Our ASD assessments are available on both the self-pay or NHS routes. Due to the pressure on NHS resources, we find that our self-pay assessments can be accessed in a matter of weeks, as opposed to longer waiting times through the NHS. This means that you can fit your child's assessment in to suit their development - often the optimum time for getting a diagnosis is before they transition to a new school, which enables teachers and SENCOs to put the appropriate support in place for your child's needs.
We understand that the prospect of attending an ASD assessment can feel daunting or overwhelming, for both the child concerned and for parents. By providing you with all the information you need, we hope to make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible for you and your child.
It is completely up to you whether you would like to tell your child the reason for the assessment. For older children, we recommend that you are honest about the purpose of the assessment so they are involved in the diagnostic process. However we understand that this is not always appropriate for all children and therefore we recommend that you tell your child that the assessment is so that we can learn more about them and what they may find easy or difficult. At the assessment, the examiner will usually ask the child if they know why they are here.
The assessments are completed by a multidisciplinary team which consists of a Paediatrician, Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) and Occupational Therapist (OT). The paediatrician will complete a developmental history with you and the assessment will be delivered by the SLT or the OT with the other person observing and taking notes.
On arrival at the clinic, you and your child will be greeted by a member of the team and shown to the clinic room. This is where you will be introduced to the rest of the team. Your child will usually remain in one room with the examiners while you go to a separate room with the paediatrician. You will be asked a range of questions about your child’s development, and you will have the opportunity to share your concerns. At the same time your child will be assessed by the examiners in the other room.
The examiners are very experienced in working with children and young adults who are anxious in new situations. We do everything we can to put your child at ease. However, we understand that every child is different and we will be as flexible as we can to ensure they are feeling comfortable. We welcome any information that will help us to do this, from favourite toys to particular items to avoid. You can send these details to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the assessment, and we will accommodate if possible. This includes preferred pronouns – we aim to be as inclusive as we can, and understand that clinical settings can often be anxiety inducing for non-binary visitors. For younger children or children who are feeling particularly anxious, we may ask you to stay in the room with them, either for the first part of the assessment or the full duration.
Your child will be assessed using the Autistic Diagnostic Observation Schedule, also known as ADOS-2. This is a standardised, semi structured assessment which provides a series of contexts which allow the examiner to observe social communication, interaction, and restrictive or repetitive behaviours. There are different modules and the appropriate module will be selected depending on your child’s language level rather than their age. It is not a language assessment and your child should actually feel like they are chatting and/or playing rather than being assessed. We find that many children enjoy the experience and find it fun.
The ADOS-2 is not designed to be used in isolation when deciding if a diagnosis of ASD is appropriate. It is a tool which should be used in conjunction with information gathered from parents and their place of education.
When the assessment has finished, you will be asked to remain in the room with your child while the team discuss the outcome of the assessment. This discussion will cover your child’s developmental history, the information from their school or nursery, as well as the findings from the ASD assessment. We will then join you again for a discussion; the SLT or OT will give you a summary of the observations they made and the paediatrician will then give you the outcome. On some occasions it may not be possible to reach a conclusion, and the team will discuss the next steps with you should this outcome occur.
Telling your child about a positive diagnosis following an ASD assessment is a very personal decision, and there is no right or wrong way of doing this. For older children, it may be appropriate for them to join the discussion after the assessment, whereas for younger children it may be more appropriate for them to remain in a separate room with a member of the team while you receive the feedback. When you get home, you may want to tell your child about their diagnosis. We offer guidance on how to broach the subject in our post here.
After receiving a diagnosis of ASD for your child, many parents report feeling overwhelmed, even if they were expecting it. Parents also report feeling relieved, especially if they have been waiting a long time for the diagnosis. Remember that your child is the same person that they have always been, but hopefully now you can begin to better understand their needs and find out the best way to support them to reach their potential and live a happy and fulfilled life. Resources to explain autism for young children can be found here, while an explanation for older children can be found here.
ASD assessment - £1,750
This price is inclusive of VAT. The fee includes a consultant-led diagnostic assessment with a multi-disciplinary team of Paediatricians, Speech & Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists and includes a comprehensive written report - with detailed findings and support recommendations.
Where a payment plan has been put in place, the full cost of the assessment should be paid no later than 7 days prior to the appointment. Should you need to cancel for any reason, a refund will be offered if we are informed 7 or more days prior to the appointment. However, there will be a cancellation fee of £150 which will be deducted from your refund total. We must be notified of all cancellations no later than 48 hours before the appointment. All cancellations made within 48 hours of the assessment will be offered a 50% refund. This includes non-attendance on the day.