ASC assessments

At ChATS we offer assessments for Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) to children and young people aged 5 to 18 years. However we are happy to discuss assessments for adults on a case by case basis.

ASC assessment process

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

Stage 1: The easiest way to make an enquiry is via email. We will send you some information introducing ourselves, the services we provide and associated fees. We will then look to book an opportunity to meet for an initial consultation.

Stage 2: Before attending an initial consultation we will ask you to complete some questionnaires outlining your observations and any concerns you  may have about your child / young person in your care. We will also ask for written feedback from the young person’s school. The consultation, which is held virtually, is essentially to ensure that there is sufficient ‘evidence’ to justify pursuing a full assessment and to help you make an informed decision about how to spend your money. At this stage we are often able to identify where alternative assessments might be indicated e.g. a cognitive assessment or where a bespoke assessment pathway is required.

If you decide to pursue an assessment we will then schedule to further appointments with your family.

Stage 3: The assessment is comprised of two parts. One member of the team will meet with parents/carers to collect a detailed developmental history for your child, focusing particularly on characteristics of ASC.  This appointment is held virtually and 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.

Stage 4: After both parts of the assessment have been completed the clinicians involved meet to review the information gathered and compare this against the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder. This is referred to as a ‘multi-disciplinary’ review and is an important step to ensure adherence to NICE guidance.

Stage 5: We will then schedule a feedback appointment to explain our assessment findings. Where appropriate, we will send you a short summary report to confirm any diagnosis given before you receive a more detailed report which includes a full narrative from each part of the assessment. The short report can be used as immediate ‘evidence’ to explore additional support for a young person.

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. However we do recognise the value for some families in the use of PDA as a descriptive term to characterise a specific behavioural profile and associated supportive strategies. For more information about PDA please visit the PDA society.