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Author: Dr Dina GazizovaConsultant Adult Psychiatrist

It’s important to get the diagnosis of Autism right, it’s a lifelong diagnosis, so you want to be sure you are getting the best possible assessment. It’s never too late to get a diagnosis – people well into their 70’s say it gives a new found understanding and meaning to their lives.


Adult Autism assessment – what to expect

The Clinical Partners Autism assessment is a comprehensive package, designed to accurately diagnosis and provide in-depth information about any condition or symptoms which are experienced.


Who carries out the Autism assessment?

Before the assessment you will receive two questionnaires which you will be asked to complete and return. These help the psychiatrist understand more about your situation and the difficulties you experience.

The assessment will be carried out by a psychiatrist – a medically trained doctor who has specialised in mental health.

In making a diagnosis, the psychiatrist will:

  • speak with you and a relative or close friend you choose to bring with you
  • take a full and comprehensive neurodevelopmental history
  • analyse pre-assessment questionnaires sent to you before the Autism appointment
  • conduct the psychiatric interview
  • use a specialist diagnostic questionnaire for ASD

How long does the Autism assessment take?

The assessment takes, on average, 3 hours to complete. During this time your psychiatrist will ask you questions about your life, review the questionnaire results with you and answer any questions you might have.

It can be very helpful to bring a friend or family member to the assessment, although this is not mandatory. They can often help answer questions the psychiatrist has, which you may not be sure about. It’s useful if this person knew you as a child.

Whilst this assessment process might seem daunting for some, our psychiatrists have years of experience of carrying out these assessments and fully understand how difficult it can be. They will do their best to put you at ease.

We would like to ensure that the environment is distraction-free, calm and comfortable for you. It is helpful, in advance, if you make the psychiatrist aware of any specific sensory difficulties or needs you may have. We will try to keep an assessment to a comfortable length and the clinician will be guided by you if you need a break.

Dr Dina Gazizova - MBBS, MRCPsych


What happens after the Autism assessment?

Following the assessment, your psychiatrist will write a full report, with a diagnosis where one can be made. This report will be sent to you with any recommendations that may help you overcome some of the difficulties you are experiencing, which can include medication (for conditions like anxiety or depression).

They may recommend further testing if they think another condition is more likely and this will be discussed in full with you if applicable.

You can read more about support techniques for Autism spectrum disorders – we are able to organise these for you if you wish.

Our Autism assessments are based on UK best practice models - we have developed our assessment package with some of the UK’s leading psychiatrists and they are designed in line with latest research and meet or exceed government standards including the recommendations from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on Autism in adults.

Dr Gazizova was very approachable and made me feel really relaxed during the assessment appointment – thank you.

Charles, Dorset


Benefits of an Autism diagnosis

Co-morbidities such as ADHD, anxiety, depression and OCD are common in those with Autism – research has found that people with Autism are more likely to suffer with these conditions than those who do not have Autism.

As communicating feelings and reaching out for help is often difficult for those with Autism, seeking help for these disorders can be very challenging and many go without support. Getting a diagnosis of Autism is therefore really important.

Many people say that whilst receiving a diagnosis is far from easy, they feel huge relief and are better able to move on with their future. Receiving a diagnosis can also help friends and family have a greater understanding of why their loved ones behave the way they do.


Top tips for your ASD assessment:

  • Tell us if you have any requirements to ensure the room is as comfortable as possible
  • Ring us if you have any questions or worries before the appointment
  • Bring notes of any questions you might have or points you want to discuss that you think are relevant
  • Return the questionnaires we will send you before the appointment
  • Ask your Psychiatrist if you want a break
  • Try and relax as much as possible – all our clinicians are chosen because they are experts in the field, but also because they are friendly and passionate about mental health

The assessment takes, on average, 3 hours to complete. During this time your psychiatrist will ask you questions about your life, review the questionnaire results with you and answer any questions you might have. It can be very helpful to bring a friend or family member to the assessment, although this is not mandatory. They can often help answer questions the psychiatrist has, which you may not be sure about.
MBBS, MRCPsych

Consultant Adult Psychiatrist
London

Dr Dina Gazizova is a specialist in the Psychiatry of Learning Disability; she currently works as a consultant psychiatrist for Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust in a specialist Learning Disability Service.

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