Course News: Given the Autism Strategy of 2010 and the Scottish Strategy for Autism (2011), there has been significant interest amongst a wide variety of professionals in acquiring the skills to screen, assess and diagnose Asperger Syndrome and related conditions in the adult population.
A number of applicants have expressed interest in the course and wish to attend only individual sessions or part of the training. In addition we have had much interest from those working in an educational framework, validly seeking the training. Whilst many of these are valid requests, we are unable to offer part-attendance or to accept applications from all professional groups. Primary objectives of the training are to equip relatively experienced clinicians with particular skills to recognise, screen, assess and diagnose individuals presenting with possible AS features in a variety of settings. Given the degree of co-morbidity in this clinical population as well as the range of possible differential diagnoses it is important that assessment and diagnoses are conducted by clinically trained professionals with experience in assessment and diagnosis. Typically the training would suit those deriving from backgrounds which include clinical psychology, neuropsychology, occupational psychology, psychiatry, speech and language therapy and educational psychology (with suitable experience).
Since the original course in 2010, we have successfully extended the training to include a post-course assignment. This affords delegates the opportunity to conduct an assessment employing the screening measures and the AAA approach subsequent to the training course. Delegates will be required to submit a completed AAA for evaluation by course staff. There is no pre-course work to be carried out.
The AAA, unlike several other existing diagnostic approaches/measures, was developed primarily as a clinical tool to assist in assessment and diagnosis and is not a research measure. The emphasis in the approach is therefore primarily clinical and while it can be used in research it is not intended as a research instrument. As a consequence we do not generally accept non-clinically trained researchers onto the programme, whilst
encouraging the use of the AAA amongst clinicians wishing to do research.
Whilst the AAA training courses have been developed from the work carried out in the specialist diagnostic CLASS clinic in Cambridge and the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Cambridge, these are now being run completely independently of the NHS and the university. We are, however, fortunate to retain the excellent support of both clinical and research staff from Cambridge, including those who were involved in developing or adapting the screening measures (at the ARC) and clinicians at CLASS employing them on a day-to-day basis. We are fortunate too, to have the significant contribution of a senior researcher who will present a thorough overview of the neurobiology of autistic spectrum conditions – a keen and necessary reminder of the biological basis of these particular conditions.
We have continued to secure a special venue for the training and the next course will be held at The University Centre, in Cambridge. Once formally offered a place on one of the training courses, the course administrator, Suzanne Williams, will send you details of the location.
Since these courses are no longer being subsidised by the ARC or the NHS, the course fees have necessarily been raised (contact email@example.com) for an application form). We understand that this is disappointing at this time of austerity and hope this will not affect your decision to attend. However this fee also includes the additional post-course work now required.
Please send an email to the course administrator, Suzanne Williams, at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in attending the next course.
We have been granted accreditation from the BPS, but Psychiatrists attending the course should submit the programme for peer group approval. This course would be awarded a maximum of 6 CPD points per day subject to peer group approval.
We look forward to welcoming you onto one of our courses soon.
Dr Janine Robinson