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.
An appointment with a Senior Clinical Psychologist is offered at the CAYP Psychology clinic, lasting approximately 90 minutes. This involves standardised observation and interview tools called the ADOS-2 and 3di. These involve detailed conversation and engaging and stimulating activities to explore how your child sees the world, and will assess for any additional mental health concerns. An additional cognitive assessment of your child's intellectual functioning can be requested and arranged. 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.
At the same time as this appointment, a video appointment for parents with a Consultant Clinical Psychologist will take place in another room. In this appointment, we will think about your child's school history, family experiences and emotional wellbeing. This process is designed to identify clinical and sub-clinical ASD.
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 concerns and expert formulation of your child's strengths, difficulties, needs and recommendations for support.
Prior to the assessment we require that pre-assessment questionnaires are completed by you, and by teachers who know your child best at school, to ensure that an ASD assessment is the most appropriate assessment for your child.
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).
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 immediately after this feedback meeting. There will also be an opportunity to request any amendments to the report.
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.