I have a wealth of experience assessing and supporting children and adults with autism and I am therefore more than aware of the mix of emotions that may come with this process or even just considering this process. For some it may come with the hope of an answer, but for others it may come with a feeling of dread and worry, which may have put you off seeking assessment until now. With the waiting times for such assessments ever increasing, many people are left without an answer for too long.
I have also come across many ‘quick’ assessments which claim to be able to diagnose you or your child, based on limited information without consideration of the full picture. That’s why in collaboration with a highly specialist Speech and Language Therapist and teacher, I have developed a bespoke multi-disciplinary assessment of Autism Spectrum Conditions for children and adolescents and adults.
All the clinicians involved in assessment have a wealth of experience of assessing and working with autism and are passionate about providing a thorough and thoughtful assessment, which considers all explanation for difficulties and assesses these over a range of settings.
Assessments comprise of core assessments needed in considering a diagnosis of autism, but we are also able to offer further assessments (if needed) to explore cognition, learning and language as part of you or your child’s profile. We feel that it is important that any assessment is driven by individual need and therefore a one-size assessment does not fit all. Diagnosis (or not) is only one outcome of the assessment and I am passionate that in providing a personalised narrative and understanding, which describes you or your child as an individual and which captures the whole spectrum of strengths and struggles and how these impact day to day. In my experience this makes the assessment process much more meaningful and a process which will help understanding and awareness.
Our assessment process includes a combination of the following:
1) ADOS: An individual assessment with the young person using the Gold Standard assessment tool called the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule).
2) A full developmental history of social communication difficulties and areas of concern.
3) A detailed Speech and Language assessment, to unpick any difficulties and assesses the pragmatic, receptive and expressive language abilities, in addition to the more subtle social communication concerns (only if needed).
4) A school or work consultation and/or school observation if necessary.
5) Screening and consideration of any other difficulties, including mental health needs that may explain the presenting concerns.
6) 30 minute video feedback and a full report including personalised recommendations.
7) We assess children and adults
Receiving a diagnosis (or not) is only the start and I am passionate that young people should be supported through this to learn about their diagnosis and develop ways of managing. We are all too aware that services now diagnose and say goodbye, and families are left with little in the way of support. We are therefore proud to also be able to offer post diagnostic support and work therapeutically with young people and adults following assessment if necessary; this could be speech and language therapy, psychological therapy or specialist teaching or a combination of these.