difficulties are indicated by either a hyper or hypo-sensitivity across any or all of the 5 senses. The first signs of autism usually appear as developmental delays before the age of 3. Autism is described as a ‘spectrum’ disorder. This means that the symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations and can range from mild to severe. Two children with the same diagnosis can act very differently from one another and have varying skills. Some early indicators 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 skillsadult-and-child-therapy-centre favicon
  • Poor eye contact
  • Excessive lining up of toys or objects
  • No smiling or social responsiveness
  • Indicators that you might find with other 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

Our aim is to offer Assessment for children who are presenting with the above symptoms and offer a diagnosis at the earliest time in a child’s life to ensure that treatment can be implemented as soon as possible to improve quality of life.


While there is no doubt that diagnosis of Autism can be devastating for families, it is good to remember that the diagnosis and the assessment of needs can offer you an understanding of why your child is different from their peers, and can open doors to:

  • Support services in education
  • Health services and social care
  • A route into voluntary organizations
  • Contact with other children and families with similar experiences
  • All of these can improve the lives of your child and also the lives of the family

What is involved in an Autism Assessment?

  • Pre-school/School Observation (we like to see a child in this environment with their peers in order to gain a better understanding of their social skills, their ability to transition throughout the day, play skills)
  • Cognitive Assessment (This is done with one of the psychologists on the team)
  • ADOS – (This is the diagnostic part of an Autism Assessment which is done with two members of the team and the child.)
  • ADIR- (Parental Interview with Clinical Psychologist)
  • Feedback to go through the outcome of the above assessments and to read through the report
  • Report with recommendations for therapeutic plan, educational support that need to be put in place.

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