People with autism have difficulties in three main areas - social communication, social interaction, and repetitive and stereotypic behaviour. Sensory difficulties are also very common.
If you have a family member who you think has these difficulties and would benefit from having a formal assessment then the typical route would be through their GP. Primary Care Trusts have different referral pathways for the assessment and diagnosis of autism, but GPs should be aware of the referral pathway in their area.
However, it can be quite difficult to broach the subject with someone you think may have autism. Often it helps if you know a little bit more about autism and the impact that it has on those who have it first. You might find it helpful to contact the National Autistic Society or to read one of the many books that have been written by people with autism. With this in mind, try to introduce the subject of autism in a more general way at first. When you do broach the subject though, you may discover that it was something that the person was already wondering about themselves.
It may be that you are supporting a work colleague or a client who you think might have autism and would benefit from a formal assessment. Again, the typical route would be through their GP, but you would need to discuss this with the person first.
If you have a family member who already has a diagnosis there are a number of different sources of information about autism. The National Autistic Society has a large resource database where you can find out more.ADRC organises conferences and can also offer consultancy or training for healthcare professionals, social care agencies, employers and other organisations. Visit our Training and Consultation Page for more information.