Condition: Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that has a broad range of effects including impaired social interaction and communication, but also causing repetitive behaviours.

People with ASD may also be affected by different responses to sensory inputs of sound and light. A proportion of patients with this condition may also have intellectual impairments. Impairments in each of these areas may range from mild to severe.

Approximately 1% of adults and children have this condition.

ASD can be diagnosed at any stage, particularly at times of increased stress or when entering different environments such as a new school. Half of all patients however are identified before turning two.

ASD can be sub-classified as one of the following conditions:

  • Autism
  • Asperger syndrome
  • Pervasive development disorder – not otherwise specified
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder
  • Rett syndrome

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms are normally present prior to three years of age, however ASD can become apparent at any stage of life. The symptoms may vary between individuals and those with minimal symptoms may be more likely to be identified at a later age than those with severe difficulties.

The symptoms of ASD can be grouped into four categories:

  • Social difficulties
  • Problems with language and communication
  • Limited imagination
  • Unusual behaviours

Depending on the type and severity of ASD other features may also be present

  • Intellectual impairment
  • Sleep problems
  • Reading problems
  • Excelling in specific skills in a narrow domain i.e. in memory, music

The cause for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is not fully known.

It has been proposed that there is a genetic component to developing ASD, the exact contribution of genetics to ASD however is unknown.

Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is made as part of a longitudinal process of assessing a child or in some cases teenager or adult.

If as an individual/parent you are concerned that you/your child displays any of the symptoms associated with ASD the first port of call should be your general practitioner (GP).

The formal diagnosis of ASD is made by a specialist in the condition alongside a multi-disciplinary team by comparing an individual’s symptoms against a list of diagnostic criteria.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder Treatment

Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are usually under the care of a paediatrician and multi-disciplinary team of speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists.

The mainstay of treatment is educational support within the domains that they find most challenging, which may include social difficulties, language and communication, limited imagination or unusual behaviours.

Specific psychological behavioural therapy may be used to help reduce the incidence of challenging behaviours.

In addition, medication can be considered to help with the treatment of specific symptoms of anxiety, depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder if these remain uncontrolled by other methods. Medication is also used to help control behavior such as aggression and improve sleep.

Medicinal cannabis can be considered when first line therapies have not achieved adequate symptom control.

Arrange an Appointment

If you are a patient or carer seeking an appointment to discuss treatment with medical cannabis, you can complete this form and we can assist you with this.

Eligible patients can provide us with their healthcare records or we can obtain these through your GP. This is to confirm that a patient’s condition has been fully assessed and all other treatment options have been attempted. We will ensure that the primary care provider receives all treatment communication to maintain the highest level of clinical governance.

We also accept referrals from healthcare professionals.

To refer a patient to us, please click here to fill and securely submit a referral form.