A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. At CAN, this specialty conducts assessment for both mental and physical conditions associated with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Within the CAN transdisciplinary team, psychiatrists contribute their medical knowledge to each patient's individualized plan of care.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that everyone experiences different degrees of symptoms that impact them differently. Autism can be associated with comorbidities, or conditions that often occur alongside autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Psychiatrists can assess and treat these comorbidities, which can include self-injury, depression, anxiety, or aggression among many other things. These symptoms can cause distress not only to the patient, but also others around them.
What does a psychiatrist do?
During the initial psychiatric evaluation, the psychiatrist’s job is to assess the patient for the signs/symptoms/history of ASD characteristics, rule out other disorders, as well as evaluate for and diagnose common ASD comorbidities. Based on this evaluation, the psychiatrist will determine the appropriate course of treatment, including referrals to other specialists and orders for additional labs, tests, and other assessments to determine the presence of related conditions.
A psychiatrist evaluates for co-occuring symptoms related to the patient’s diagnosis and may prescribe necessary treatments that can lead to increased independent living and quality of life. Treatments may include medications, psychotherapy, and assistance obtaining evidence-based educational and behavioral interventions. The psychiatrist will then evaluate the patient’s response to treatment and make adjustments as necessary.
We offer assistance to community providers, including other psychiatrists, to make recommendations to align with medication best practices in the treatment of individuals diagnosed with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
A psychiatrist contributes their medical expertise to the CAN transdisciplinary team, so they can provide the best comprehensive plan of care for CAN patients.