Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be difficult and challenging, since there is no medical test, like a blood test or scan, to diagnose the disorder. Doctors, psychologists and therapists assess the child’s development and behaviour through direct observations, play-based assessments and interaction. They take into the account information from the child, family and school.

Many children display first signs of autism in the second year of life and some show loss of speech or communication skills. This is an alerting sign and every child with the loss of developmental skills should be seen by Paediatrician or Paediatric Neurologist without delay.

Despite some parents become concerned about their child’s development and behaviour as young as 16 months old, many children with autism do not receive a diagnosis until they are 3½ years or older. We aim to identify children, who present with autism symptoms early and refer them for further assessment and specialised interventions.

Many children do not receive the diagnosis of ASD until much older and the delay might mean that they are not getting the necessary interventions and help.

Children with Autism often present with speech and language difficulties and sensory difficulties affecting their daily life.

Autism assessment process consists of two steps:

• Developmental and Autism Screening
• Comprehensive Autism Diagnostic Assessment

Autism Screening

Some children have a higher risk of developing ASD and that includes children born pre-term, those born with low birth weight and children whose sister, brother or parent has ASD. Children with some genetic conditions like Down’s Syndrome, Di George Syndrome, Neurofibromatosis and other genetic conditions are more at risk of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If you have concerns regarding child’s social communication development and behaviour which could be indicative of autism, a pediatric assessment with ASD screening should help to clarify your concerns and indicate if your child needs a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

We offer direct observation screening assessment through observation, interaction and play for toddlers age 24-36 months. Activities assess social and communicative behaviours including direct attention, requesting, play and imitation. It may highlight the need for further more in depth ASD assessment and allow participation in specialised early intervention services. In addition, you and your child’s nursery teacher will be asked to complete screening questionnaires as part of the process. You will receive a report on findings and recommendations with regard to the need for further Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment.

We also offer ASD screening through questionnaires completed by parent/carer and school teacher, which can be arranged by post.

Please note that ASD Screening questionnaires can both over and underestimate concerns and the process has clear limitations. We do not assess directly the child only your perception of child’s difficulties, which can lead to over and underestimation of difficulties. To help to understand how your child’s difficulties affect him/her in daily life we will ask school for contribution as well.

We recommend that ASD screening is arranged in conjunction with Paediatric or Psychologist Assessment.

 ASD Screening through play-based assessment can be arranged for children age 24-36 months.

Autism screening through standardised Autism specific questionnaires can be arranged for children and young people from 2 years to 18 years of age.

Autism Diagnostic Assessment

We offer a wide range of assessments used in the Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostic evaluation.

We aim at following the guidelines for the best practice and the Autism diagnostic assessment is multi-disciplinary and comprehensive, takes account and views both from child, young person, parents and school.

Every Autism diagnostic assessment will include in-depth medical assessment by Paediatrician, face to face Autism Specific Interview with a parent/carer and direct behavioural observations. As part of the assessment process, we may arrange a general ability assessment for your child to ensure that the cognitive and learning needs are taken into account during the diagnostic process and further intervention planning. Your child might be seen by Clinical or Educational Psychologist for that purpose. We may request assessment by Specialist Speech and Language Therapist to understand in depth your child’s communication needs or Occupational Therapist if your child has got significant sensory processing difficulties.

Prior to the assessment, we will ask you to complete Autism specific screening questionnaires which will help the Clinician to understand the child’s or young person developmental and behavioural profile, assist in information gathering process and help with holistic and comprehensive assessment. The selection of questionnaires will be made by Paediatrician or Psychologist and will be individually chosen for your child.

Once the Autism assessment is completed you will be provided with detailed feedback during face to face meeting with the Lead Clinician. You will be advised about your child strengths and difficulties profile and things will be explained to you from your child’s perspective.

The outcome of the assessment will be summarised in a comprehensive report which will be completed within 12 weeks from the start of the assessment. The report is circulated to parents/carers and referring professional.

We offer Autism diagnostic evaluation for children and young people from 2 to 18 years of age.

We offer ADI-R and ADOS Assessment as part of Autism Diagnostic Assessment.
The Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) is a structured interview conducted with the parents/carers of the referred child or young person and covers full developmental history. It last between 2-3 hours. It is being used in conjunction with ADOS assessment in Autism Diagnostic Assessment.

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is an instrument for diagnosing and assessing Autism Spectrum Disorder. It consists of several structured and semi-structured tasks that involve social interaction between the examiner and the person being assessed. The examiner observes child and young person responses, interaction and behaviour and categorises in predetermined observational categories. Categorised observations are subsequently combined and produce quantitative scores for report. It takes from 30 to 60 minutes to administer ADOS assessment.