The Assessment Process
Your age and perceived challenges will determine how we deliver your autism diagnostic assessment to prove or disprove the presence of the condition. Each person is individual and as such our assessments are tailored to your specific needs.
The following is a description of our minimum method of assessment which is designed to give you an insight into the process involved.
The initial stage is a consultation with our Principal Psychologist and autistic spectrum specialist, Katherine Goodsell, so that you can share your reasons for pursuing an autistic spectrum assessment.
It is essential that she determines that an autistic spectrum assessment is appropriate for you as many conditions have similar symptoms or presentations.
Your consultation usually lasts between 60 and 90 Minutes.
For some children, adolescents or adults we will need to invite you for a consultation with our Associate Paediatrician or Psychiatrist, specifically in cases where:
- Children under 7 years of age
- There is any evidence with regression in motor skills or language acquisition
- A specific mental health or medical condition is identified or raised as a concern
Shortly after your consultation you will receive a post consultation report which will set out any recommendations for further assessment.
The next stage will be your assessment which may be completed over several appointments depending on what is required. The assessments will be completed at a pace that is comfortable for you.
During your appointments it will be necessary for us to:
- Gather a full personal history, focusing on developmental and behavioural features. The Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADIR) for those under the age of 18 years is the most appropriate tool. This interview also considers your child's medical history, including prenatal, perinatal and family history, and past and current health conditions.
- To assess social, interaction and communication skills, repetitive and stereotyped behaviours, as well as sensory interests or sensitivities. We do this during each appointment but will also use a formal diagnostic assessment, namely the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2)
- Additional assessments will have been recommended in your post consultation report and will depend on your individual circumstances.
Autism Diagnostic Multi-Disciplinary Team Assessment
Depending on your age and/or the challenges identified, it may be necessary to establish if additional difficulties are relevant such as sensory processing, adaptive behaviour, learning/ADHD/ADD, mental health, personality or executive functioning. We achieve this through our Autism Diagnostic 'Multi-Disciplinary' Assessment Team (ADAT). This can include additional assessments with our:
- Consultant Paediatrician
- Consultant Psychiatrist
- Occupational Therapist
- Speech and Language Therapist
- Educational Psychologist
Post Diagnostic Consultation
Approximately 6 weeks following your last appointment you will be invited to attend a post diagnostic consultation with your lead psychologist. This is to enable us to:
- Provide you with a diagnosis or an explaination as to why a diagnosis is not appropriate
- Discuss any recommendations
- Signposting you to further available support
We will send this to you using secure email following your post diagnostic consultation. We recommend this is shared with other relevant healthcare and educational professionals but will leave this for you to decide. If you do not wish to disclose it to your GP you do not have to.