Children and young people are referred into our service when they are suspected of having autism.

Autism spectrum condition symptoms

Your child could be displaying difficulties with:

  • Their speech development
  • Responding to others, physically or verbally
  • Interacting or playing
  • Their behaviour

Please visit this NHS Choices page for more information.

How can I help my child or young person?

Click here to view our mind map filled with advice on how to support your child.

The activities highlighted in the mind map will help you understand your child’s condition and make day to day life easier to manage with their difficulties.

If you continue to suspect your child is within the autism spectrum, please consult your GP who, if appropriate, will direct your child into our service.

You can find a list of useful ASC resources and contacts here

How can we help?

We provide a diagnostic assessment service through a range of multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals that will help diagnose your child’s condition.

The service consists of multi-disciplinary teams located in the east, north, south and west of Devon.

The virtual, multi-disciplinary ASC teams are made up of the following professionals:

  • Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
  • Paediatrician and/or Psychiatrist
  • Specialist Autism Spectrum Practitioner
  • Clinical Psychologist

We also have access to the following professionals:

  • Educational Psychologist
  • Learning Disability Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Social Workers
  • Assistant Psychologist
  • Specialist Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Specialist Teachers

Diagnostic assessment

The diagnostic assessment contains:

  • Detailed paediatric and/or psychiatric assessment (including physical and medical investigations)
  • A detailed structured interview with parents focusing on the child/young person’s current presentation and developmental history
  • Autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS) usually done by two clinicians working with the child/young person in a series of guided play and storytelling activities. The actual activities vary according to the age of the child.

Further assessments

The following assessments may be used if more information is required and will depend on individual needs of the child/young person:

  • Individual speech and language profile/assessment
  • Individual cognitive assessment
  • Educational psychology assessment
  • Observation of the child/young person across different settings including school, home and clinic
  • More detailed developmental/ social history
  • Review of information across health, education and social care
  • Consideration of sensory processing needs

Formulation of the diagnosis is done at a multi-disciplinary team meeting where all aspects of the assessment process are considered before an outcome is agreed.

The outcome is then discussed with the family and also with the child/young person where appropriate. It is usual that a school meeting is arranged to discuss the outcome of the assessment and recommendations for support.

Referral criteria and details of the ASC pathway can be found here.