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Are there often difficulties and misunderstandings in social relationships? Do you notice that it is difficult to cope with change? These are symptoms of autism and may warrant an assessment.

What is autism?

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neuropsychiatric disability that affects social relationships, communication and behavior.

There are different levels of severity depending on how much the diagnosis affects areas such as study, work and relationships, but each individual with autism is also unique.

In Ireland, it is estimated that approximately 1% of the population are autistic.

Here you can learn more about the disability and what an assessment might mean for you.

What set our therapist apart was her genuine empathy and personal insight. Not only did she possess a deep understanding of neurodiversity, but she also shared personal experiences that resonated with us, creating an instant connection and fostering a sense of trust!

Benedetta Osarenk


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How is an autism assessment carried out?

An assessment is a basic neuropsychiatric assessment of difficulties and strengths that identifies a person’s need for support and assistance. It involves interviews that identify symptoms of autism in both childhood and adulthood. It also looks at how these symptoms affect different areas of life such as study, work and relationships.

The assessment also includes cognitive tests to get more information about current functioning. A relative is also usually interviewed to get a clearer picture of what it was like in childhood.

The assessment is carried out by both a licensed psychologist and a doctor who is a specialist in psychiatry who collaborate in the diagnosis. You will meet both of them during the assessment.

An assessment can be an important part of the journey towards deeper self-awareness and better psychological health. At Lavendla, we want you to get the right help and support.

Why should an autism assessment be carried out?

Often, people have thought about it for a long time before doing an assessment for autism. If you are a child, the question may have arisen from the school or a parent is wondering. If you are an adult, you may have noticed that you function in a slightly different way and have had some difficulties at school, at work or in relationships. An assessment can provide several benefits and help you gain:

  • Understanding: To clarify your situation and understand why some things may be more challenging for you.
  • Treatment plan: With a diagnosis, you and your healthcare team can make recommendations for treatment. You can get help with social skills training and managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
  • Support: A diagnosis can give you access to resources and support that would otherwise not be available. For example, you are entitled to extra support for studies even as an adult. You can also get help from habilitation and the municipality if necessary.

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Steps in an autism assessment

If you or a loved one exhibits these symptoms, the first step is to seek professional help. As it can be unclear what this means, we have produced an overview of how an autism assessment usually works:

  • Assessment by a specialist: A psychologist or psychiatrist will make an initial assessment.
  • Tests and interviews: These may include psychological cognitive tests and discussion with family members.
  • Diagnostic evaluation: An overall picture of your condition is made and a diagnosis is established.

Private assessment for autism

Taking the step to find out if you have an autism diagnosis can be an emotional experience, but it is also important to get the help you may need. Here we go into a little more detail about what an assessment entails. Dealing with this can seem overwhelming, but with a simple and easy-to-understand guide, we want to make the hard part easier.

Step 1: Recognise the symptoms

Take note of the symptoms you are experiencing. These can include difficulties socially, routine and feeling overwhelmed by daily tasks.

Step 2: Consult a licensed healthcare provider

The first and most important step is to seek professional help. A diagnosis of autism can only be made by a medical specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Here at Lavendla, we can help you make that connection.

Step 3: The autism assessment

After an initial assessment that suggests you may have autism, we can proceed with an assessment. This may include interviews, cognitive testing and discussions with family members. If the assessment involves children, the school is usually included in the assessment.


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Step 4: Diagnosis

If you are diagnosed with autism, you will receive a written statement and the next step is to discuss interventions. These can vary from person to person, but usually include therapy and other supports.

Step 5: Psychotherapy and support

Talk therapy can help you develop skills to manage the symptoms of autism. This includes social skills training, cognitive behavioral therapy and stress management.

Having a supportive network is important. Talk to family and friends and explain your situation to get the support you need. There may also be family meetings and training courses if those close to you want to learn more.

Step 6: Follow-up and adaptation

Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider are essential to see how the treatment is working and if any adjustments need to be made.

How long does an autism assessment take?

An assessment takes about 8-20 hours and is usually completed within 2-3 months. If the assessment concerns children, it usually takes a little longer as the school is included in the assessment.

