Contact us

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

Call 01872 246 945.

Email the Neurodevelopmental Assessment Team.

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.

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.

Read out Neurodevelopmental Assessment Service for children and young people leaflet (PDF, 267 KB) for more information about the assessment.

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.

How to make a referral

To access the most personalised and timely support for a child or young person, we would recommend that someone who knows them well completes the neurodiversity profiling tool with them and their family first.

The profiling tool can help to pinpoint specific areas of support relevant to the child. As well as identifying ways to support them with neurodiverse needs and differences straight away. More information about the tool is available in the useful resources section below.

If you still feel a child needs a referral for a diagnostic assessment, you can make a referral to the team for suspected autism spectrum disorder. As part of this assessment, the team will also explore the following where appropriate:

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

There are 3 parts to this referral and all sections need to be completed and returned including the form A referral form.

Form A needs to be completed by a professional who knows the child or young person in a professional capacity. This can be a school, or 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. This will then automatically trigger an email to be sent with a link for:

  • form B information from the parent
  • form C information from the school or another professional (if home educated)

The referral will not be screened until all 3 forms are completed and returned to us.

The form will be screened to establish the best course of action for the child’s needs and additional information gathered to inform the decision, if necessary.

If you feel the child or young person needs to be assessed primarily for ADHD, there is currently a separate referral process through the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). There is an expectation from CAMHS that a parenting programme is completed prior to consideration of acceptance into the service for an assessment.

The children's neurodevelopmental assessment service leaflet (PDF, 612 KB) gives more information about how to make a referral.

Useful resources

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.

As part of the 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. As well as ensuring those who have additional needs in their developmental journey receive an appropriate supportive response.

We are committed to a whole system approach across education, health, care, families, and communities. This enables every child or young person with neurodevelopmental needs, and their family, to live well, thrive and prosper.

Following a period of review of evidence base, guidance, outcome data and engagement with people and professionals, we have now developed a comprehensive strategic plan.

The core aims of the strategy are to:

  • focus on understanding diversity and not just focussing on deficits
  • move to a system of earlier identification and help
  • focus on meeting need
  • create a whole system cultural change with a focus on outcomes

As part of the implementation of this strategy we are rolling out training for the neurodiversity profiling tool. By using this tool in the first instance, the intention is to consider needs and work with families on a plan to help them by providing practical guidance, skills and strategies to support their child or young person.

Why are we making the move to profiling

There has been a significant increase in the number of requests for diagnostic assessments for autism and ADHD. As well as requests for support for other neurodevelopmental needs. This has resulted in unacceptably long waits.

We have also seen an increase in children and young people with a range of neurodevelopmental needs experiencing crisis in mental health services. We also recognise that there is a limited offer of support for schools and families who are struggling to manage these challenges on a day-to-day basis.

In response to this growing need, children's health services, the local authority, education and our partners in the voluntary sector are committed to deliver to our celebrating neurodiversity strategy.

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.

To make this happen, we need to train our children's workforce and support staff as soon as possible. This will ensure that neurodevelopmental profiling forms part of everyone's toolkit when working with children and young people.

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). 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 will also allow the narrative to identify 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 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 Parent Carers Cornwall website is best used in conjunction with the profiling tool. More details on identified needs are available on the website.

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

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.


In spring 2024, we intend to provide multi agency consultation, advice and support for people who have completed the profiling tool and need further help.

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.

For any further information on the implementation of the strategy, email the Neurodiversity Strategy Team.