The following advice is adapted from NICE Guideline CG142: Autism in adults: diagnosis and management [Link: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg142]
There should be a single point of access for all ASD referrals for diagnostic assessment
Individuals should be able to self refer for diagnostic assessment
Deciding whether to proceed with a diagnostic assessment
The referral should be accepted if it indicates that:
- The person has no or mild learning disability and scores 6 or more on an AQ10 screening questionnaire (or, if the person scores less than 6, but a false negative result is suspected e.g. due to lack of insight).
- The person has moderate or severe learning disability and two or more of the following are present.
- difficulties in reciprocal social interaction including:
- limited interaction with others (for example, being aloof, indifferent or unusual)
- interaction to fulfil needs only
- interaction that is naive or one-sided
- lack of responsiveness to others
- little or no change in behaviour in response to different social situations
- limited social demonstration of empathy
- rigid routines and resistance to change
- marked repetitive activities (for example, rocking and hand or finger flapping), especially when under stress or expressing emotion.
A referral should not be rejected simply because the person does not have a coexisting mental disorder or learning disability.
If the referral does not indicate that the person may have autistic spectrum disorder, consider referral and/or signposting to other services (e.g. mental health).