Autism diagnostic assessments
Grow Communication is now working in partnership with two Clinical Psychologists Dr Suzy O’Connor and Dr Helen Crawford to offer multidisciplinary Autism assessments. Please find below details of the paediatric diagnostic process.
All parts of the assessment is carried out by two specialist clinicians (we do NOT offer single clinician assessments). Assessment is of the highest quality and is compliant with SIGN and NICE guidelines. We will offer practical advice and support strategies throughout.
Assessment typically consists of the following:
- Initial phone discussion (this is free of charge) to talk through what your concerns are, to hear more about the process and to see whether Grow Communication is a good fit for your assessment. At this stage you decide whether you would like to go ahead and we look at getting the process starting, and set some dates.
- We then send you out an initial questionnaire to gather key information. Don’t worry, this won’t take you hours to complete, but it helps to give us a snapshot of your young person. This ensures that we tailor our assessment just right. Assessment is not a one size fits all process and we adjust for each situation to make sure we gather the right information.
- Questionnaire to school/nursery and possible telephone interview with key education staff.
- Parent/carer interview (in your own home or clinic as preferred). This will use the DISCO assessment, which is a structured way to ask you all the questions we need and can be scored as part of our robust assessment process. This is crucial in our process and will take 3 to 4 hours. Calling it an interview makes it sound more formal that it actually is. It is more a really good conversation over tea and biscuits and a chance for you to tell your story, as well as for us to be able to ask all the questions we need. Ideally this is with more than one key person who has known the young person since infancy.
- ADOS assessment (in clinic setting). The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is a semi-structured assessment of communication, social interaction, and play (or imaginative use of materials). This takes around 1 hour.
- Formal/informal assessment with young person (in your own home). This may take the form of play, time talking with your child or can involve some more formal language screening assessments. This may take around 2 hours.
- Completion of detailed written report. Our reports are always fully individualised. We have a standard format but do not use generic content. Quality, clarity and detail are of the highest importance for us. Our written reports draw a clear picture of your child, and give a clear rationale for our conclusions. We want your young person to be able to look back at their report, in 15 years’ time, and feel that it makes sense to them, and that it values them as an individual. We look at the full profile of strengths and difficulties. We want our report to empower you all as you move forward on your journey.
- Feedback session with parents/carers (home or clinic as preferred).
- Formal feedback session with school/ nursery. This can be a helpful part of the process to get the whole team around the child on board with the assessment findings.
- Individualised training to school/ nursery.
- Assessment for ADHD if this is indicated.
- Occupational Therapy assessment including sensory profiling.
Please note that our assessment is to provide a differential diagnosis, which may or may not be of Autism.