South Brisbane Psychology - Children, Teen & Adults. Tel: 3133 0610
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The Autism Spectrum ..... (is a broad one!) or commonly referred to as ASD.

by Dr. Jenni Silva (Clinical Psychologist)

Individuals on the autism spectrum - see the world in a different way.  Learning to embrace differences and understanding the person on the autism spectrum is often a process of discovery.  Unfortunately the diagnostic process for autism focuses on the areas that the person with autism has difficulty with. However, it is important to remember that going through a diagnostic process at Brilliant Minds Psychology is a process of discovery. Discovering how the individual responds to his or her world and learning to make adjustments so the individual on the Autism Spectrum can flourish. Discovering the strengths of the child and also environments where he or she thrives.   

Assessment and diagnosis: It is important that you have a thorough assessment by a professional trained in the area of Autism.  if you have a suspicion that your child is on the autism spectrum make sure your child is assessed by a professional trained and with extensive knowledge in this area. High functioning Autism is often diagnosed with the child enters formally schooling or even as the social world becomes more sophisticated. 

To meet criteria for an Autism Spectrum Condition a number of criterion need to be met.  As a clinician I assess to see if the behaviour is occuring across multiple situations/contexts and the degree that the behaviour is atypical/uncommon.  

Note: The word 'deficit' is assessed based on the degree that the behaviour is uncomon or atypical when compared to other children/individuals of the same age.

To be diagnosed with Autism - All of Criterion A from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual - 5th Edition (DSM-5) or ICD-10 must be met. 

DSM-V criteria requires specific examples in the following domains.  The information gained is from parents, observation of the child by the clinician and other collateral information from teachers, and/or other relatives.

A1. Deficits in social‐emotional reciprocity; ranging from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back and forth conversation through reduced sharing of interests, emotions, and affect and response to total lack of initiation of social interaction.   

A2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction; ranging from poorly integrated‐  verbal and nonverbal communication, through abnormalities in eye contact and body‐language, or deficits in understanding and use of nonverbal communication, to total lack of facial expression or gestures.  

A3. Deficits in developing and maintaining relationships, appropriate to developmental level (beyond those with caregivers); ranging from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit different social contexts through difficulties in sharing imaginative play and in making friends to an apparent absence of interest in people.

B. Restricted, Repetitive Behaviours - 2 of the following must be met.

B1. Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects; (such as simple motor stereotypies, echolalia, repetitive use of objects, or idiosyncratic phrases).
B2. Excessive adherence to routines, ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior, or excessive resistance to change; (such as motoric rituals, insistence on same route or food, repetitive questioning or extreme distress at small changes).  

B3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus; (such as strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).  

B4. Hyper‐or hypo‐reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).

Other Information.
Autism Western Australia has great information on ASD and what it is.