The Autism Toolbox: Diagnosis
This "Toolbox" brings together advice, local support, services, activities and resources relating to autism. The name toolbox has been chosen to reflect that anyone, with or without an autism diagnosis, parents and professionals can make use of this information which covers various topics. This section is on diagnosis.
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The service you will need to contact for an autism diagnosis and assessment will depend on yours, or your child's age. The only way to receive a diagnosis of Autism is to get a formal assessment from a team of health care professionals. There are a number of online autism tests, but these vary in accuracy and none will be able to tell if you're definitely on the autism spectrum. Here is a break down of these services.
|0 to 4||
Speak to your nursery setting or GP who will discuss a referral to Community Paediatrics and Child Development Team or the Child Development Team (CDT).
|5 to 18||
Speak to your School or College and/or GP who will discuss a referral to The Neurodevelopmental Pathway provided by CAMHS and Paediatrics.
Parents and Young people can also make a direct referral online. The Neurodevelopmental Pathway is a ‘Single Point of Access for Assessment and Treatment’ for 5 to 18-year-olds. The aim is to ensure that Children Young People with Neurodevelopmental concerns are seen by the most appropriate professional in a timely manner. Neurodevelopmental referrals such as Autism and ADHD are to be submitted via the Single Point of Access Pathway.
Speak to your GP who will discuss a referral to The Adult ASD Diagnostic Service runs from the Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury.
You can also see your GP to request an assessment. Your GP needs a reason to refer you for diagnosis, so you need to explain why you think you could be autistic and how a diagnosis would benefit you.
Try to give your GP some examples of difficulties you've had in adulthood and childhood in areas such as:
- speech and communication
- expressing your feelings and thoughts
- understanding or relating to other people
- using your imagination in social situations
- difficulties in being flexible in your behaviour
- How to get an assessment
- You need to be referred for an assessment by someone like a GP or special educational needs (SENCO) staff at your child's school.
- You may have to wait a few months to get an appointment.
Children and Screening
Health visitors or GPs may do a ‘screening interview’ called an "M-CHAT" this stands for Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers. The results are not a diagnosis, but an indication of whether your child may be autistic.
The benefits of getting a formal diagnosis of autism can include:
- It may help you to understand why you may experience certain difficulties and what you can do about them.
- When the people close to you understand why you may see and feel the world in a different way and find certain things difficult, it's much easier for them to empathise.
- It may help you to get access to support and benefits.
- Your employer may be required to make any necessary adjustments.
Find out more about people's experiences of getting a diagnosis from the National Autistic Society (NAS).