Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, including difficulties interpreting and sometimes producing verbal and non-verbal communication, difficulties with social imagination (difficulties understanding and predicting other people's behaviour, making sense of abstract ideas, and imagining situations outside of their typical routine or environment) and displaying restricted, repetitive behaviours. ASD is a life-long condition. Although many people are diagnosed later in life, difficulties are believed to be present from birth or early childhood.
More detailed information can be found at https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/what-is-autism
If someone meets the diagnostic criteria for ASD, this condition is something that they will have throughout their entire life. A diagnosis can therefore help a person to gain a better understanding of who they are, and why they find certain situations more difficult than other people. This is helpful both for the person receiving the diagnosis, but also those who spend time with them. A diagnosis can help everyone involved to gain a better understanding, and to recognise appropriate strategies and approaches to help the person cope with life's challenges more effectively. Gaining a diagnosis can also be beneficial because it allows people to access additional service, or to apply for benefits to fund additional support. It can also encourage employers or educational settings to use reasonable adjustments.
NHS waiting lists for ASD assessments vary depending on where you live and the level of funding your local services receive to carry out these assessments. As a result, NHS waiting lists are often over a year and in many situation, many years. However, the waiting list for privately funded assessments with Springdale Psychology are between 4 and 10 weeks.
The diagnostic process for ASD involves at least 5 different appointments, including the Initial Assessment, either the DISCO or ADI-R, the ADOS and a feedback session. To complete all these sessions, it can take a number of weeks, depending on available appointment dates for both the patient and the professionals. However, if you chose to, and if full day appointments are available, it is possible to complete the whole assessment in one day.
A report will also be produced. We ask that you allow up to 2 weeks following the final assessment session for the report to be produced. Following this, a feedback session will be held to discuss the results and the contents of the report.
NICE guidelines recommend that a comprehensive assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) should include multi-component assessment, using validated assessment tools. The assessment is conducted in two parts.
The first part of the assessment is a detailed developmental interview. The interview covers many aspects of general development and assesses for behaviours specific to the autism spectrum. This part of the assessment is typically completed with an informant that has detailed knowledge of the person being assessed. However, we understand that this isn’t always possible, in which case the interview will be completed with the person being assessed. To carry out this part of the assessment, NICE guidelines recommend the use of either the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) or the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO) to gather the necessary information about a patient’s developmental history and the core signs and symptoms of autism.
The second stage of the assessment requires a direct clinical observation. NICE recommend that the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is used to structure a direct clinical observation of the patient. The aim of this part is to provide a standardised assessment and algorithm-based scoring procedure to support formal diagnosis. For the assessment of children, there may also be additional observations required in natural settings, such as in school, to provide further necessary information.
At Springdale Psychology, we only provide the gold standard approach to autism assessments in line with NICE guidelines outlined above. Our assessments are delivered by a trained and experienced multidisciplinary team of professionals.
If its important to share the outcome of your assessment with anyone, such as schools or employers, it may be advisable to check with these services to make sure they are aware that you are thinking of getting a private diagnosis and that they will accept the outcome. The decision to tell anyone about the results of your assessment is completely within your control; it will only be shared with people you wish to share it with. However, if other services or professionals question your assessment, we are happy to consult with schools or other services who may benefit from understanding the outcome of the assessment. We will aim to help them better understand the assessment process and outcomes to ensure that the outcome is accepted.
It is never too late to get a diagnosis.
Many people with autism, especially women, are diagnosed later in life. This is often because the difficulties they experience only become clear when the pressures of life make it harder to cope or to hide their difficulties. A diagnosis can help to increase understanding and help you to work on any areas that you find challenging within your life. Learning about ASD and understanding any potential problems you might experience as a result of having the condition can help you at any age and any stage in life.
Following diagnosis, you will receive a comprehensive report with our recommendations. We will either offer you further support with Springdale Psychology, or we can refer you back to your GP with recommendations for further referrals, should this be necessary and desired. We will also advise on sources of support that you can seek for yourself, should you wish to do so.
The price is dependent on the age of the person being assessed and the need for any additional assessments. For example, assessments of children may require some additional behavioural observations in settings, such as school.
For a detailed quote, please leave us a message by clicking the Contact us link below.
You can self-refer to our service by sending a message in the contact us section, by clicking the Contact Us button below.
We will need the name of the person being referred, their date of birth, home address and contact details (phone and email if possible) either for the person being assessed or the person organising the assessment on their behalf. It will also be helpful to receive a brief description of the current difficulties and reason for referral. Once we have received your message, we will contact you to discuss your needs and further explain the process of assessment. Following an initial conversation, we will arrange an initial assessment with one of our clinicians in order to discuss how best to proceed, which may include a screening assessment to determine whether a full Autism Diagnostic Assessment is required.
Referrals may also be received by other professionals, such as your GP, social worker or occupational health department amongst many others. There is no referral form. We ask that these professionals make contact with Springdale Psychology either by telephone on 01925 931 591 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you require any further information or would like to discuss the assessment further, please contact us by clicking the link below. We look forward to hearing from you.