ASC assessments

At ChATS we offer assessments for Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) to children and young people aged 5 to 18 years.

ASC assessment process

Please note that the process may vary slightly depending on the individual needs of children and young people.

Stage 1: After you have contacted us and provided your details a member of the ASC assessment team will contact you by phone.  We will think with you about your reasons for pursuing an ASC assessment, gather some basic information from you, explain our assessment process, and answer any questions you might have.  This conversation usually lasts around 30 minutes.

Stage 2: If you decide to go ahead with an assessment we will send some forms via email for you, your child (if appropriate), and your child’s teacher to complete and return to us.  We will also book in a provisional date for your child’s assessment.  We are generally able offer a full assessment in a day but on some occasions this might not be possible.

Stage 3: On the day of your assessment one member of the ASC team will meet with parents/carers to collect a detailed developmental history for your child, focusing particularly on characteristics of ASC.  We will also review the questionnaires you returned to us and ask any additional questions we might have.  This generally takes between 3 and 4 hours.  Another member of the ASC team will meet with your child to complete an ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition) assessment.  This is a semi-structured play- and conversation-based assessment designed to elicit behaviours associated with ASC.  This generally takes around 1 hour.  There will then be a short break of around 30 minutes where both members of the ASC team will meet to discuss the information they have collected from parents/carers, the young person, and the school.  Wherever possible we aim to conclude assessments on the same day and give full feedback, including diagnoses (where appropriate) and recommendations.  There are occasions when we will not be able to give feedback on the day (for example if more information is required); if this is the case a separate feedback session face-to-face or over the telephone will be arranged.

Stage 4: Following the assessment you will receive a short report detailing the conclusions of the assessment.  A full report summarising the information gathered from all sources during the assessment will then follow.

Diagnostic criteria

ChATS use the DSM-5 criteria when diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The diagnostic criteria are available to view via Autism Speaks. The DSM-5 has chosen, based on the most current research evidence, to use an overarching diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder to replace previous diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, or the catch-all diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.  The DSM-5 state that most individuals who would previously have received any of the above diagnoses would now receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Please note that ChATS do not assess or diagnose Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) as it is not currently supported by sufficient research to be included in any diagnostic manuals.  For more information about PDA please visit the PDA society.