Autism Assessments

*Availability update May 2021: Thank you for visiting. Due to a high number of referrals in recent months, I am afraid that I have had to close my waiting list for any new assessments. I will update this website when able to take new referrals again. Kind regards, Stella *

What are Autism Spectrum Conditions?

Characteristics of the autism spectrum are part of the rich diversity of the human mind. There have been shifts in recent years towards embracing each person’s attributes and uniqueness. Assessments help identify strengths and skills, as well as suggesting adaptations and strategies to help the person cope with stressful aspects of daily life and work towards their own goals.

More than 1 in every 100 people meet the criteria for an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC). Some famous people who identify as on the Autism Spectrum include Chris Packham, Wildlife presenter; Anthony Hopkins, Actor; Guy Martin, Motorcycle racer; Susan Boyle, Singer; Daryl Hannah, Actress; Niall Aslam, Love Island contestant.

Every individual is different and will have many strengths and skills, but the term means that a person has difficulty in the following key areas:

* Spoken communication – making conversation, and understanding what other people say and mean

* Non spoken communication – body language, eye contact, facial expressions

* Understanding the complexities of social relationships

* Finding change difficult, very fixed interests, and can be extra sensitive to the senses such as sound.

Assessment Process

I assess children from 7 years old upwards, teenagers and adults, including students and professionals. 

You may be concerned about your child’s ability to make friends, to communicate or to manage with changes in routines, at home or at school. Many people reach adult life and have gone through school, work or university without their ASC being diagnosed, and seek clarity for themselves. The assessment process helps to assess strengths and difficulties in the different social areas that can be affected by ASC, to help determine how to tailor future support and build on existing skills.

The assessment process follows NICE best practice guidance in the same way as the NHS. It uses standardised assessment tools and multi-disciplinary diagnostic decision making. 

Due to COVID-19, I am offering to carry out assessments online currently. The assessment tools have been adapted for this purpose. For children, instead of the ADOS 2 I am using the BOSA. Here is some further information from an NHS trust also currently using the BOSA:  https://www.esht.nhs.uk/service/community-paediatrics/autism-assessments/

For adults, the assessment process involves:

  • Initial one hour consultation session with the client to discuss the reasons for seeking the assessment and to complete a screening to check the full assessment is appropriate. 
  • A social communication assessment completed with the client called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS 2). This takes 60 – 90 minutes. For adults this takes the form of a semi-structured conversation. 
  • If possible, gathering information from another source. Ideally this includes a one hour telephone conversation with a parent or relative to gather information about the client’s early developmental milestones and social interaction. This uses the Autism Diagnostic Interview, ADI-R. If this is not possible, I can speak with somebody else such as a partner, friend, colleague or therapist, or can review relevant paperwork such as school reports or medical letters. 
  • You can also choose to include a a cognitive assessment to assess verbal reasoning, visual reasoning, processing speed and memory skills which helps identify the best way to tailor support especially for the workplace or education. This takes around an hour.
  • Best practice guidelines suggest that assessments for possible autism spectrum conditions are multi-disciplinary i.e. involve professionals from more than one training background. Therefore I consult with an experienced Speech and Language Therapist who is trained in using the ADOS 2. With permission she watches a video of the ADOS 2 to give specialist feedback on the person’s use of language and communication.
  • Written report and feedback session, usually 2 weeks after the final assessment appointment

For children, the assessment process involves: 

  • Initial one hour consultation session with the parent(s) to discuss the reasons for seeking the assessment and to complete a screening to check the full assessment is appropriate. 
  • A social communication assessment completed with the child called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS 2) which takes 60 minutes, or if online using the BOSA. These both include a mixture of play based activities and conversation. 
  • A 90 minute telephone conversation with a parent to gather information about the child’s early developmental milestones and social interaction. This uses the Autism Diagnostic Interview, ADI-R. 
  • Telephone conversation with the child’s teacher or SENCo
  • You can also choose to include a a cognitive assessment to assess verbal reasoning, visual reasoning, processing speed and memory skills which helps identify the best way to tailor support especially within education. This takes around an hour.
  • Best practice guidelines suggest that assessments for possible autism spectrum conditions are multi-disciplinary i.e. involve professionals from more than one training background. Therefore I consult with an experienced Speech and Language Therapist who is trained in using the ADOS 2. With permission she watches a video of the ADOS 2 or BOSA to give specialist feedback on the person’s use of language and communication.
  • Written report and feedback session, usually 2 weeks after the final assessment appointment

Costs: 

Autism Spectrum assessments including Speech and Language Therapy input and a feedback session are £800 for adults and £950 for children. If a cognitive assessment is also included, the rates are £950 for adults and £1100 for children. The initial one hour consultation session is £90, which is deducted from the total price if the full assessment goes ahead. 

For more information or to discuss options for support, please contact me.

There is also helpful information on the National Autistic Society website: www.autism.org.uk