AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD) CLINIC – CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Latest research, (2021) by Cambridge, Newcastle and Maastricht Universities has demonstrated a significant rise in autism amongst children in the UK.
Assessment of 7 million children (aged 2-21 years) found 1 in 57 (1.76%) were on the autism spectrum. Boys showed a higher prevalence of autism (2.8%) than girls (0.65%).
Treatment options for Autism
There is no ‘cure’ for autism, however, there are a number of treatment options designed to improve symptoms. An early accurate diagnosis is critical for early intervention to improve management of symptoms in the short and long term.
Re:Cognition Health is proud to offer specialist autism assessments in the world-renowned Harley Street Medical Area, within two weeks of enquiry. Our consultants have extensive experience in the NHS and private sector and provide outstanding clinical expertise at an affordable price.
Multi-disciplinary team of child health experts
Our private Autism Clinic for children and adolescences is delivered by a multi-disciplinary team of Paediatricians, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Speech and Language Therapists. Our child and adolescent specialists work in collaboration with the child and their family, carer and support network, developing bespoke treatment plans and referral pathways to ensure the best possible outcomes for children with autism.
Diagnosing autism in children
As with any developmental condition, it is ideal to get a diagnosis as early as possible. The earlier the intervention, the greater chance of a successful outcome on the trajectory of a child’s future development. At an early age our brains are actively developing, and are thus more malleable, enabling a faster acquisition of cognitive, motor and social skills.
Symptoms of Autism
Our experts understand that it is sometimes difficult to recognise the early symptoms of autism in babies and toddlers.
Possible signs of autism in babies and toddlers can include:
- No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months or thereafter
- Minimal back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by 9 months
- No babbling by 12 months
- Limited back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
- No words by 16 months
- Lack of meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills, at any age
- If you think your child is presenting with any of these symptoms, we recommend speaking to a specialist.
Possible signs of autism in a child can include:
- Failure to develop spoken language at an appropriate age
- Difficulty communicating with others
- Repetition of the same words or phrases- sometimes at the wrong time
- Unable to make eye contact easily
- Unable to use facial expressions appropriately, including smiling when happy
- Unable to develop relationships with other children of the same age
- Unable to share activities or interests with other children
- Unwilling to participate in activities with other children
- Playing alone for long periods of time
- Insists on having the same routine or habits, (wearing the same clothes, eating the same food, watching the same TV programmes)
- Over-interested in part of an object rather than the whole object
Children’s Autism Assessment – What to expect:
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that can be challenging to diagnose.
The Autism Assessment at Re:Cognition Health involves a series of assessments and collaboration between experts, which may include a Paediatrician, a Child Psychiatrist, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Psychologist. The assessments include the use of gold standard diagnostic tools, tailored around a child’s specific constellation of symptoms.
Parents and carers can prepare for the assessment by collating any previous medical documentation, assessments, school reports and records detailing the child’s early developmental milestones. These can be beneficial to the assessment team and will be reviewed as part of a broader evaluation of the child. It is recommended to bring any documentation along to the assessment. In some instances, our team may request these are sent in advance, especially for virtual appointments.
The first part of the assessment is a diagnostic interview, usually in the form of the Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised (ADI-R), with the child’s parents or carers. This ADI-R assessment takes around 2 hours to complete and comprises a series of questions regarding the child’s development, social interaction, communication and language, and patterns of behaviour. Parental interviews may be conducted virtually, at the convenience of the family.
The second part of the assessment is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) which is conducted with the child. ADOS assesses the child’s social and communication behaviour, using age-appropriate games, imaginary play, activities and conversation with the doctor. The assessment takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.
Within 2-4 weeks, a detailed report, specifically tailored to the educational, behavioural and developmental needs of the child, is provided together with a virtual follow up appointment to discuss the diagnosis and further recommendations. Possible recommendations may include:
- useful information on autism and references
- parental support groups, courses, advice
- referrals for therapies
- further testing options