16 December 2014
Adults in Jersey who have undiagnosed autism are benefiting from a bespoke service run by the Health and Social Services Department (HSSD). This service provides diagnosis and screening assessments for adults with the condition and offers post-diagnostic support.
Considering national prevalence of 1 in 100 people having autism, there are likely to be around 1,000 people on the autism spectrum in Jersey. Autism is a condition that can affect the way a person communicates with other people and relates to the world around them.
Assumpta Finn, Lead for Autism at HSSD said “The service offers initial screening to adults in order to determine the appropriateness of a comprehensive assessment. This assessment is completed over three or four interviews with the individual and their family or next-of-kin.
“Following diagnosis, we then signpost the individual to the services which will offer the most appropriate support. This assessment is facilitated by Clinical Psychologist Dr Sarah Zohhadi and myself.
Considering impact and support
“For those adults who are given a diagnosis of autism, there is an opportunity to attend a six-week post-diagnostic support group. This course covers information relating to what autism is and how it may affect individuals. Attendees also have the opportunity to consider the impact for themselves and the possible support they may require in order to maximise their opportunities in life.”
Referrals can be made by GPs or professionals to the Autism Service, which is now well established having originally launched in August 2013.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Senator Andrew Green said “The development of this service really demonstrates the skilled and professional work which goes on in the community at Health and Social Services. I am proud that due to the hard work of our professional and committed staff, we are able to offer this important service to Islanders who need it as it can offer them support and guidance. I hope that those who use it find it beneficial and I’d like to thank everyone involved who has helped make it happen.”