Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tokyo, Japan

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorder covers a series of neurological and developmental disorders that begin in childhood and last a lifetime. It is mainly characterized by deficiencies in communication and social interaction, usually accompanied by restrictive and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.Following the publication of DSM-5, Autism is considered to be a spectrum disorder because different symptoms and severities can be contained within the same disorder. Asperger syndrome is included within ASD.Although ASD was considered a childhood disorder, it is now accepted that it continues into adulthood and, especially in cases of mild severity, it is sometimes diagnosed during adolescence or adulthood.

Symptoms and characteristics

Autism is characterized by the presence of disturbance of functioning before three years of age in one or more of the following areas:
  • Social interaction and communication
  • Behavioral patterns
  • Restricted, repetitive and stereotyped interests and activities
Likewise, people affected by ASD usually have the following characteristics:
  • Deficit in socio-emotional reciprocity. They lack the basic social skills of listening, empathy, emotional expression and reciprocity.
  • Deficit in nonverbal communication behaviors. They have problems identifying and acting out the necessary physical behaviours to exercise nonverbal communication, that is, their gestures, signs and facial do not match the situation.
  • Deficit in the development, maintenance and understanding of relationships. It includes difficulty controlling their behavior in different contexts, difficulty to engaging in imaginative play, and in severe cases complete disinterest in others.
Assessment of ASD

Assessment of ASD

The assessment of ASD usually starts with the developmental evaluations that doctors commonly do to babies and young children. The doctors can observe if the development of the child has been delayed or if presents characteristics not common for their age. If the doctor suspects that the child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, a full evaluation by a group of Mental Health professionals will be necessary.The appropriate evaluation for the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders should include not only adequate Psychological Tests, but also systematic Observation in different contexts, and interviews with those involved in the care of the child. In some cases it is also necessary to do medical exams to rule out other diseases or medical conditions. That is why the Assessment of ASD is usually a team work between psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians and neurologists.

Treatment of ASD

Treatment of ASD is oriented toward interventions with the aim of improving the quality of life of the affected person and their family. These interventions can be grouped into three areas: biological, psychological and social or lifestyle interventions.Biological intervention refers mainly to the use of psychiatric medication in severe cases. The medication must be chosen with great care by the doctor, and usually helps specific symptoms, such as inattention, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. However, there is no medication that globally decreases the symptoms of ASD, and more research is needed in the area.Psychological intervention is mainly based on Behavioral Cognitive Therapy (CBT), social training and behavioral strategies. Its objective is to improve the person’s behavior while reducing negative symptoms such as anxiety.Social or lifestyle interventions go hand in hand with psychological intervention and focus on controlling problematic symptoms and acquiring the skills necessary for daily life (personal care, social skills, work skills). Early intervention programs (from infancy to six years of age) have proven effective in reducing autistic behaviors.However, the prognosis for cases of ASD depend to a great extent on the level of severity. Their development is often unpredictable. Each case must be studied specifically to determine the best strategies.
ASD | What to Do

ASD | What to Do

If you think you or your child are suffering from symptoms of ASD, seek further assessment from a doctor and discuss what sort of treatment might be helpful.Come see us at Tokyo Psychiatry Clinic at American Clinic Tokyo in Akasaka for assessment. Dr Andrew Kissane, our UK-trained, British Tokyo psychiatrist is a native English speaker. He is on the General Medical Council’s medical register in the UK, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and holds a Japanese medical license.If you wish to get a Complete Evaluation and Assessment for the diagnosis of ASD, please email us requesting the Psychological Testing Service at our Shintomi office.

Psychiatry Clinic at American Clinic Tokyo in Akasaka

Tokyo Psychiatry Clinic


American Clinic Tokyo3rd Floor Niikura Building 1-7-4 Akasaka, TokyoEasy access from Nambuko line, Ginza line and the Marunouchi line via Tameike-Sanno station – exit 13, 2 minutes walk Parking available nearby

Office Hours

  • Monday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Psychological Evaluation at Tokyo Mental Health offices in Shintomi

Tokyo Mental Health Therapy Office


6F Urbane Mitsui Building, Shintomi 2-4-6, Chuo-ku, TokyoEasy access from Asakusa line, Ginza line, Yurakucho line, Hibiya line, and JR Yamanote line:
  • Shintomicho station – exit 3, 1-minute walk
  • Takaracho station – exit A1, 9-minute walk
  • Kyobashi station exit 1, 10-minute walk
  • Ginza 1-chome station, exit 10, 10-minute walk
  • Higashi Ginza station exit A7 or exit 3, 11-minute walk
  • JR Yurakucho station, 15-minute walk

Office Hours

  • Monday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Sunday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM