Psychiatric assessment in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID) is complex and challenging. With co-occurring congenital blindness, this complexity is increased. Systematic knowledge about psychiatric assessment in this combination of challenges is virtually non-existing, and there is little guidance available for clinicians faced with this task. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Experiences from comprehensive psychiatric assessments in two adults with congenital blindness, ASD, and ID are explored and discussed.
Adaptation of assessment procedures usually employed for individuals with ASD and ID involved no major alteration, but co-operation between mental health and visual impairment professionals was important, as was the involvement of the families of the individuals in question. In both cases, the patient met criteria for an anxiety disorder, underlining the vulnerability and the challenges involved in living with this combination of challenges.
There is an urgent need for research into mental health issues for this group, including case studies describing successful treatment or intervention for these issues.
Psychiatric assessment in individuals with this combination of challenges may be feasible, but requires involvement of professionals specializing in mental health in developmental disabilities, and professionals in visual impairment. Assessments need to be individually adapted.
This is the first study systematically describing psychiatric assessment in this group involving the use of checklists and assessment tools. Strategies and tools that were useful are described and discussed to aid other clinicians faced with similar challenges.
The authors would like to thank both families involved in this study.
Kildahl, A.N., Engebretsen, M.H., Horndalsveen, K., Hellerud, J.M.A., Wiik, J.Y., Aasen, G. and Helverschou, S.B. (2019), "Psychiatric assessment in congenital blindness, ASD and ID: experience from two clinical cases", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 194-203. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-03-2019-0007
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