Assessment and Diagnosis
Help for Psychology offers an independent assessment and diagnosis service for children and adults who are suspected of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder, including Aspergers and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).
For both children and adults we follow the NICE (National Institute of Clinical and Care Excellence) guidelines for the assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. This means that we always assess individuals by using at least two professionals from different disciplines.
Our assessment process generally adopts a three step process:
1) Free initial ASD/PDA screen
2) Initial one-
telephone or Skype. (Face to face consultations are carried out without the child being present. This allows the parent(s) to speak openly.)
3) Formal assessment
The NICE guidelines also suggest that children should be assessed in more than one context. We therefore send out a comprehensive and confidential school questionnaire, and request feedback from teachers for all children being assessed.
Our assessment process varies from child to child and we are happy to use reports which have been produced by other HCPC registered professionals to avoid repetition.
In general an assessment of a child between the age of 3 -
An assessment of a child between 6 – 12 will broadly consist of the following:
An assessment of a young person between 12 – 19 will broadly consist of the following:
In addition to detailing how we came to our diagnostic opinion, our reports also contain a full explanation of the child’s individual profile of strengths and difficulties. This includes speech and language ability, including the child’s social use of language. We also offer a full sensory screen. This then allows us to produce a comprehensive picture of your child and any difficulties this might lead to. All our reports come with detailed recommendations for school and home in terms of supporting and managing any areas of concern. (Should any parent find our reports are not accepted locally, then we are happy to discuss the matter with the local NHS team, or local authority, on their behalf.)
The NICE Guidelines for the Assessment of Autism in Adults also recommend assessment by more than one professional. Some adults may only wish to undertake an assessment to get a ‘diagnostic opinion’. This involves a shorter assessment and takes place with a Clinical Psychologist. For those who wish to undertake a full assessment the process is as follows:-
Following all assessments we produce a very comprehensive report (including recommendations) which can be shared as required. As we follow the NICE guidelines, our independent assessments should be accepted by both the local NHS teams and the Local Authority.
In addition to offering cognitive assessments as an option, we also offer other optional extras to our assessment service, as follows:
We have developed a range of post-
We are also currently exploring the possibility of starting ‘social groups’ where more able children on the Autistic Spectrum can get to know each other and meet regularly.
A cognitive assessment is not an essential part of an autism assessment but it can be very useful. Most children (and young adults) have reasonably similar abilities in the different areas of the assessment (e.g. verbal and non-
difficulties retaining and manipulating information or copying information off the board.
Others may have significant language difficulties but process non-
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|Assessments and Diagnosis|
|Recommended Books and Resources|
|Dr Judy Eaton|
|Dr Louise Walker|
|Autism and the CJS|
|PDA course (Parents)|
|PDA course (Schools)|
|Understanding Autism and PDA for Health Professionals|
|Managing Children or Adults with Autism or PDA|