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Assessment Support for Parents & Carers

Support while you wait

Within 2 weeks of receiving your referral form, you will be sent a short questionnaire and allocated one of our friendly staff members to support you through the process.

Our team will be in touch to help you check that your child is eligible for assessment, provide regular updates on the progress of their assessment, and answer any questions you have about the process.

In the meantime, you can access our digital resource hub, which contains further guidance on the assessment process, interactive materials for young people awaiting an autism assessment, and information on how to access local and national support.

Check out the video ‘Amazing Things Happen’ for an uplifting introduction to autism.

Amelines, A. (2017, July 18). Amazing Things Happen. National Autistic Society. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwRrVw-CRo

Preparing for the assessment

If you have time, It can be useful to prepare some notes so that you can share as much detail as possible with the specialist:

 

  • Make a list of behaviours you have noticed in your child that you think might be autistic traits, in as many contexts as possible e.g. home, school, after school clubs.

 

  • Ask others who are in regular contact with your child, such as other family members and teachers, if they have noticed these behaviours, or any others.

 

  • Think about behaviours that your child used to engage in when younger, even if you don’t notice them much anymore. This might be because they have started ‘masking’ their autistic traits as they have grown older. For example, if they used to be very fussy with food, but now they clear their plate at every meal.

 

If your child is anxious or stressed about the assessment, don’t worry – this is normal, because the situation will feel unfamiliar to them. We have a separate page for young people awaiting an autism assessment, to help them feel calm and prepared.

What the assessment entails

Once we have confirmed that your child is eligible, assessment will occur in two stages:

    • The first stage involves some brief questionnaires, completed by the young person, to gather information on their thoughts, feelings and behaviours – both now and through early childhood.
    • If your child does not display a history of autistic traits at this stage, they will be discharged and referred to the appropriate health and care service.
    • If your child’s answers to the questionnaire suggest that they might be autistic, we will conduct a thorough face-to-face assessment to better understand their specific needs, strengths and difficulties, and whether these are indicative of autism.
    • As well as the assessment with the young person, the parent(s)/carer(s) will have a meeting with a specialist in which they will ask you about your child’s emotions and behaviours during their childhood.

During the face-to-face assessment, the young person will carry out a number of activities (e.g. role play and storytelling) using toys, books, and other objects, under the careful observation of an autism specialist. The tasks are designed such that an autistic person would generally approach them differently than someone who is not autistic.

In the assessment room

    • During the assessment, a parent, guardian or informant (the individual who completed the interview part of the assessment) is allowed to sit behind the young person, if this would help to keep them calm.
    • In total, your child’s in-person assessment will take no longer than 90 minutes, depending on how long the tasks take for them to complete.
    • The interview with parents/guardians will last for approximately 3 hours.
    • You and your child will be allowed to take breaks when needed.

Within 5 working days

    • Within 5 working days of the in-person assessment, you and your child will be informed of the outcome in a meeting with the specialist.
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    • During this meeting, we will work with you to develop a care plan tailored to your child’s needs, taking on board your feedback at every step of the process.
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    • If you disagree with our decision, you can request a second opinion.
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    • Regardless of the outcome, you will be signposted to the most appropriate resources and services that we believe will help your young person thrive.

Post-diagnosis support

    • As well as a care plan, you and your child will have access to our online self-help portal, which includes specialist advice for autistic people on living well, enhancing social outcomes and quality of life, and what to do if things get difficult.
    • 4-6 weeks after we communicate the assessment outcome to you, we will offer a follow-up meeting with your assessment team to catch up on your child’s progress and discuss whether their care plan is helping.
    • If your child is still struggling, the assessment team will collaborate with you to revise their care plan, with further monthly follow-up meetings.
    • See our digital resource hub for autism-friendly services that offer support in a number of domains.

Our assessment service is currently available to children and young people under 18 years of age, who are registered with an NHS GP in the Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale areas. If you are based in one of these locations and your child’s GP suspects that they might be autistic, they will refer your child to us.

If your child isn’t eligible for our service, don’t worry – we will inform their GP of the most appropriate alternative.

There are lots of young people who need an autism assessment at any given time, so waiting lists for services like ours can be anywhere from 3 months to a year long.

Once we have conducted your child’s pre-screening triage, we aim to provide you with an assessment outcome within 7 weeks, and a care plan in the next month.

Our self-help portal has resources to help you and your child to prepare for the assessment, and advice on supporting the health of autistic young people.

See the digital resource hub for links to more specific services, such as counselling, special educational needs for autistic children, and support for carers.

As part of the assessment, you will fill in a written questionnaire and have a face-to-face discussion about your child with an autism specialist. This is to provide the specialist with information about your child’s early years, which they may not remember themselves.

During the second (in-person) part of their assessment, a specialist will observe their behaviours and responses to set tasks, which are based on creative play and self-expression. They are not being ‘tested’ as such, because there is no right or wrong way to complete the tasks.

Regardless of the assessment outcome, you will have continued access to our self-help portal and digital resource hub.

If your child is not autistic, we will send a letter to their GP who will refer them to the appropriate service for further support. We will also signpost to other groups who might be able to help.

If we find that your child is autistic, you will have the opportunity to meet with a specialist and develop a care plan together, tailored to the specific needs of the young person.

How to find us

Venue: BeU North Yorkshire, 14 Northway, Scarborough, YO11 1JL

Parking: There is a nearby pay and display. 

Accessibility: Easy access for all at the main reception. 

Receptionists: Let one of the team know you are here for your appointment.