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Autism: Assessment

autistic boy

The initial appointment provides an opportunity to discuss with family and/or teachers the various elements that they would find useful to be included in their child’s assessment. It is also useful for me to develop an understanding of the child’s history, sensory needs, strengths and difficulties. I am aware that sometimes previous input received by parents can leave them with mixed emotions, and some parents can feel anxious about professional involvement. The service I offer is confidential, considerate and non-judgemental. Parents can be confident that their concerns will be acknowledged.

Often meeting with new people can be very stressful for children with autism especially when part of the discussion relates to their difficulties. They are welcome but do not need to attend this appointment.

Following the initial appointment, a meeting with the child with autism is usually arranged on a separate occasion. This appointment may include play, completion of various tasks and discussion with the child. I keep the session fun and informal. The content of the assessment varies depending on the child’s age, developmental stage, behaviour and whether they are anxious prior to or during the session. I will discuss with parents the ways in which the child’s needs can be met during this session in order to ensure that they feel as calm as possible and are able to demonstrate their strengths. I am trained to use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS) and often use this as part of the assessment. I can complete this assessment at a location which is most suitable for the child.

Children with autism often behave differently depending on their environment, so I may arrange to observe them within their various environments, such as at school, home and their respite centre.

Once all the required information has been gathered, a written report detailing the child’s strengths and difficulties will be produced. This will contain recommendations detailing the ways in which the child can be helped to use their strengths to manage their difficulties in order to achieve their potential. A meeting will be arranged with the key people in the child’s life to discuss this report and the recommendations.

I am also able to complete a similar assessment for parents whose children have not received a diagnosis of autism but have similar difficulties with relating to other people, communication and/or behaviour.