Autism assessment

What happens in an ASD assessment?

An ASD assessment is where your child/young person will be assessed for social communication difficulties to see what their strengths and weaknesses are in this area and to see whether they meet the criteria for ASD. The assessment has 2 phases.

Phase One

During this phase, a clinician will:

  • Take a detailed developmental history of your child
  • Help you fill out a questionnaire on social communication difficulties
  • Contact your school
  • Screen for any other developmental/mental health difficulties

If the information from the assessment in phase one indicates there may be a possibility your child could have an autism spectrum disorder, they will go on to phase two for further assessment. There is a waiting list for phase two assessments. This wait can be up to 12 months.

What happens if my child does not meet the criteria to go on to phase two?

If your child does not go through to phase two this means that their level of social communication difficulties do not warrant further assessment for ASD. The Clinician who has carried out the assessment with you will explain why this is and provide information about any work CAMHS can offer you or your child to help with the difficulties. If CAMHS cannot help with your child’s difficulties, the clinician will try to put you in touch with other agencies that might be able to help.

Phase Two

During this phase two clinicians will carry out two further assessments:

1) Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale

This is an individual assessment with your child. It will involve a clinician playing games or completing tasks such as pretend games or jigsaws with your child. This assessment is sometimes videoed for marking purposes.

2) Diagnostic Developmental Assessment

This is an interview that is done with the parent. It is computer based and the clinician will ask you questions about your child and type your answers straight into the computer. The questions will be about your child’s social communication skills and the development of these skills.

What will happen next?

You will have to wait a few weeks to get feedback from the assessment. The clinicians will mark up the assessments and talk to other professionals involved, e.g. A Speech and Language Therapist or your child’s school teacher.

What happens if my child gets a diagnosis of ASD?

If your child does get a diagnosis of ASD then you will be given some information on ASD. You will be given the opportunity to attend the ASD Parents Group which is a one-off workshop run by clinicians in CAMHS.


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