For many, getting a timely and thorough autism assessment and diagnosis may be helpful.

This is helpful because:

  • It can provide information that may help you/parent/carer/employer others to have a better understanding of you as an individual, and any needs you may have or any challenges. It can also highlight your strengths and any unique positive attributes you may have.
  • It may correct a previous misdiagnosis and mean that any mental health problems can be better addressed.
  • You may be able to access more social groups, magazines and online communities, although you don’t always need a diagnosis for this.

A diagnosis can also be a tool to access necessary support, benefits advice or adjustments that may be required whether at home, school, college, employment or in general.

How do I request an autism assessment?

A referral for a child aged 0-12 can come from:

  • Primary care, referral from GP which would then be accompanied by a school report
  • Speech and Language therapy team (SLT)
  • Educational psychology through GP

What happens during assessment?

Following a referral, there will be an Outpatient Clinic assessment.

In the assessment, practitioners, usually a community paediatrician, will take a detailed neurodevelopmental history and rule out any medical causes of developmental delay if there is any.

Often genetics and basic blood tests will be done and also offer treatment for any comorbidities with sleep, anxiety, ADHD, LD and sensory issues.

Once the medical assessment has been completed, then all the information is gathered to conclude ASD pathway.

Crucial in the pathway is the observation/assessment from Speech and Language Therapy and/or Educational Psychology.

A Paediatrician will then decide to either conduct a professionals meeting or conclude the diagnosis without if they are satisfied about the information.

During an autism diagnosis, clinicians use a diagnostic tool for assessing autism to determine whether or not the person is autistic.

The chosen tool may vary but these are some of the most common diagnostic tools used in the UK:

  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
  • Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO)
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)

What happens after diagnosis?

Once the diagnosis is complete, the child/parents are directed to ‘Post diagnostic virtual workshops’ compiled by ASD Nursing team.

The diagnostic team will also contribute to Educational Health Care Plan process as needed.

What will I need to do?

When you are seeking assessment or diagnosis for you child, there are some things you can do that will help the process:

  • The health professionals will be asking questions to guide the assessment process however you can write down concerns if you feel this is helpful
  • Sometimes having a list with you of concerns and things from your family history and childhood development such as when they first walked and talked can be helpful to have as a reminder during the assessment.
  • Consider some of the following and how these may affect different areas of your child’s life
  1. Communication
  2. Social interaction
  3. Sensory difficulties
  4. Friendships
  5. Employment
  6. Need for routine

These videos were created in partnership between the University of Leicester and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust. They are hosted on an external provider so please be aware they may contain adverts.

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