Autism diagnosis as a social process.
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Hayes, J., Ford, T. J., McCabe, R., & Russell, G. (2022). Autism diagnosis as a social process.. Autism, 26 (2), 488-498. https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613211030392
LAY ABSTRACT: When a child or adult is referred for an autism diagnosis, clinicians from different backgrounds work together to make a diagnostic decision. A few studies have asked clinicians in interview how they feel about diagnosis and what the challenges are. We interviewed clinicians in child and adult assessment services in England, and from different professional backgrounds, about the challenges of autism diagnosis and the factors that might influence the assessment process. We found that there were a number of challenges in autism diagnosis, especially when someone coming for diagnosis was considered to be near the diagnostic threshold. Clinicians told us that making a diagnosis was like creating a 'narrative': looking at many different factors that told a story about a person, rather than just looking at the results of diagnostic tests. Clinicians do not always agree with the results of those tests and have to use their specialist clinical judgement to make decisions. Clinicians were concerned about the amount of time people have to wait for an autism assessment, and the resulting pressure on the assessment process. The findings of this work can help us to understand how diagnosis happens and consider ways in which it can be improved for adults, children and families coming for assessment, as well as clinicians.
Original Articles, autism spectrum disorders, diagnosis, health services, policy, qualitative research
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/V011820/1)
Wellcome Trust (108676/Z/15/Z)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/13623613211030392
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/333658