Multidiscilinary Gold Standard Autism Assessments
If you think that you (or your child) might have Autism (an Autism Spectrum Disorder - ASD), one of the first steps is to discuss this with your, or your child’s GP. Your GP may complete a brief screening questionnaire, to give an early indication of whether or not you (or your child) meet the criteria for an NHS Autism Assessment referral. If this screening reveals that you (or your child) do or may meet the criteria, your GP may refer you to the local NHS Autism Diagnostic Service.
Unfortunately, due to an increased understanding of the negative impact an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis can have on a person’s life (and increased awareness of the practical, financial and education support measures those who are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder may be entitled to, NHS services are heavily oversubscribed with a very high demand. Waiting times are typically one to three years for an assessment date, depending on geographical location and the age of the person being assessed.
Not only does such a very long wait cause anxiety and distress for the person seeking a diagnosis (and for their family and friends), it also deprives them of time within which they could be benefiting from additional practical and financial support in their lives. For a child or young person especially, years of waiting for an assessment could deprive them of additional practical or one to one teaching support at school (or even access to an autism specialised Special Educational Needs School) at a time in their development that such support is most critical for their long term future.
It is also the case that certain complex profile types may not be easily assessed by standard NHS screening measures; the quality of the assessment services provided varies considerably in different geographical locations, with the detail quality of diagnostic reports provided by these services, varying as a consequence of this.
A Private Autism Diagnostic Assessment does offer an alternative for people seeking a diagnosis (whether for themselves, or for their child or family member) to the distress, anxiety and the potential for long term adverse consequence for the person’s future, of the years of waiting for an NHS assessment. However, the costs, accessibility, timescales, clinical expertise, quality of the assessments and detail of reports provided by private diagnostic autism assessment providers however, does vary significantly.