Psychiatric services for adolescents and adults with Asperger syndrome and other autistic-spectrum disorders

This report produced by the Royal College of Psychiatrists is a consensus view of the psychiatric services required for people with autism in adolescence and adulthood.

The focus is often on diagnosis, but this is only one part of a wider process of multidisciplinary assessment that should then flow on to management. While the report focuses narrowly on psychiatry, it recognises that this is only one part of a more extensive range of services. It is addressed to psychiatrists, stakeholders in the development of ASD services and commissioners of adolescent and adult services, across all the psychiatric specialities.

After a description of the syndrome, its comorbidity and epidemiology, the report distinguishes diagnosis from the fuller, multidisciplinary assessment. Reviewing the methodology and difficulties of this process, it concludes that all psychiatrists should be able to recognise the syndrome, diagnosing it in clear-cut cases, and be aware of its implications. This has to be the subject of postgraduate training at all levels, from basic psychiatric training through to the consultant’s continuing professional development.

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