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In the first part of this blog, the concept of psychological assessments for adults was introduced. The aim of these assessments is to identify better the difficulties that clients present with, inform diagnosis if appropriate and assist in the development of suitable interventions. In this blog, the focus will be on psychological assessments which can lead to the diagnosis of Autism, ADHD and Dyslexia.

Nowadays we have more awareness about these conditions and schools are better equipped to identify such difficulties. Nonetheless, some children/adolescents may not be referred for an assessment. This leads to children’s needs not being identified, not provided with the necessary support and when they become adults, they are unable to function at their best. Difficulties can become more apparent within the workplace when there are inconsistencies between what is expected of them and their performance. The following are some difficulties which can be experienced by individuals who have Autism, ADHD or Dyslexia: planning, organisation, reading accuracy, writing, proofreading, teamwork, attention and developing a sense of belonging.

An adult who has ADHD can be very easily distracted. Thus, focusing on tasks and completing them on time can be a challenge. Controlling one’s impulses can also be another challenge for adults with ADHD and this can frequently get them into trouble because they do not stop to think about the consequences their actions could have. Associated with this is emotional regulation where difficulties in this area can result in temperamental outbursts. If these adults are requested to do jobs where they have to spend a considerable amount of time seated, they may struggle to do so due to hyperactivity. Usually, active jobs are more suitable for adults who have ADHD as they can move around more. Difficulties with the executive functioning can also be present. Challenges in this area manifest themselves by struggling to remember information, time management, procrastination, planning and completing tasks efficiently.

At the workplace, adults with Dyslexia can struggle with tasks which involve reading and writing. When they are given written instructions as opposed to oral instructions it can be more challenging for them to follow. Usually they also require more time to process information and therefore may need additional time or extensions to complete assigned tasks.

Individuals who have Autism typically have difficulties to socially interact with other individuals and to communicate effectively with them. They can isolate themselves and have minimal friendships. At work, individuals with Autism may struggle to build effective relationships with colleagues and to work on tasks which require them to work in a team. They can also struggle to understand abstract concepts, metaphors and sarcasm thus not being able to understand the context of particular situations.

In conclusion, a psychological assessment is helpful to identify a client’s strengths and areas of need. If there is a condition/disorder, the psychologist formulates a diagnosis and supports their client in developing coping strategies to function better. Accommodations which can be implemented at the work setting are also provided so as to maximise the client’s potential.

Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on marilyn@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.