Autism CPD update 2023 webinar

Dr Dene Robertson, Professor Emily Simonoff, Professor Michael Craig, Dr Quinton Deeley, Dr Sophie Doswell, Dr Rachel Kent, Dr Catherine Sholl, Professor Declan Murphy and Professor Grainne McAlonan

4 hours


December 2023


What is autism, and how do we make a diagnosis in the new era of DSM-5 and ICD-11; Assessment and treatment of common mental health problems in people with ASD

The ability to make diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders is increasingly a requirement within a range of mental health settings. Dr Robertson will consider the clinical phenotype in autism and the diagnostic criteria contained within DSM5 and ICD11. The aim is to increase clinicians' confidence in making a diagnosis ins straight-forward cases.


Dr Dene Robertson and Professor Emily Simonoff


Sex differences in neurodevelopmental disorders; Autism, psychopathy and empathy

Professor Craig will explore the sex differences in autism and Dr Deeley discusses autism, psychopathy and empathy


Professor Michael Craig and Dr Quinton Deeley


Developing psychological interventions for autistic adults; Developing psychological interventions for autistic children

Dr Doswell's talk will include a consideration of the range of psychological services available for autistic adults, describe psychological interventions that help and share some innovations in psychological practice.

Drs Kent and Sholl will present on the current research and evidence base around psychological therapies for children and young people with a diagnosis of autism and their families and networks. They will think about how to adapt interventions, and reflect on their own clinical experiences in this area.


Dr Sophie Doswell, Dr Rachel Kent and Dr Catherine Sholl


Autism, Causes and treatments- where are we now; Pharmacological treatments of autism – research initiatives

Professor Murphy will present initial findings from AIMS-2-Trials ( showing; 1) they have identified novel drug targets (but importantly ruled out others); 2) discovered and validated stratification biomarkers – some of which (e.g. prognostic markers of clinical outcome) have now been accepted by the FDA into their development program, received support from the EMA, and been incorporated into international drug trials; and 3) demonstrated that we can ‘shift‘ biological differences in brain function (and even in adults). We hope that these advances will help underpin new personalised medicine approaches.

Professor McAlonan will explore the need for a paradigm shift away from looking for one treatment to fit all and the need to acknowledge that many people do not need ‘treatment’ for autism but would still like access to better treatments for the mental health difficulties which occur at very high rates in this condition. The findings from pharmacological challenges targeting GABA pathways in autism will be reported. These studies show that biology in autism can be shifted, even in adults. However, unsurprisingly the response to candidate treatments varies and is not always the same as in individuals without autism. Thus, the autistic brain is atypically responsive to some pharmacological challenges. This has implications for using pharmacological interventions developed and tested in non-autistic individuals in autism spectrum conditions. Moving forward this direction of research may improve our understanding of mechanisms underpinning this spectrum and help us to identify likely responders prior to clinical trial.


Professor Declan Murphy and Professor Grainne McAlonan



Non-member £112

Consultant £84

SAS doctor/Higher trainee £62

Core trainee/Subsidised/Retired/Medical student/Foundation doctor £39


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