The numbers of persons identified as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are rising and, as a consequence, clinicians are increasingly presented with clients who themselves may fall on the autism spectrum or who have a family member affected by some form of this disorder.
However, many clinicians are not formally trained to deal with these specific and significant problems. When faced with clients who challenge one's boundaries of competence, it is important to be able to assist the individual; however, it is equally important to know when one's skills and background may be limited and when outside consultation or expertise is required.
Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Clinical Guide for Mental Health Practitioners provides background on ASD and outlines decision points that help clarify when a clinician has the requisite skills to help and when a referral is needed to someone with more specialised training.
Based on his current knowledge of evidence-based assessments and treatments, author V. Mark Durand breaks down the types of specialised assistance to which a clinician might refer someone.
Durand refers to two cases throughout the discussion of diagnostic criteria, etiology, comorbid conditions, screening and assessment, treatment, and treating the needs of family members, bringing to life these disorders and appropriate approaches to assessment and treatment.