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Meet the Team
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Dr Saoirse Mac Cárthaigh 
Chartered Educational and Child Psychologist
Sinéad Coughlan
Senior Speech and Language Therapist

Dr. Saoirse Mac Cárthaigh is a Chartered Educational and Child Psychologist with the Psychological Society of Ireland (M12071C). Saoirse specialises in autism diagnostic assessments for children and adolescents.

 

Saoirse's training has given him the skills to help his clients to thrive. He received the Best All-Round Student Award in a Psychology and Learning Disability master's degree. In 2021, he was awarded the Professional Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland.

For 10+ years, Saoirse has supported young people in schools, universities and psychological services. His goal is to support lifelong change for his clients. 

 

Saoirse received the Karl Nunkoosing Prize for Outstanding Research. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals. For a list of publications, click here

Autism advocacy is a cause which is close to Saoirse's heart. He has been involved in advocacy work for AsIAm, Ireland's national autism charity. Learn more here.​

​Get in touch to see how high-quality psychological services can help your child thrive.

Since qualifying with a Masters Degree in Bilingual Speech and Language Pathology from Arizona State University, USA, Sinead has worked in a variety of settings from preschool, primary school, special school, clinic based and private practice.  She has extensive experience working with children with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability.

Sinead has a passion for helping families maximise the potential in their child by providing individualised assessment and intervention plans that will be functional and achievable.

Sinead has extensive experience with assessment and completing the assessment of need for families.

Sinead has many years experience working alongside teachers, SNAs, social care staff, and parents and greatly values the team approach to best support a person with communication difficulties.

Sinead is registered with CORU, IASLT and ASHA.

Additional training courses completed include: DIR/Floortime, SCERTS, Michael Palin PCI Therapy, Solution-focussed therapy for SLT, Derbyshire Language Scheme, Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale-2 (ADOS-2), Parents Plus, Picky Eaters Versus Problem Eaters, SOS Approach to Feeding, Gestalt language processing, and sensory processing for SLPs.

Multi-Disciplinary Autism Diagnostic Assessment:
What are the Benefits?

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects communication, social interaction, and behaviour. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for individuals with ASD, as they can lead to better outcomes and improved quality of life. On this page, the benefits of an autism diagnostic assessment are outlined. The main components of the evaluation are also detailed.

Early Identification and Intervention

One of the most significant advantages of an autism diagnostic assessment is the early identification of ASD in children. The assessment process allows professionals to detect signs and symptoms of autism as early as possible, often before the age of three. Early intervention is vital, as it can lead to more effective support and therapies, helping children develop crucial skills that may be challenging for them, such as communication, social interaction, and adaptive behavior.

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Access to Services and Support

A formal autism diagnosis often serves as a gateway to accessing various services and support systems. In Ireland, with a recognized autism diagnosis, individuals and their families may be eligible for various governmental support, therapeutic services, educational accommodations, and community resources. These services can make a significant difference in the individual's life, enabling them to reach their full potential and participate more actively in society.

Enhanced School Support

For children with autism, educational settings can be challenging without the appropriate support. An autism diagnostic assessment helps identify the child's specific needs, allowing educators to develop individualized education plans and implement strategies that promote learning and inclusion. With targeted interventions, children with ASD can thrive in school, achieve academic success, and build meaningful relationships with peers. An autism diagnostic assessment is required for access to a specialised autism classroom.

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The Main Components of an Autism Diagnostic Assessment:

  1. Initial Consultation: The initial meeting with parents or caregivers gathers information about the child's developmental milestones, behaviour, and any concerns related to autism or other developmental differences.

  2. School Consultations or Observation: In some cases, professionals may observe the individual in their educational setting. Alternatively, the psychologist may consult with school staff as a part of the assessment. School involvement helps identify specific behaviours and challenges associated with autism.

  3. Autism-specific Assessment Tools: Psychologists use standardized tools to assess autism-related behaviours and characteristics. At SMC Psychology, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) are typically used.

  4. Cognitive Assessment: These assessments evaluate the individual's cognitive abilities, strengths, and areas of difficulty, providing a comprehensive profile of their intellectual functioning.

  5. Mental Health Screening: The psychologist may conduct a screening assessment for mental health challenges such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, or anxiety.

  6. Academic Assessment: In some cases, the psychologist may assess the individual's literacy or numeracy skills, to help identify a specific learning difficulty (e.g., dyslexia).

  7. Adaptive Behavior Assessments: These assessments focus on the individual's adaptive functioning, assessing their ability to perform everyday tasks independently.

  8. Feedback Meeting: After the diagnostic assessment report has been completed, the psychologist meets with the family to discuss the assessment results and outline the next steps.

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