Contact us

Children's Care Management Centre, Truro Health Park, Infirmary Hill, Truro, TR1 2JA

Call 01872 246 945.

Email the Neurodevelopmental Assessment Team.

Neurodiversity strategy

As part of our Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly One Vision partnership planning with children, young people, and families, we are committed to the development of a refreshed, positive and inclusive strategy for celebrating neurodiversity.

The aim of this is to improve the developmental outcomes and experience of children, young people and families and ensure those who have additional needs in their developmental journey receive an appropriate supportive response.

New neurodiversity pathway

To help us understand and support neurodiversity in our children and young people the neurodevelopmental pathway has changed. This replaces the previous pathway that required a direct referral into diagnostic assessment

The pathway now requires families and young people in collaboration with practitioners to participate in neurodiversity profiling as the first step. By moving to a needs-led approach that relies on our ability to profile neurodevelopmental differences and needs, we can provide a more personalised response, clear guidance on making relevant reasonable adjustments and access to an initial offer of early help.

Profiling will form the foundation on which consideration of a diagnostic assessment sits. This will be managed through a new consultation process.

We are training our children's workforce and support staff (schools, settings, health, voluntary sector, local authority, CAMHS, and early years) and offering information sessions for parents to promote the use of neurodiversity profiling as part of everyone's toolkit when working with children and young people.

GPs will not be undertaking profiling. Instead, they will redirect to other health and local authority professionals or schools that know the child. For advice, email the Neurodevelopmental Team.

What is involved in profiling neurodevelopmental needs?

The tool is not an assessment. It is a tool to guide a collaborative conversation between a parent, professional and young person (if appropriate) that creates a visual record. The tool focuses on 9 neurodevelopmental areas to understand:

  • the challenges faced
  • what is and is not working
  • what else could be tried

The conversation can identify where children and young people may present differently in different situations where for example, they may be masking.

The 9 areas explored are:

  1. Speech and language ability.
  2. Energy levels.
  3. Attention skills and impulse control.
  4. Emotion regulation skills.
  5. Motor skills.
  6. Sensory needs.
  7. Flexibility and adaptability.
  8. Empathising and systemising.
  9. Cognitive abilities.

These do not exist in isolation but exist within a wider child development context. It is important to consider other areas, such as sleep, nutrition, bladder and bowel, mental health, and trauma. These other areas will form part of the conversation if needed.

The profiling tool provides a holistic view of a child or young person’s needs and helps to identify strategies or further sources of support to help manage those needs in different areas of a life, such as at home, at their early years setting, school or college, and in the community. The process of completing the profile is done with the family, and not for or to or by the family.

The Parent Carers Cornwall Neurodiversity Hub is best used in conjunction with the profiling tool. More details on identified needs are available on the website.

We would recommend working in partnership with the parent and someone who knows the child well. If the young person can look at the website themselves, it can be an empowering resource for them to learn about their needs and develop strategies to help themselves.

Neurodiversity profiling tool training will last in the region of 3 hours. There is no cost and includes all the necessary resources. Register your interest for the training.


The actions, strategies and reasonable adjustments identified from the profiling should be trialled for a sustained period of over 12 weeks. This helps to ensure children and young people access the right help, as soon as possible, and any remaining difficulties can be explored with the knowledge that this support is in place.

If you are still struggling after this sustained support, a request for a consultation with our multi-disciplinary consultation team to access further support can be made. Requests for consultations must be made by a professional and they must enclose details of the completed profiling tool, details of what has been tried, what has worked well, and what further support they or you feel is required.

Practitioners and profilers are required to follow 4 steps.

  1. Complete the profile with the family, identify the high impact areas and implement and record strategies adjustments and any specific interventions that are agreed and put in place in a plan.
  2. Each plan will have a minimum 12-week implementation period which should be reviewed to reflect on what has worked well, and whether there are ongoing gaps in understanding how to support the child.
  3. If the plan is having a positive impact and the child and young person is thriving and learning, a consultation could be accessed later date or may not be needed at all.
  4. If there are ongoing concerns or gaps, the practitioner supporting the family and child can request a consultation through the portal.

The information required for the consultation to take place will be a summary of the profile findings, the strategies and adjustments that have been introduced at home and school, how successful these were, and what further support the family and practitioner feel is required

Consultation could take the form of:

  • help with profiling and planning if this is identified
  • access to more specialist advice and support for a particular need
  • consideration of placement on the diagnostic waiting list while any profiling plans are ongoing

If a diagnostic assessment is recommended the Neurodevelopmental Assessment Team will explore autism and/or ADHD, and as part of those assessments will also explore the following where appropriate:

  • learning, sensory and coordination difficulties
  • foetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • other neurodevelopmental conditions

The best way to help children, young people, and their families to better understand their needs, and ensure that any adjustments or early help support is in place, is through completion of the profiling tool as a first step. This approach enables the people who know the child to work in collaboration and try out strategies over time to see if this helps meet their need.

We do acknowledge that some children and young people will need to access a specialist diagnostic assessment. By following our new pathway, we will ensure the right children and young people can access this.

Neurodevelopmental Assessment Team

A multi-disciplinary assessment team consisting of:

  • psychiatrists
  • clinical psychologists
  • speech and language therapists
  • occupational therapists
  • paediatricians and nurses
  • neurodevelopmental practitioners

Children and young people who have a mixed picture of difficulties or complex presentations are assessed through this team. The team carry out assessments to explore whether your child may have autism. During that assessment (if required) they will also assess for;

  • other neurodevelopmental conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • language or coordination disorders
  • whether the difficulties may be because of other factors, such as their learning levels or life experiences

We want children and young people to access the support they need, whether they have a formal diagnosis or not. We are currently working with our education and healthcare partners to ensure this early help and support offer is as comprehensive and timely as possible. There is an expectation that all schools and settings make provision for all learners identified as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) regardless of whether they have a diagnosis of a specific condition. Visit the Cornwall Council website for more information, guidance and resources.

Diagnostic assessments: What to expect from us

There is currently a waiting list for diagnostic assessments. There is support available to children, young people, and their families whilst they are waiting, see our useful resources section below for more information.

Before the assessment appointment we will send forms to parents or guardians, and the child’s school. These forms are a vital part of the child’s assessment, as the most useful assessment information can come from the people who know the child or young person best, in their everyday environments and activities.

The forms will ask questions about the parents or guardians' own life and experiences, and their family history. It is important that we have this information before the appointment as we cannot complete our assessment without it. If the child is home-schooled, please talk to us about this and we will try and gather further information from another person who knows them instead.

Once we have received your forms, we will send an appointment letter. During the appointment, you and your child will meet with different professionals. One will spend some time with the parent or guardian to gather any further history information about concerns, the child’s development, and their current presentation. Another will spend time with the child finding out all about them and carrying out assessments which are talking or play-based depending on their age.

Following this appointment, we will let you know if we need to do any additional assessments, such as observing your child in school.

We will then discuss our assessments in our multi-disciplinary team meeting. We will contact you by telephone to inform you of the outcome. Reports will then be sent in the post to you.

Although we are an assessment service only, we will always try to provide you with advice and support or strategies to help you and your child based on what we have learned through the assessment. We may signpost you to services who may be able to offer the help that you need where relevant.

For parents of children who are awaiting or considering an autism spectrum disorder assessment, we run regular online information sessions. The sessions provide information about the team, the assessment process, and what help is available along with any new developments. We also run sessions for schools and other professionals to attend. For more information and dates, contact the team using the details at the top of this page.