Specialist Assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder,

ADHD, and Learning and Intelligence

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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD):
Assessment and Support

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Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterised by persistent and pervasive difficulties with social communication and interaction (e.g., difficulties making and maintaining friendships), combined with restricted and repetitive behaviours (e.g., distress at changes in routine). These difficulties are present across multiple contexts (e.g., both home and school) and negatively impact on the young person’s functioning.

Our autism assessment package has been specifically developed with your child and family at the centre of the process. Diagnostic assessments involve specialised assessment tools, detailed discussions about your family’s history and concerns, and expert understanding of your child’s strengths, difficulties and needs. We can make recommendations for support.

CLICK BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS OF OUR ASD ASSESSMENTS:

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Who can we assess?

We can assess young people aged 8-19 years old who have fluent and comprehensible speech and are showing traits of ASD. We can offer assessments for children aged 6 if they have a speech and language assessment report. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer assessments for young people with limited speech, or young people with a moderate to severe learning disability (characterised by functioning 2 or more years below expected levels).

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What does an ASD assessment involve?

The ‘gold-standard’ approach to diagnosing Autism in children is to have several clinicians involved. This is known as a multi-disciplinary approach and ensures a comprehensive and objective assessment.

An autism assessment is very thorough and we work hard to ensure that the assessment includes all the relevant information to ensure the outcome is the right one for your child.

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Screening Questionnaires

Prior to the assessment, we will ask that some pre-assessment questionnaires are completed by you, and by teachers who know your child best at school. These questionnaires ask about your current concerns, social skills and behavioural difficulties, and will ensure that an ASD assessment is the most appropriate assessment for your child.

 

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Our Gold-Standard Assessment Appointment

We will meet together for approximately 90 minutes. This meeting involves a standardised observation and interview, using the most up-to-date and evidence-based tools, called the ADOS-2 (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule), the 3di (Developmental Diagnostic Dimensional Interview) and the DISCO (The Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication. These tools involve detailed conversations about your child’s development (a developmental history) and engaging and stimulating activities to explore how your child sees the world. We will also assess for any additional mental health concerns and neurodevelopmental difficulties, such as ADHD. An additional cognitive assessment of your child’s intellectual functioning can be completed. We recognise that children may feel anxious about this process. A flexible approach, allowing time to build rapport and ensuring your child feels safe during the assessment is our priority.

As part of our discussions, we will complete a very thorough developmental interview. We will have the opportunity to think about your child’s school history, your family experiences and your child’s emotional wellbeing. This process is specifically designed to identify clinical and sub-clinical ASD.

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Formulation and Discussion

A detailed discussion will take place between clinicians. The aim will be to understand all the information provided from the assessment so far, and come to a working understanding of what is happening for your child. There may also be consultation and supervision from a Consultant Psychiatrist if needed, to ensure an accurate diagnostic outcome.

 

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Feedback and Report

A video feedback appointment is offered for you with both Clinical Psychologists, within just one week of the assessment. We recommend that your child attends this appointment if they are aged 11 or older.

A written report will be provided, outlining the diagnostic outcome (where one can be made), a wider understanding of what is going on for your child, and recommendations most appropriate for your child. This will be sent to you after this feedback meeting. There will also be an opportunity to request any amendments to the report.

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Learning, Intelligence and Development:
Detailed Assessments of Cognitive and Academic Ability

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Our cognitive assessments have been expertly developed to offer the highest quality understanding of your child’s intellectual, academic and psychological strengths and weaknesses, in addition to a detailed profile of their day-to-day functioning. 

Our assessments are extremely thorough, far more in depth than an educational psychology assessment, and can:

  • Provide a detailed understanding into your child’s thinking, reasoning and academic abilities
  • Identify an intellectual / learning disability
  • Identify specific learning disorders, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia
  • Evaluate intellectual and academic strengths and weaknesses
  • Assess for giftedness
  • Identify and recommend appropriate support to be put in place, from small changes within the classroom, to recommending Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) to be put in place
  • Understand psychological wellbeing and adaptive behaviours (adaptive behaviours describe the day-to-day things people do to function in everyday life, including communication skills, daily living skills, and social skills).
  • Understand social cognition (the study of how people understand and perform in social interactions).
  • Assess executive functioning (a set of abilities related to planning and organising complex behaviours, attention and concentration, inhibition, and initiation of behaviours).

CLICK BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS OF OUR COGNITIVE ASSESSMENTS:

What happens in the assessment?

Our cognitive assessments include very thorough discussions about your child’s development, family history, education history, social development and your concerns. We will ask your child to complete many engaging and challenging puzzles and tasks using the most up to date and advanced technology. We will also spend some time talking about their strengths and their weaknesses in day-to-day tasks, such as eating, toileting, getting dressed, road safety, stranger danger and understanding money and time. Following this very comprehensive assessment, we will review the report together, examining the results, conclusions and recommendations, and we will have the opportunity to discuss the outcomes and next steps together.

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Who can we assess?

We can offer an assessment for children and young people of all ages. We have specialist assessments for infants and toddlers from 16-weeks of age, and we can provide detailed assessments for young children from 3-years to older teenagers, aged 18-years. 

We may be able to offer assessments for children who have difficulty with communicating or are non-verbal, and we can work closely with school or other services if necessary.

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What does a cognitive assessment involve?

We are proud to offer an exceptionally high quality assessment, using the most up-to-date technology and ‘gold-standard’ measures. We strongly believe in offering the most comprehensive and objective assessment.

A cognitive assessment is very thorough and we work hard to ensure that the assessment includes all the relevant information to ensure the outcome is the right one for your child.

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1.

Initial Discussions

Our assessment begins with a very thorough developmental history. We will think about your child’s family and their experience of growing up. We will talk about school and how they have progressed from early years education through to the present day. We will discuss their social life, behavioural concerns and emotional wellbeing, and we will have an opportunity to hear your views about their day-to-day life.

 

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Our Gold-Standard Assessment

We will meet together over approximately 2 hours. During this time, we will ask your child to complete face-to-face puzzles, quizzes and paper and pencil tasks. These are exceptionally well-designed tools, and your child may find them fun and engaging.  The purpose of these tasks is to assess your child’s intellectual and academic abilities. We will review your child’s verbal and non-verbal reasoning abilities, and their memory and speed of processing. We will assess their reading, spelling and mathematical abilities, in addition to an assessment of their verbal and non-verbal comprehension.

We are very proud to offer an exceptionally engaging approach for your child, with lots of flexibility, allowing time to build rapport and ensuring your child feels safe during the assessment. 

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Adaptive Skills, Psychological Wellbeing and Other Reports

As part of our assessment, we will consider your child’s day-to-day functional skills (such as communicating, eating, toileting, getting dressed, road safety, stranger danger and understanding money and time). We will ensure that your child’s psychological wellbeing is understood. If you have any reports written by educational psychologists, teachers, or other professionals, or your child has completed assessments elsewhere, we will be able to review the reports to better understand what other professionals have concluded. 

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Feedback and Report

Approximately one-week later, we will be able to review the results and the report together. We will discuss all aspects of your child’s assessment, including our conclusions and recommendations. We recommend that this appointment is completed without your child, but this is entirely your choice. 

A written report will be provided, detailing all aspects of the assessment and results, including a wider understanding of what is going on for your child, and recommendations most appropriate for your child. There will also be an opportunity to request any amendments to the report.

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