Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition with difficulties in socialization, communication, and interaction with people. In addition, there are presence of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. They may have sensory difficulties such as with food, clothes, and sound. Often it causes difficulties in school and social settings. The symptoms may change with development and may be masked by compensatory learnt behaviours however must cause significant impairment.
Autism (with significant language difficulties) and Asperger syndrome (with no language impairment and high functioning) were seen as two separate categories in the past however, both the categories are recognized as being part of a spectrum now and called Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Young persons with ASD will have symptoms from early childhood but may not be recognized until later. The symptoms become more noticeable when the social demands exceed their capacity. Behaviours like ASD can be seen in children with learning disabilities, language disorders, certain genetic conditions and problems related to pregnancy and childbirth.
First step would be to talk to your child’s teachers. Find out about local parenting schemes so you can learn more about how to manage your child’s behaviours and help your child with ASD features. You could talk to the school nurse, your GP, or the local ‘Hub’. Discuss with school or your GP about getting referred to your local NHS services (usually referred to as the Neurodevelopmental Team).
Dr Sharma, the best child psychiatrist in Wales, is happy to assess children privately for ASD. Ask your GP to refer to him.
Please note that having an assessment does not guarantee any specific diagnosis. Nor can he guarantee that the child will receive educational support or disability benefits as a result of having a diagnosis. Although having a clear diagnosis is important, support at school and other benefits depend on the extent of the child’s impairment and their level of need rather than the medical label itself.
What will the assessment involve?
If your child has been referred for ASD assessment this will involve the following:
The total fee for whole assessment including detailed report will be £1800.
The fee for initial assessment will be £350. If there are enough features suggestive of ASD from the information provided by parents, then further assessment would be carried out. The fee for further assessment will be £1450 (1800-350).
Behavioural and educational input are the mainstay of the treatment for children/ adolescents with ASD. There is no specific medication to treat ASD however Dr Sharma is happy to discuss the role of medication if there are any co-morbid mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.
If medication is prescribed, Dr Sharma will discuss a Therapy Treatment Agreement with you.
Dr Sharma will arrange for a follow up if medication is prescribed. He would discuss the follow up arrangements with you in the clinic.
A proportion of children with ASD also have some traits of ADHD/ADD. Dr Sharma can assess for ADHD/ADD in the private clinic and can formally diagnose ADHD/ADD following national guidelines. Most areas now have local Neurodevelopmental Teams that have an agreed assessment and diagnosis pathway with the local Education services. Diagnoses given outside this pathway may not be recognised by the local Education services. It is best to ask your GP to refer to the Neurodevelopmental service if you are looking for formal ADHD/ADD diagnosis.
Dr Sharma will try to assess any other comorbid conditions such as depression, anxiety, etc and would make recommendations for managing those issues.
If you are unsure whether to proceed or want more information, please email
Dr Sanjeev Sharma
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
( From Monday to Friday, doctors can be reached through phone for consultations. )
Request An Appointment