What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis is often made after the age of three. There’s no "cure" for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support and a number of other interventions are available to help children and parents and do not require a diagnosis.
The ASD Assessment Process for Pre-school age Children is carried out by the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT). When they do an autism assessment, they need to know how your child is getting on at home, at nursery or in education settings. If your child has had assessments by other professionals they would like to see their reports.
If you are concerned that your child might have ASD, the first step is to speak to your child’s Health Visitor. You should take a list of behaviours and characteristics that make you think your child might be autistic with you to this meeting. During appointments with professionals, they will need to ask about your family, the health and mental health of family members and whether your child has had any traumatic experiences.
Assessment Phase 1
Your child’s Health Visitor will carry out an Ages and Stages Questionnaire and, if appropriate, a Wellcomm language screen. The Health Visitor will talk to you about the concerns you have about your child’s development.
Assessment Phase 2
Your child will have an appointment with a Speech and Language Therapist in a clinic, at nursery or in your home. They will assess your child’s communication skills and provide you with advice and strategies on how you can support your child. The Speech and Language Therapist will discuss your child’s progress with you. In cases where your child needs further assessments, the Speech and Language Therapist will move your child to Phase 3 of the Autism assessment.
Assessment Phase 3
Once all information has been collected from the team of professionals and they determine that your child meets the criteria for Assessment phase 3, a referral will be made to a Paediatrician . Once the Paediatrician is sure, they will let you know whether your child has an ASD diagnosis or not.
Waiting for Assessment
There is a significant waiting list for assessment because so many children have been referred. We priorities those children who are Looked After or have a Child Protection Plan in place, so if that is the case for your child, please let us know.
How to help
We have a pre-assessment parent education session called
“Pre-schoolers; how to help with challenging behaviour, communication, and accessing community resources”
This session offers tips on supporting your child and information about local services available to help you and your child. Parents can attend this group session whilst they wait for an assessment. This session is offered by professionals with many years’ experience working with children with autism.
You can call CWPT to arrange to attend one of these sessions at 02476 961226
For more information, please see the ASD ASSESSMENT PROCESS IN COVENTRY (PRE SCHOOL CHILDREN) webpage