Assessment for ASD is carried out by members of the Paediatric ASD Service. It can involve a number of steps that may occur over a period of weeks/months.
A questionnaire will be posted to the parents/carers which will ask for more information about the child or young person. The team will also seek further information from health and educational professionals involved with the child or young person. Parents/carers will be notified when the assessment process is about to begin.
In the majority of cases parents / carers will be offered an initial assessment clinic (IAC) appointment as their first appointment.
The initial assessment clinic (IAC) appointment is to meet with parents/carers in order to record a detailed developmental history on their child/young person. The purpose of this assessment is to obtain further information on the child/young person’s early history to current presentation and to determine if the history supports a diagnosis of ASD. The history pays particular attention to the areas of social communication, social interaction, play/imagination and repetitive interests both now and in the past. Prior to this appointment a review of the information already provided to the service is undertaken to avoid any duplication.
Following the IAC assessment of a child/young person is undertaken. This assessment can occur in a variety of formats and with any combination of professionals from the Paediatric ASD team involved. The child/young person’s assessment process will depend on their age and stage of development. Assessment of the child/young person is undertaken in a manner that will meet NICE guidelines & allows robust observations to be made that allow the team to make accurate diagnostic outcomes against the DSM V diagnostic criteria.
At each assessment the diagnostic outcome falls into one of three areas which are: a diagnosis of ASD; no diagnosis; or inconclusive where further information may be required or further assessment indicated.
The outcome of the assessment will be discussed with the family and documented in an outcome report which will be shared with those involved with the child/young person.