The autism spectrum assessment team are a multi-disciplinary assessment team consisting of:
The team carry out assessments to look at whether your child may have autism (or an autism spectrum disorder).
If your child is under the age of 5.5 years, referral is through community paediatricians and speech and language therapists.
Before the appointment we will send you forms to complete and will also send a form to your child’s school to complete. If they are home-schooled please talk to us about this and we will try and gather further information from another person who knows them instead. It is important that we have this information before the appointment as we cannot complete our assessment without it.
Your appointment will usually be with 2 clinicians. One of them will spend time with the parent or guardian in order to take a comprehensive history about your child’s development and current presentation; they will also ask you questions about your own life and experiences, and your family history. The other clinician will usually carry out an autism diagnostic observation schedule assessment, which is a play and talk based assessment designed to show us whether your child might have autism.
Following this appointment, there are a number of possible outcomes.
Following any additional assessments, we will discuss our assessments in our multi-disciplinary team meeting; we will then contact you by telephone to discuss the outcome (this can take a few weeks). The team will also consider whether other factors may be impacting on your child’s presentation, such as concentration and inattention, coordination, language, learning or life experiences.
If your child is under 5.5 a multi-agency diagnostic panel will meet to review the information that has been gathered and a conclusion reached. You will be advised of the outcome on the telephone.
Once we have told you about the outcome of the assessment by telephone (or face to face on the day), we will send out the reports to you. You can then contact us to request a follow-up meeting if you have any questions or would like further advice about supports available for you and your child.
As we are an assessment service, we cannot offer any further support or intervention or treatment. However, we will try and signpost you to services who might be able to offer the help that you need.
The referral process for neurodevelopmental assessments includes assessments for:
There are 3 parts to this referral and all sections need to be completed and returned including a referral form (part A).
This needs to be completed by a professional who knows the child or young person in a professional capacity, such as school, GP, other health or social care professional. Please note this form can be completed by your child’s school along with form C.
You will need to enter an email address for the parent and child’s school which will then automatically trigger an email to be sent with a link for forms B and C.
The referral will not be screened until all 3 forms have been completed and returned to us.
This form will be screened to establish the best course of action for this child’s needs and additional information gathered to inform this decision if necessary
Please note, if you feel this young person needs to be assessed for ADHD, there is an expectation that a parenting programme is completed in the first instance. Requests for parenting programmes can be made via the early help hub.
Children under the age of 5.5 where autism spectrum disorder is suspected will be passed to the community paediatricians and speech and language therapists. This will be in the first instance if they are not already open to these services.
The autistic spectrum disorder for parents and carers leaflet (PDF, 362 KB) will give you more information about how to make a referral.
The wellbeing and autism wheel contains lots of useful information about areas of difficulty your child may be experiencing.
For parents of children who are awaiting or considering an autism spectrum disorder assessment we run regular information sessions on Microsoft Teams to tell you more about:
We also run sessions for schools and other professionals to attend. For more information and dates, call 01872 246 945 or email the autism spectrum assessment team.