The Sheffield Asperger Syndrome Service is a national tertiary service offering an out-patient assessment clinic for the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and other Autistic Spectrum conditions, along with assessments for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The clinic is for assessment and advice only and continuing care or treatment cannot normally be provided.
ADHD is thought to be another developmental disorder. Certainly there is some overlap with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Our service always considers co-morbid developmental disorders, such as ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia in conducting an assessment for Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Some patients referred to us turn out to be suffering from ADHD.
Post Diagnostic Support
Whilst some individuals with particularly high levels of need are offered time-limited post-diagnostic support by our service, the ongoing care for all individuals referred to our service remains the responsibility of the referring team. The new Autism Act and Autism strategy clearly recommend follow-up appointments after a diagnosis. It is good practice for diagnosticians to meet with a person who has been diagnosed after the diagnosis to give them a chance to acclimatise themselves and adjust to the diagnosis, and ask the diagnostician for any further clarity on issues raised by the diagnosis or the report.
Receiving a diagnosis can be a life altering time and can leave individuals with a number of difficult and sometimes conflicting emotions. Having the opportunity to discuss this with a clinician who fully understands the diagnosis, difficulties and associated concerns will enable the client to think about and develop useful coping strategies and a full understanding of Autistic Spectrum Conditions, If requested, this time can also be used to support important others in coming to terms with the diagnosis.
Our service can offer psychometric assessment to assess intellectual functioning, strengths and weaknesses. This can provide important information for diagnostic assessments, as well as information for referring teams regarding ongoing care and support.
The service offers a specialist Counselling service with a counselor who specialises in Asperger Syndrome and Autism.
The service can offer training to staff groups external to our Trust. This can be tailored to meet the needs of the team, including:- Introduction to Asperger Syndrome and Autism, Diagnostic and Forensic issues, Counselling and Interventions, Sensory Issues, Communication and Dual Diagnosis.
We are based in St Georges Community Health Centre on Winter Street which is on the outskirts of Sheffield city centre.
No: 95 from the city centre (outside the Sheffield Cathedral or Commercial Street)
Alight at Netherthorpe Road or Shalesmoor and walk for approximately 5 minutes.
Referral Criteria and Funding
Referrals are accepted from both primary and secondary care teams. If you have secured funding prior to making the referral please enclose a copy of the funding approval with your referral, alternatively we will seek funding directly from the relevant NHS Trust on your behalf.
Our service has contracts with some of the surrounding NHS Trusts to Sheffield and alternatively a permission to treat request would be made to the relevant NHS Trust that the service user resides within. As funding protocol can vary from one NHS Trust to another, it is recommended that you contact the local NHS Trust to ascertain their funding protocol for out of city referrals, you may find that they need you to complete a proforma form and to give you funding approval first before you make your referral to our service. A copy of any funding approval agreed by your NHS Trust along with your referral assists our service in speeding up the screening and acceptance of your referral.
How to send your referral to our Service?
Email - sct-ctr.ASDReferrals@nhs.net
Fax – 0114 2262236
Post – Sheffield Asperger Syndrome Service
St George’s Community Health Centre
Benefits of a Diagnosis
A formal diagnosis can give individuals with AS (and their friends and family) a better understanding of their difficulties as well as strengths.
A diagnosis can also prevent common mis-diagnoses (e.g. Schizophrenia and Personality Disorder). In our recent survey of Sheffield residents with AS, findings suggested anxiety and depression are more common in adults who don't have a formal diagnosis. A diagnosis can help individuals access support to help them cope with the difficulties associated with AS and prevent or manage any co-morbid mental health conditions.
Having a diagnosis of AS allows the individual to access community support and to apply for benefits. Many of the non-statutory agencies that exist to help people with AS require a diagnosis before they can offer support.
The Assessment Process
In our assessment of people with AS we include a broad psychological assessment, with advice to the individual (as well as family) about the core difficulties associated with AS. We also recognise that individuals with AS often cope with additional difficulties (e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia, anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD) and we try to offer advice regarding the management of these co-morbid difficulties.
There are often changes an individual can make to their lifestyle which can help them to cope better with their AS. Whilst there is no specific medical or psychological 'treatment' for AS there is strong evidence that the condition improves as people age - one of the reasons for this appears to be that those with AS are able to begin peer relationships which become the basis for social learning.
Many of the anxieties experienced by people with AS are the result of other people misunderstanding their needs or more direct forms of discrimination and bullying. Without a formal diagnosis individuals with AS may struggle to fully understand and make sense of their difficulties (and strengths). Having a diagnosis can help individuals achieve greater self-respect and can also help them assert themselves more successfully when faced with any kind of victimisation.
After the assessment a comprehensive assessment report will be sent to the referring consultant with the clinician's recommendations, a copy of this will also be sent to the service user, general practitioner and any other relevant keyworkers.
Please direct all enquiries to our administrative support staff, Carol Salkeld
0114 271 6964 or 0114 271 8133
Fax No - 0114 2262236
St George's Community Health Centre
Monday to Friday
8.30am to 4.30pm
The Service has collated a comprehensive and useful Bibliography detailing useful contacts such as the National Autistic Society, information on supportive employment/education and a recommended reading list
The Autism Act 2009: Developing specialist skills in autism practice - booklet supported by the Department of Health, developed to give examples of how reasonable adjustments can be used to implement the Autism Act 2009
This page was last updated on 12th February 2013