On the mild, high functioning end of the spectrum, accurately recognizing Asperger’s or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder can be difficult. What symptoms surface can be quite different from person to person, and can include traits that run completely counter to the “textbook” picture. I’ve had the pleasure of working with children, teens and adults who defy stereotypes by having a strong interest in socializing with family and others, those that have zero sensory sensitivities (or quickly outgrew them in childhood), and countless clients who had only minimal difficulty in advanced academics or their profession. Such persevering clients had often found their own compensating strategies to make daily life less taxing, or had chosen into a career where delicate social skills were not constantly required.
The picture can become only more clouded when a second, more obvious concern is simultaneously present, like anxiety or ADHD.
With Asperger’s or mild Autistic Spectum being so difficult to recognize, working with a knowledgeable specialist can be critical to getting the diagnosis right and to guide which future directions will be both realistic and helpful.
As several professions are improving at recognizing the mild end of the spectrum, research now finds 1.7% of children diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum. Nonetheless, when symptoms are mild enough many individuals or families spend many frustrating years receiving the wrong advice and the wrong treatment.
For 10 years I’ve had a growing interest in Asperger’s, now called mild Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Over these years I’ve worked with late teens and adults as well as younger children, typically during counseling. Many clients who originally were referred for questions about ADHD, social anxiety or other concerns wondered if something else best explained the problems in their friendships, family relationships or smooth functioning in the workplace. Some were parents of young adult children who experienced a “failure to launch” or boomerang back to the family home after brief independence in college or a job (sometimes quite successfully at first).
After taking additional training and researching the most accurate yet affordable options, I now offer a formal assessment process, complete with a summary report for use by the family doctor, K-12 school or college disability services office if you wish. Identifying what reasonable accommodations at school or the workplace will let your full potential shine through is often reliant on this in-depth assessment and appropriate documentation.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder Assessment with the Social Responsiveness Scales, 2nd edition:
– Carefully screens broader mental health and family history to rule out alternative explanations (e.g. Social Anxiety, ADHD, Oppositional-Defiant Behavior, Anxiety, Depression)
– Avoids 9-18 month wait lists at specialty clinics and streamlines time commitments when milder severity makes additional testing by a large professional team redundant or excessive. (Services genuinely needed like speech or occupational therapy can still be referred later, if relevant).
– Offers a limited and less intimidating testing experience with a single professional for those already nervous or avoiding services.
– Subscales guide treatment to focus on the areas most impacted: Social Awareness, Social Cognition, Communication, Social Motivation or Restricted Interests
– Availability typically in 2-14 days to begin an assessment.
– 3-5 page final report for documentation and initial guidance on helpful treatment options and/or academic accommodations
– Find comforting expertise and competence: For almost 20 years Dr. Hill has collaborated with area physicians, psychiatrists, fellow therapists and school staff, including giving presentations at regional conferences
Complete Assessment: $838 incl. three appointments and final report