ASD assessment

The ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) assessment often follows the CHAT screening test. The CHAT test is usually carried out by your GP but the ASD assessment will be performed by an autism specialist.

This specialist will be a psychologist or a psychiatrist. If you are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder then you will be referred to a paediatrician.

What is becoming increasingly common is the use of multi-disciplinary teams which are led by a consultant psychologist/psychiatrist, clinical psychologist and other related personnel.

This team will conduct the ASD assessment.

What does an ASD assessment involve?

It is detailed process compared to the CHAT test which involves a series of stages. These are:

  • Obtain information about the child which includes their general health, behaviour and development. This will be obtained from your GP, health visitor etc.
  • A series of interviews in which you will be asked questions about your family history and child’s development history.
  • A detailed observation session in which your child will be asked to perform a set of tasks in order to assess his/her skills and abilities. There will be a focus on the way your child thinks and behaves.
  • A thorough physical examination of your child which includes tests, e.g. blood tests.

This may sound daunting but it is standard procedure in autism cases. The team will want to closely observe your child to see if he/she has problems with motor skills, social interaction or communication.

The results of these stages will confirm of reject a diagnosis of autism. Plus they will also be able to assess the extent of the symptoms, e.g. mild autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.

This is what is more commonly known as an autistic spectrum disorder. The important thing is where does your child appear on this spectrum? Is he/she at the lower end, and therefore the mild end of the spectrum, or is he/she at the higher end which means more serious symptoms.

The extent of these symptoms will in some way, determine the type of treatment you receive.

The diagnosis will be presented to you verbally and in the form of a report. This is discussed in more detail in our diagnostic report section.

If you have been referred then you may have to wait for some period of time before your child undergoes the ASD assessment. If you do not wish to wait then there is the option of paying for a private assessment.

This is discussed in a separate section.

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