Autism is a lifelong pervasive neurodevelopmental condition with a broad range of phenotypic expression and severity. The cardinal symptoms are:
- Difficulties with social communication (an individual's ability to reciprocally communicate with others).
- Difficulties with social interaction (the ability to develop and maintain relationships).
- Restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour and interests, including difficulty with change.
The suspicion of autism read code is 1J9.
For GPs considering referring to our service:
- What characteristics and behaviours do they report which match autism symptoms?
- Are these issues life long, or has there been a recent onset or change in behaviour?
- Are the characteristics pervasive across all areas of the individual's life?
- How would the process and outcome of this assessment be of benefit to their mental and emotional wellbeing?
- What do the people who know them well think about the idea of being assessed for a possible autism diagnosis?
In your referral letter please summarise:
- Your reasons for referring.
- Evidence for any differences in your patient's social and communicative presentation, as well as any fixed routines, rituals or special interests.
- A health record summary.
- If the patient brings any written evidence of their concerns consider enclosing this in your referral.
The RCGP has identified Autistic Spectrum Disorder as a Clinical Priority, and Bristol GP, Dr Carole Buckley is the RCGP Clinical Champion for autism. They have collated a range of resources on their website.