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Autism is officially known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social and communication abilities, restricted interests or repetitive behaviours, and sensory processing. The term “spectrum” describes that the symptoms vary in type and severity across different individuals.

Traits and characteristics of ASD may appear by the age of 2 years old. Some children do not reach developmental milestones, while others appear to develop typically until the disorder manifests itself possibly even during their teenage years. 

  1. Impairments to social and communication skills
  • Avoid eye contact 
  • Does not respond to social cues 
  • Difficult to form emotional bond and parental attachment
  • Unable to maintain a conversation 
  • Aggressive outbursts
  • Remain nonverbal (in severe cases) 
  1. Repetitive behaviour

Examples of repetitive behaviours as below: 

  • Hand flapping and body rocking 
  • Making repetitive sounds or noises
  • Arrange or stack objects over and over 
  • Hand biting and head banging
  • Preference for repeating the same routines in everyday lives

    3. Restricted interests

  • Abnormal amount of fascination with objects or subjects like leaves, a fan, water or drawing
  • May spend an inappropriate amount of time on those interests and become experts on the topic

    4. Heightened response to sensory experiences

  • Such as a soft blanket, buzzing lightbulb or an uncomfortable shirt
  • Response could either be calming or distressing.

It is crucial that you consult a professional clinical psychologist who can accurately assess and diagnose autism. Apart from observing and interacting with your child, a clinical psychologist is able to use assessment tools (that provide scoring) to objectively determine whether there is autism and the severity. If required, a comprehensive report is optional for clients as some would want to use it for school placement or OKU card applications. However, clients can still request for a comprehensive report for their own purposes. Upon being diagnosed, clinical psychologists can provide consultation to parents and the child on ways to manage the situation and symptoms, and also referrals to recommended interventive therapies such as occupational therapy, speech therapy or psychiatrists. 

The first session would take 90 minutes. This involves interviewing the parents first to understand more about their child’s presented behaviours at home and the challenges that they and their child are facing. Then, the psychologist would interact with the child to observe and assess the child’s behaviour and responses. With the input from both the parents and the child, the clinical psychologist would comment on whether the child needs assessment tools (with scoring to diagnose and determine severity). An official quotation with the prices for recommended assessment tools will be sent to the client. If the client decides to proceed with the assessment tools, a next session would be set to do so. 

Client attendance is compulsory for the first session, and the charges for the first session would be RM280 for 90 minutes. Depending on the severity, the clinical psychologist may or may not be able to provide an accurate diagnosis within that initial session. If a comprehensive objective test is recommended, we would send you a quotation that includes the administration fee (RM220 per hour, depending on how many assessment tools were proposed), briefing consultation fee (RM220 per hour) and the charges for the various tests and reports. The quotation will differ from client to client based on the assessment tools administered. 

In the briefing session, if the assessment result shows that your child has autism, we would provide analysis regarding the areas needed for improvement and intervention. We would usually refer your child to professionals such occupational therapists or speech therapists who mainly focus on certain interventions. 

GARS-2 is a screening tool used to assess autism spectrum disorder for individuals between 3 – 22 years old. It is designed to help differentiate between those with autism, severe behavioural disorders and those who are developing typically.

Our clinical psychologist converses fluently in Mandarin and English.