Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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What does an ADHD assessment look like and what can you expect?

You will be asked to complete a few questionnaires on relevant issues.

The assessment consists of a semi-structured interview probing the main areas of functioning that are usually involved in ADHD; this is called the DIVA (the Diagnostic Interview for ADHD in Adults). This interview yields scores for attention deficit and for hyperactivity and impulsivity and these scores are mapped against internationally agreed diagnostic thresholds, above which it is highly likely someone has ADHD and below which it is clear they don't. This information is merged with the information elicited in the general assessment with the specialist, during which relevant issues are explored which are having an impact on someone's life.

Ultimately the specialist establishes the diagnosis: he can overrule any scores from the DIVA if there are sound clinical grounds to do so.

All the findings will be summarised in a report, which is held securely in our practice system: you will be sent a unique link by email, which will enable you to download the report in pdf format and save or print it. The report is your property: you can choose to share it with others (e.g. your GP), but you don't have to. Before the final version is shared with you, you can ask for amendments if you think something important is forgotten or a detail is wrong.

The assessment concludes with deciding a treatment plan: ADHD is eminently treatable with medication, although there is sometimes also a role for other approaches, such as ADHD coaching or psychotherapeutic interventions.

The prescription is free during the titration period. The cost of medication is naturally not included and will need to be paid extra to the pharmacy. It concludes with a Shared Care Agreement.

We normally recommend using a pharmacy that delivers the medication to you, as it is more secure. They are called Pharmacierge and we can arrange for the prescription to be sent to them directly: you will get a payment link from them on your mobile phone and once you have paid, they will deliver the medication to you: within 24hrs if you are within the London area and within 48hrs anywhere else in the UK.

Once a treatment plan is agreed, a so-called titration period starts. As it is largely unpredictable what medication and what dose is the right one for a particular individual, it is a matter of trial and error to establish it. The titration period involves regular, half-hour, reviews to monitor response and adjust the treatment accordingly.

The main medications are controlled drugs, which means prescribing is subject to legal restrictions, so prescriptions are for a maximum of 30 days.

It is unpredictable how many reviews are needed in an individual case before it is clear a sustained and optimal improvement has been achieved. When that happens, a shared care agreement is put together to invite the GP to take over prescribing on the NHS, after which we review the patient once every 6 months. These various components of the treatment plan follow the relevant NICE guidelines.

What does an Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment look like and what can you expect?

Before the assessment you will be sent a questionnaire to complete: the RITVO AUTISM ASPERGER DIAGNOSTIC SCALE - revised (RAADS-R). This consists of 80 statements, covering a range of symptoms and features in four areas of daily functioning: social relatedness, circumscribed interests, language and sensorimotor features. You may also be asked to complete other questionnaires on relevant issues.

The assessment consists of an interview probing the main areas of functioning that you are worried about. The findings of the interview are merged with the result of the RAADS-R and the various scores are explained. That may lead to a diagnosis. If a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is made, there will often follow a free-floating discussion in which you can ask for clarifications and explanations.

Although autism is not an illness that can be treated with medication as such, there are symptoms and phenomena that may respond to treatment and this will be discussed and a treatment plan formulated, if that is appropriate.

All the findings as well as any treatment plan will be summarised in a report, which is held securely in our practice system: you will be sent a unique link by email, which will enable you to download the report in pdf format and save or print it. The report is your property: you can choose to share it with others (e.g. your GP), but you don't have to. Before the final version is shared with you, you can ask for amendments if you think something important is forgotten or a detail is wrong.

The prescription for any medication is free, but you will have to pay a pharmacy for the medication itself.

We normally recommend using a pharmacy that delivers the medication to you, as it is more secure. They are called Pharmacierge and we can arrange for the prescription to be sent to them directly: you will get a payment link from them on your mobile phone and once you have paid, they will deliver the medication to you: within 24hrs if you are within the London area and within 48hrs anywhere else in the UK.

Often people just want to know if they have autism or not and in those cases there may not be a need for further follow-up. But sometimes there are issues in someone's life that are the consequence of autism and have a detrimental effect on e.g. work or relationships. In such cases follow up sessions can be arranged to explore these matters further and to find out how best to manage them.

The report will be accompanied by a list of sources of information and potential support, including a reading list and a list of web-based resources, scrutinised for trustworthiness.

We use the terms Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome interchangeably: the first is a wider term, covering a range of presentations whereas the latter is more defined. There is a debate about which name is correct: we consider these debates largely ideological and not scientific and such opinions vary over time. It is noteworthy that many people with Asperger's Syndrome prefer that name, over the term ASD. We feel that it is up to people with autism themselves to decide what name they prefer.