Are private assessments accepted by Local Authorities?
Often, families are concerned that Local Authorities might not accept privately commissioned assessments for Autism and ADHD when applying for EHCPs (Education, Health, and Care Plans) or for alternative education provision.
To the best of our knowledge in Hampshire the LA accept private assessments as long as they include information gathered from schools and parents and an observation of the child. The assessments provided by ChATS meet this criteria.
To the best of our knowledge in Berkshire the LA accept private assessments as long as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health) have agreed they are sufficiently robust and include information gathered from schools and parents and an observation of the child. The assessments provided by ChATS meet this criteria. In Berkshire when families have commissioned a private assessment a copy of the report can be sent to CAMHS who review it and write a summary letter agreeing the assessment is of sufficient quality.
If you would like to verify this information, Hampshire CAMHS can be contacted at 0300 304 0050. Berkshire CAMHS can be contacted at 0300 3651234.
What is the cost of an assessment for Autism and/or ADHD?
The cost of our assessments is calculated according to the number of hours involved. When families contact us we arrange a time to speak with them over the phone to discuss their child’s needs and their hopes for an assessment. Following this consultation we will provide a breakdown of costs for each part of the assessment.
What is the ADI-R?
The ADI-R (Autism Developmental Interview, Revised) is a clinical diagnostic aid for assessing the presence of Autism in children and adults. The ADI-R is completed with parents or caregivers who know the individual well and have knowledge of them throughout their development. The ADI-R gives a score across three domains (social interaction, communication and language, and restrictive, repetitive, or stereotyped patterns of interests or behaviours) and gives cut-off scores in each area indicating whether the information given supports the possible presence of Autism. The results of the ADI-R should be interpreted in conjunction with clinical judgement and alongside direct observation of the individual.
What is the ADOS-2?
The ADOS-2 is a structured and semi-structured, play- and conversation-based assessment used to assess the presence of Autism in children and adults. The ADOS-2 assesses a young person’s strengths and difficulties in four domains (language and communication, reciprocal social interaction, imagination, and stereotyped behaviours and restricted interests) and gives cut-off scores indicating whether the observations of the young person supports the possible presence of Autism. The results of the ADOS-2 should be interpreted in conjunction with clinical judgement and alongside a developmental history of the individual.
What are NICE guidelines and where can I find them?
The NICE website describes their guidelines as: “…evidence-based recommendations for health and care in England. They set
out the care and services suitable for most people with a specific condition or need, and people in particular circumstances or settings. Our guidelines help health and social care professionals to:
prevent ill health
promote and protect good health
improve the quality of care and services
adapt and provide health and social care services.”
The NICE guidelines for assessment and management of Autism in under 19s can be found here.
The NICE guidelines for assessment and management of ADHD can be found here.
What are the diagnostic criteria for Autism and ADHD?
At ChATS we use the DSM 5 (The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition) when assessing the possible presence of Autism and ADHD. The DSM 5 sets out a set of criteria and specifies how many of these criteria must be met for a diagnosis to be given.
The DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for Autism are available via Autism Speaks.
The DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for ADHD are available via The ADHD Institute.
Does my child have to know about the assessment?
Primary-age children: We encourage parents to speak with their children at an age-appropriate level about the assessment process and outcomes, and what we might be looking for. Sometimes children have already heard the terms “autism” or “adhd” mentioned in relation to them and without an open conversation about what these terms mean children might misunderstand and this can lead to unnecessary anxiety. Sometimes parents choose to wait until they know the assessment outcome before discussing this with their child. In these cases we encourage parents to offer some explanation of the assessment, such as “they are helping us understand the things you are good at and the things you struggle with, so that we can help you better”. Your assessment team at ChATS can help you think about what information it might be useful to give your child before, during, and after the assessment.
Secondary-age children: We ask children of secondary-school age to sign a consent form (appropriately simplified and worded) to say that they are aware of the assessment, understand what Autism/ADHD is, and agree to being assessed to see whether this diagnosis might fit for them. This is because children of this age can often demonstrate that they have capacity to consent to or refuse the assessment and therefore to do so covertly would be unethical. If parents are concerned about this we are happy to think with them about what their worries are and discuss how this can be managed on a case-by-case basis.