Getting help without having to wait

At Lavendla, you don’t have to be on a waiting list. If you or someone you know has lived with undiagnosed autism, it can be a tough journey. But remember, it’s never too late to seek help and get the care you need. The first step is to talk to a healthcare provider who can guide you through the assessment and diagnosis.

One step closer to an autism assessment

If you are seeking professional help for ADHD or other mental health problems, we have a network of experienced psychologists and therapists who can help you on your journey to better mental health. As we believe that the threshold for assessment and treatment should be low, we have made it easy to get in touch with a specialist via our contact form.


12 short questions and answers about autism

What is autism?

Autism is a neuropsychiatric disability. It is characterised by impact on social relationships, sensory sensitivity and repetitive behaviour.

How is autism diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made by psychologists and psychiatrists specialising in neuropsychiatry through a comprehensive assessment. This may include interviews and cognitive tests.

What are the symptoms of autism?

Common symptoms include social difficulties with understanding and communication, repetitive behaviors with special interests, and having a sensory sensitivity to things like sound and light.

Is there any treatment for autism?

You can receive treatment for autism, which often focuses on social skills training and managing thoughts, feelings and needs in different situations. You are also entitled to support measures, for example at school. The type of intervention depends on the severity of the condition, with autism being divided into levels 1, 2 and 3, with 1 being the mildest.

Is autism hereditary?

Research shows that there is a genetic component to autism. If one parent is diagnosed, the risk of other family members having it increases.

How much does an autism assessment cost?

The cost of an autism assessment and treatment can vary depending on where you live and the type of care you seek. It usually costs around u20ac30,000 for private care providers.

Does autism affect school work?

Yes, as autism affects concentration and behavior, it can be a challenge in the school environment. However, special education support can make a big difference.

Can you have ADHD and autism at the same time?

Yes, it is not uncommon to have both. If you think you do, you can have a neuropsychiatric assessment.

What can I do if I think I or my child has autism?

If you suspect autism, contact your healthcare provider for an initial assessment. From there, you can proceed with assessment and treatment if necessary.

Does autism differ between girls and boys?

Traditionally, boys have received more attention and girls have been underdiagnosed. For girls, special interests may include makeup and animals.

Can you have other psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression at the same time as autism?

It is possible to have co-morbidity with other conditions and it is also possible to receive psychological treatment for them.

What rights do you have if you are diagnosed with autism?

If you are diagnosed, you have the right to support, for example during schooling and studies. You also have the right to support at home and interventions via habilitation or the law on support and services for certain disabled people (LSS) based on your needs.

What help is available for autism?

After a diagnosis, it may be time to start treatment. That’s why we want to give you some more detailed information about what help is available after the assessment.

Autism diagnosis

First of all, it is important to get a correct diagnosis. An evaluation is carried out by a psychiatrist and psychologist, you can read more about the assessment above.

Psychotherapy

Treatment for autism may include social skills training, in a group or individual setting. You can also attend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to manage thoughts, feelings and behaviors to improve your well-being. Lavandla’s psychologists can help you or you can get a referral to habilitation where they have different interventions for people with autism.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes can make a big difference in how you deal with your symptoms. You can get support from a psychologist or therapist to maintain routines such as:

  • Regular exercise
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Structured diet

Support and help

A good support system can make a difference to your health. Therefore, family, friends and support groups can give you the extra push you need. Society offers special support to those with reduced working capacity through the National Disability Authority or socoail welfare payments like the Disability Allowance.

There are many groups that can help autistic people in terms of employment and service access. Irish Society for Autism and AsIAm are non-profit associations for people with autism that all offer group activities, lectures and support for relatives. You can contact these organisations directly via their websites (linked above), as well as contacting us at Lavendl via our contact form.

As starting treatment can often seem daunting or challenging, the best step in the right direction can be just having a conversation with a psychologist or therapist. This is why we offer introductory sessions with our therapists where you can be seen on video for 20 or 45 minutes. So you can book a call just to feel how it feels, all to make the hard stuff easier.

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Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.