Frequently Asked Questions
Please do contact us if you have any questions about our services that are not answered below
We aim to see clients for their first appointment within one month of an enquiry being made and accepted. It then takes around four weeks to complete a diagnostic assessment. There are some exceptions to this; school holidays, for example, will cause a delay.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the umbrella term that covers a range of autism presentations. At one end, you have people with severe autism and learning disability and at the other end you have people with what was previously described as Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. This is the spectrum.
ASD, autism, Asperger syndrome, high-functioning autism and Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) all refer to the same disorder. The diagnosis you receive will be for ASD because this is term used in the diagnostic manual that we follow.
The main reason why someone would question a diagnosis is if the assessment is low quality. A high-quality assessment is one that includes seeing the child in different settings, the opinion of more than one clinician and consideration of alternative explanations and is completed by experienced and suitably qualified clinicians.
The diagnostic assessment that The Autism Service offers is thorough and in line with national guidance. There is therefore no reason for another agency to not recognise a diagnosis made by us. You will receive a report that evidences the reason for our decision making and if there are any issues we can speak to agencies on your behalf.
There are many myths surrounding ASD and what it looks like. We know people who have been told by senior healthcare professionals that they cannot have ASD because they make eye contact or are socially motivated. The person may not have ASD, but these observations alone are not enough to rule it out.
The core difficulties in social communication and interaction that are seen in people with ASD can present themselves in many ways, but if a person has ASD they will always be there. This is why it is so important that the clinical team who assesses you is experienced and understands ASD, and that the assessment package is robust.
Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) is not currently a valid diagnosis. It is not recognised in any of the diagnostic manuals. We therefore do not offer an assessment and diagnosis service for this.
We have written a blog on this, which you can read here.
Yes. We get many referrals for children who are home-schooled and just switch the school observation element of the assessment to an observation in a setting away from clinic (e.g. home, drama club). Ideally, we like to see children in a social setting with other children.
Our clinicians are very discrete when they visit schools and do not draw specific attention to the child under assessment.
ADOS-2 stands for Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2 and ADI-R stands for Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised. They are both gold-standard tools that we used during the diagnostic assessment process. The ADOS-2 is done with the individual under assessment – it is an observational assessment of their social communication and interactions skills. The ADI-R is done with informants, normally parents, and is an interview of development and current functioning.
The national guidance states that diagnostic teams should have access to professionals from these backgrounds so that they can contribute to the multi-disciplinary opinion.
We can provide advice about a child’s development at any age, but we will not see them for a diagnostic assessment until they are around 2 ½ to 3 years old.
All our clinicians are registered with independent bodies that regulate the work of healthcare professionals (i.e. Health and Care Professionals Council or Nursing and Midwifery Council). These bodies set standards in terms of how professionals should behave and keep a register of professionals who meet these standards. You can check the registration of our clinicians by visiting the HCPC and NMC websites.
- We understand ASD and the various ways it can present
- Our assessments are reliable so you can be confident in the outcome
- The interventions we offer have been shown to work
- The practice of our clinicians is regulated, which means there are clear professional standards we must follow when working with families