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Autism Assessment and Diagnosis

Our Autism Assessments - First Steps - Full Assessment - Post Assessment

Our Autism Assessments

We provide diagnostic assessment of autism spectrum conditions in children and young people aged 4 - 19 years old. Completing assessment as a team, our assessments follow good practice and clinical guidelines, and use “gold standard” assessment tools including the ADOS-2, ADI-R and DISCO. Assessment involves gathering information from parents, carers, and school, alongside direct observation and assessment of your child.

Our assessments are completed by clinical psychology and speech and language therapy clinicians who specialise in the assessment and support of children and young people on the autism spectrum. Our comprehensive assessments aim to provide increased understanding of your child’s needs, and recommendations for support both in and out of school and college.

First Steps – Initial Assessment Appointment (Fee: £150)

Our assessment begins with an initial screening appointment either with Dr Kate Baldry or Dr Laura O’Halloran. This appointment is usually with parents or carers only, but with older children it may be appropriate and helpful for them to attend also. This can be discussed with you when making an initial enquiry.

The initial screening lasts approximately 75 minutes. We can usually offer an initial assessment appointment within 4 weeks of receiving your enquiry.

Our initial screening appointment starts to gather information to better understand what has led you or others to query autism and your child’s strengths and needs. During the appointment, we will ask about your child’s earlier development, your key concerns, and start to explore areas typically associated with autism spectrum conditions.

This appointment is also an opportunity to think about whether and how fuller assessment could be helpful and answer any questions you have about the diagnostic assessment process. The initial screening helps ensure that the most appropriate assessment and support is offered for your child and to help you decide how you as a family would like to proceed. There is no commitment to move forward with any assessment or intervention if it does not feel the best fit for your child and family.

Next Steps – Full Diagnostic Assessment (Fee: £1600)

If you choose to move forward with a full diagnostic assessment, this is usually completed over 3 assessment appointments which take place at our clinic in Northampton, alongside observation of your child in school:

  1. Further discussion with parents using either the Diagnostic Interview of Social Communication Disorders (DISCO) or the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI-R) – interviews developed for the assessment of autism spectrum conditions. You will meet with the same Clinical Psychologist as you did at the initial assessment appointment.
  2. Cognitive assessment of your child to identify cognitive strengths and differences. This is completed by one of our Assistant Psychologists.
  3. The joint assessment clinic where we complete the Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule (ADOS-2) with your child, and assessment of your child's speech and language skills. These clinics are held on the second and fourth Friday of each month and you will be offered an appointment on one of these clinic days.

We may also ask you to complete some questionnaires and will review any relevant educational or health records available.

We can usually start the full diagnostic assessment within 4 weeks of the initial assessment appointment.

What Happens After The Assessment?

Once all assessment appointments are complete, we meet as a team to discuss all the information gathered to decide whether a diagnosis is appropriate. Regardless of whether a diagnosis is made, we will think as a team about how your child can best be supported in school and at home. We may recommend strategies to support your child, or types of support and intervention which may benefit your child or you as a family.

We will then offer a feedback appointment to discuss our findings and recommendations and explain how we have reached our conclusion. Feedback appointments usually take place on the first and fourth Friday of each month and are included in the cost of the diagnostic assessment. A written report is also included in the cost of the assessment. We aim to provide this report within 4 weeks following your feedback appointment.