Autistic Spectrum Condition Assessment
At Connect, you can expect a rigorous, comprehensive and detailed evaluation to formally identify and diagnose Autistic Spectrum Condition. Two experienced and qualified psychologists are involved in the assessment and employ a range of ‘gold standard’ assessment methods which will include a combination of the following:
- The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS): A semi-structured, standardized assessment of communication, social skills, play and repetitive behaviours. This allows assessment of your child or young person’s communication style and manner, as well as how they play and their ability to be creative
- An interview with the parent/carer to gather developmental history and other relevant information.
- Liaising with the child or young person’s school, and on occasion an observation in the education setting.
- DISCO: Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders: DISCO is an assessment designed to obtain a picture of your child as a whole person, bringing together their presentation and a greater understanding of their development and behaviour.
- Standardised psychometric assessments might also be completed, using Wechsler Batteries.
- Sensory Profile 2: a parent/carer completed assessment of the child/young person’s sensory experiences and functioning.
- Brown Executive Function/Attention Scales: an assessment of a wide range of impairments of executive functioning.
- Children’s Communication Checklist 2: a screening assessment to identify children who are likely to have language impairment
- Gilliam Autism Rating Scale 2: an assessment for individuals between the ages of 3 and 22 and is designed to help differentiate those with autism from those with behavioural difficulties.
- Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System: an assessment of adaptive skills across the lifespan and is useful for evaluating those with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, learning disabilities, neuropsychological disorders, and sensory or physical impairments.
- Coventry Grid Interview: A diagnostic interview for social and communication disorders, designed to help clinicians determine the extent to which a child has autism (ASD) or attachment difficulties, both or neither.
Our ASC assessment is carried out by ADOS-trained Connect psychologists and complies fully with the NICE guidelines (National Institute for Clinical Excellence). A full report will be written following the assessment with recommendations for school staff and families. This can be shared with local authorities.
A variety of diagnostic tools are used to inform ASC assessments and at Connect the ADOS is a helpful and widely-recognised tool. However, as highlighted in the European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (ESCAP) practice guidance and the British Psychological Society best practice guidelines: “clinicians should also be aware that there are circumstances when standardised procedures may be inadequate or misleading”. The ESCAP guidance goes on to say that “while the use of these supporting instruments is highly recommended, it is important to recognise that none should be used, in isolation, to make the diagnosis. This requires expert clinical judgement based on information gathered from all relevant sources.”
The psychologists’ carrying out the ASC assessment at Connect have a combined experience of over twenty years in the assessment of Autistic Spectrum Condition, working closely together to apply their expert clinical judgement and analyse assessment data to arrive at the most reliable and accurate evaluation.