​​​​​Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is characterised by difficulties in social communication and restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviours and interests.​​​​​​​

 The ABCs of ASD (Children)​​

The ABCs of ASD (Adults)

To learn more about ASD in adults, refer to ​Adult Neurodevelopmental Service - IMH | Institute of Mental Health.

It is estimated that one out of 150 children today have some form of ASD. Individuals with ASD present differently, but some of these signs that warrant further investigation include:

There is currently no cure for autism, but there are interventions that may target areas of needs and weaknesses. These usually involve teaching of skills and providing some form of therapy to the individual. Some autistic individuals might require speech therapy while others might benefit from social skills training or need support in emotional regulation. Some autistic individuals might also require occupational therapy or vocational training. There is no one standard treatment or intervention for individuals on the spectrum. Treatment must be individualised, discussed collaboratively with the individual and/or caregivers, and be delivered at an age or developmentally appropriate level.

  • Psychological Services
    There are several approaches that may address underlying psychological issues faced by some individuals on the spectrum. For example, some autistic individuals may experience anxiety when they are not able to manage changes in their daily routines or experience difficulties in understanding social situations. A form of psychological approach, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) may be helpful for autistic individuals in understanding and managing their emotions. CBT aims to encourage more adaptive ways of thinking and actions which can lead to better adjustment and emotional well-being. Alternatively, some individuals on the spectrum may attend social skills intervention programme to better understand social norms, expectations of behaviours, or learn to navigate social situations across time. Social skills intervention programmes can be varied and multi-modal. The choice of programme should be decided based on the needs of the autistic individual.
  • Behavioural Therapy
    Behavioural therapy changes what people do by teaching them to respond to things in a different way. There are many different modalities of behavioural therapy. It focuses on the individual’s behaviours and aims to modify the undesirable behaviours and shape the desirable ones in ways that are respectful, adopts natural consequences, engages the individuals in their environment and should be developmentally appropriate. Behavioural therapy should only be conducted by trained professionals.
  • Occupational Therapy
    Occupational therapy uses a variety of purposeful activities to help address some of the difficulties autistic individuals may have to deal with in their day-to-day activities. These may involve sensory integration therapy, motor skills training, teaching handwriting skills, as well as activities to acquire the skills of independent daily living.
  • Other interventions
    There are a variety of interventions that can be targeted to meet the needs of the autistic individuals. Some individuals will require Augmentative and Alternative Communication strategies such as using Picture Exchange Communication System (PECs) to support their communication with others. Visual supports can often be helpful to facilitate understanding of tasks expectations in learning and daily living.  
  • Medication for Autism Spectrum Disorder
    There is no medicine that cures autism. However, some medicines can help alleviate other conditions that may be more common in autistic individuals. For instance, medication may alleviate hyperactive and disruptive problems that may inhibit or prevent learning in schools. Medication does not replace psychological intervention or behavioural management. Medication is often used together with non-pharmacological intervention to provide holistic care in managing the symptoms and difficulties of the autistic individuals. Medications should only be prescribed by trained certified doctors, usually a psychiatrist or paediatrician who is involved in autism care.

    ​​​If you feel that your child has developmental delays, or present with difficulties in the areas of social interaction and communication, and has a rigid pattern of behaviour, you may like to bring your child to consult a professional for a diagnosis.

For preschoolers, developmental paediatricians, such as doctors at the KKH Department of Child Development and the NUH Child Development Unit would be able to assess these concerns.

For school-going children and adolescents from 6 – 18 years old, the IMH Neuro-Behavioural Clinic offers autism diagnostic services and interventions for co-morbid mental health concerns. To make an appointment to see a doctor at the Child Guidance Clinic, please call 6389 2200 or email HPB@imh.com.sg for enquiries.

For adults with Intellectual Disability (ID) and/or ASD with co-occurring mental health conditions​, the Adult Neurodevelopmental Service (ANDS) provides assessment and treatment. ​For more info, visit Adult Neurodevelopmental Service - IMH | Institute of Mental Health

​​Neuro-Behavioural Clinic

The Neuro-Behavioural Clinic at Child Guidance Clinic (CGC) offers Autism Services. We are a multidisciplinary team consisting of psychiatrists and allied health specialists such as psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists. We provide clinically proven autism assessment services and evidence-based intervention. Ongoing research in Autism is also one of our primary foci.

We offer services to children and youth diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders between 6 and 19 years old. These services include:

Individual Programmes

  • Diagnosis and Assessment
  • Individualised intervention in areas such as anxiety management, self-organisation, self-regulation, social skills, etc
  • Psychological management of co-morbid mental health issues
  • Pharmacological management of co-morbid mental health issues
  • Parent education
  • Referral to community resources or consultation with schools

Group Programmes

  • Groups addressing emotion regulation, such as anxiety and anger management
  • Transition groups, such as from Primary to Secondary school​

Other Useful Information About Autism Spectrum Disorder

Other Useful Information About Autism Spectrum Disorder
All patients are seen by appointment only. Referrals may be accepted via a doctor from the Child Guidance Clinics (IMH). For an appointment to CGC, please contact your family doctor, polyclinics or social agency. For enquiries, you can contact us at 6389 2200 or email HPB@imh.com.sg.

Neuro-Behavioural Clinic​​