In 2013, Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, NOS (not otherwise specified) were rolled into one umbrella category: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a term describing a spectrum of neurodevelopmental conditions characterised by persistent impairment in reciprocal social communication and social interaction, and the presence of restricted and narrow interests, repetitive behaviour along with inflexibility in case of unexpected change.
Being a spectrum, the manifestations of the condition vary greatly among individuals who also might show associated intellectual related problems (below average IQ) and language delay while others instead do not show learning difficulties (they have normal and even above average IQ) and might have language delay (as in High Functioning Autism) or not (as in Asperger Syndrome). Some people are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. Treatments and services improve a person’s symptoms and ability to function.
ASD is also defined Autism Spectrum Conditions to emphasize that Autism is not only characterized by disabilities but also areas of strength (e.g., attention to detail, memory for detail, and pattern-recognition).
Dr Valentino Pironti is trained in the Adult Asperger Assessment (AAA) which is a specialist diagnostic evaluation developed in the CLASS (Cambridge Lifespan Asperger Syndrome Service) clinic. The assessment involves inviting the patient and an informant who can comment on the developmental and current history of the patient; information about the adult’s developmental history will help in making an accurate diagnosis. Moreover, ASD specific rating scales and questionnaires will need to be completed by the patient and the informant. The clinical interview itself can last up to three hours.