Our adult assessments grew out of a recognition that it is sometimes later in life that an individual may wish to explore and understand themselves and their life journey so far. There is increasing awareness that there has been an under-diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Conditions in adults. Together with personal stories from autistic adults, and new research the role and impact of camouflaging and masking are increasingly being understood.
For many adults the chance to explore their strengths, challenges and neurodiversity in a supportive environment can be a powerful and empowering process.
- All parts of the assessment are completed by 2 clinicians (Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Clinical Psychologist). We choose to provide a joint clinician assessment (rather than single clinician as some other providers offer) as we feel that the understanding and expertise of the two professionals is essential in understanding an individual’s life journey.
- Assessment can either be completed over the course of a day, with an assessment session in the morning, a lunch break and a further session in the afternoon. Or we can stage the assessment over a number of sessions if that seems preferable or logistically easier to arrange.
- Assessment would be held at the dedicated Grow Communication Clinic in Polmont.
- Discussion about aims, goals and aspirations:
- It is really important for us to hear about how you have arrived at this point of wishing to explore the possibility of Autism – and what you feel you would like to get out of the assessment.
- A developmental history:
- if possible we ask you to bring someone who can help give information about your early development e.g. a parent or other family member. But we also recognise that for some people this is not possible – in which case we ask you to gather as much anecdotal information as possible.
- The developmental history takes the form of an informal chat and some structured questions about your early development (stretching back to your early days as an infant).
- We may use the DISCO (Diagnostic Interview for Social Communication Disorders) as a tool for this.
- A structured clinical interview (based on a standardised/ research-based format).
- This is a series of questions that help to guide us in thinking about areas that can be related to a presentation of Autism.
- Higher-level language assessment – can be used if appropriate.
- This would be some verbal assessment to find out more about how you understand and process spoken language – for instance some people report subtle difficulties with word-retrieval and auditory processing and this tool can be helpful to unpack that some more.
- We will also ask you more about your mental health and mood.
- We are also ADOS-2 trained and can choose to use this as an assessment tool if we feel that it is helpful to do so (although we tend not to use this for adults).
Work that takes place outside of the session includes:
- Reading any additional information that might be relevant (other reports etc)
- Planning and preparation
- Formulation discussions amongst the clinicians
- Detailed report writing (this is typically 4 hours per clinician and this is included in the cost)
How you can prepare:
We ask you to come prepared with any documentation that may help us to build a picture of your earlier development. This may include school reports, baby books, examples of old school work, any previous clinical reports and any information which family members may have been able to share with you about your early years.
We typically send out a screening questionnaire to you before you attend and will analyse this before you visit us.
Sharing the outcome with you:
Where possible we will share the outcome (and a diagnosis if there is one to be made) at the end of the assessment session. However, there may be occasions where this is not possible – in which case we will arrange a further session to feedback.
A full report will be prepared jointly by your Clinical Psychologist and Speech and Language Therapist and a draft will be shared with you for checking. Once the draft has been agreed by all parties this report will be formalised and issued in paper copy. The report is yours to share as you wish – we do share the report with anyone else unless you expressly request us to do so.
Sometimes further support or assessment is indicated – for instance around mental health, or investigation of ADHD/ ADD. If that is the case, we will alert you to this and advise you whether Grow Communication is able to undertake assessment for this (please note that there would be additional costs if additional assessment is required).
Individuals coming to Grow Communication will receive a multidisciplinary assessment. We cannot guarantee a particular diagnosis – but we can assure you that we will support you to explore the areas that are challenging for you and help to make sense of them. Our aim is that you complete our assessment with greater clarity about yourself, feeling empowered to move forward in life with this.