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Differential Diagnosis and Comorbidity in Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)


Learning Event: 24 February, Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

NHS Education for Scotland (NES) will today (24 February) host a learning event that contributes to improved access and quality of diagnosis for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The event, Differential Diagnosis and Co-Morbidity in ASD, is for health professionals involved in the diagnostic process for ASD and is intended to develop practice where establishing a diagnosis is complex and assessment occurs in the context of a number of other conditions.

NES has received funding from Scottish Government to develop a Training Framework, Training Plan and supporting e-learning and web resources for health and social care workers in Scotland to help deliver the recommendations of the Scottish Autism strategy (2011)

A key aim of the Scottish Autism strategy (2011) is to ensure that both children and adults have access to a good quality assessment when a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder is being considered.  Appropriate diagnosis forms the foundation that helps individuals, their families and carers to understand their condition and access the best support available.

Marie Claire Shankland, Programme Director, Psychology, NES, said:

“We are delighted to be hosting this event and to offer such an excellent programme.

”The event will form the basis of an online resource to be hosted on the NES e-learning platform. In this way health professionals attending the event, and the wider community of clinicians working in assessment and diagnosis of ASD, will have access to the learning materials they need to maintain their competence and confidence. 

“Addressing the learning needs of such professionals is key to improving the quality of diagnostic decisions especially where there are complex presentations in both children and adults.”


Reference: PR2016-004

Further Information From
Mary-Jo O’Brien, Communications Manager, NES tel. 07785 384393

Note to Editors
Learning Event programme

NHS Education for Scotland (NES)  is a national special health board working to provide education, training and workforce development for those who work in and with NHS Scotland. Our aim is to provide excellence in health and care for the people of Scotland through high quality education, training and development.

We recruit, fund, manage training progression, and quality assure the workplace training placements for post-graduate professionals in key disciplines including medicine, dentistry, clinical psychology, pharmacy and healthcare science.  We also support undergraduate placements in medicine and nursing. 

We develop and commission courses, educational events and learning resources to support all staff who work in and with NHS Scotland in their continuing development.  This includes both profession specific requirements, and responding to Scottish Government priorities such as dementia and HAI.

We provide an extensive educational infrastructure that supports learning and workforce development across all of Scotland.  This includes resources in the shape of educators who we fund and place in NHS Boards and in care environments; and buildings and equipment such as the teach and treat centres which we support.  It also includes our digital infrastructure which enables individual learners to access data relating to their training records and progression; provides systems for them to record their learning in ePortfolios, supporting appraisal and revalidation; and gives them access to a wealth of elearning resources from NES and our partners.

In everything we do we work in partnership with NHS Boards, with national regulatory bodies, with Scotland’s universities and colleges and with organisations such as SSSC and SFC.  We operate across Scotland and maintain a local perspective through our bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Key figures: throughout 2014-15 our work included...

  • Support for 5,700 trainee doctors
  • Training 1,000 staff in clinical skills
  • Training 322 Family Nurse Partnership Practitioners
  • Revalidating 400 medical trainees
  • Funding 160 dental vocational training places
  • Overseeing a 96% pass rate of trainees on the pre-registration pharmacist scheme
  • Provided events for 200 health visitors and practice teachers
  • 93 Pharmacists Commissioned to undertake prescribing qualifications
  • 111 applications supported for the AHP Career Fellowship Scheme
  • 322 practitioners trained via the Psychology of Parenting Project
  • 2.1 million searches on the Knowledge Network

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