Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition where there are difficulties with attention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. This does not present the same in boy as it does in girls, or in adults, so may go unrecognised for several reasons.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition with a broad range of presenting features and severity which also presents differently in boys and girls. The assessment for ASD can be straightforward, but in many cases requires information from multiple sources such as teachers, speech language therapists, paediatric occupational therapists, dietitians and psychologists. There can be co-existing conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, giftedness, auditory and sensory processing issues among others that may need to be explored.
Pam works closely with a number of professionals under the banner of “Connect Paediatric Assessment Team” which is a group of individual professionals working with children and young people including paediatric occupational therapy, speech language therapy, dietitian, psychologists. As a group they share information and discuss cases they work together on providing better joined up assessment and management of the individual client.
This diagnosis covers a wide range of presentations. Essentially it is a developmental disorder characterised by challenges in social interaction and communication with restricted or repetitive thoughts or behaviours. The incidence of this condition is increasing with increased awareness among other issues. It is also increasingly recognised in adults.
The diagnostic process may not be the same for all, as some will need occupational therapy, dietitian or speech language therapy assessment. Not all will require a psychology review. All require a medical review to rule out associated or contributing conditions. The DSM5 is the diagnostic criteria used to make the diagnosis of ASD. Given the complexity, the need for multi-disciplinary assessment is the gold standard. Dr Jackson works with the Connect Paediatric Assessment Services to achieve this, so a referral to another independent practitioner may be required as part of the diagnostic work up.
ADHD and ASD can co-exist. ASD overlaps with many other conditions including anxiety, giftedness, developmental co-ordination disorder and sensory integration issues.