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Autism: After assessment

Autism patient

After an autism assessment  

This page outlines the next steps following your autism assessment. There are different possible outcomes from the assessment. Your child may: 

  • Be diagnosed with autism
  • Need further assessment for other conditions such as ADHD, developmental impairment/learning disability or developmental language disorder. Further assessment may show your child has other conditions alongside autism, or your child may be given a different diagnosis which better suits their needs. 
  • Have a pattern of difficulties that do not fit neatly under one diagnostic heading and they may need a description of their difficulties that can be used to inform what help and support would be beneficial.

After an autism assessment within Child Development and Neurodisability (Ryegate)

Once the assessment has been completed, a report will be sent to you and to your child’s GP to summarise the assessment and our conclusion regarding a diagnosis. This report may include recommendations to support your child or may signpost to other agencies or resources for further support or information.

What happens if a child gets a diagnosis of autism?
Receiving a diagnosis of autism can often help families, schools and others make sense of a child’s preferences and needs. Autism is not a medical condition with treatments or a cure, but may benefit from different strategies and approaches to help them learn, flourish and meet their full potential. It is also important for those around the child to learn about autism and how they can adapt their interactions and the environment to support children.

Information and support for your child, your family and those educating or caring for your child is delivered through online resources, parent workshops and in nursery and school settings. Much of this information and support can be accessed before a child has had an assessment and does not depend on having a diagnosis. There may be some very specialist areas of support, services or educational placements that do need a child to have a formal diagnosis.  

After the assessment, if your child is given a diagnosis of autism, you will:

  • Be given a short letter confirming the diagnosis and the next steps. This letter can be used as evidence of a confirmed diagnosis.  
  • Be sent information about the autism support videos created by the neurodisability team.
  • Be sent a copy of the autism resource pack. This will include information about autism and what support services are available in the local area and nationally.  
  • Be contacted by telephone by one of our specialist neurodisability support workers to talk through the autism resource pack. You will also have the chance to ask any questions you might have following the assessment. 
  • Be sent a report that outlines the details of the assessment, a description of your child’s strength and needs, and the evidence for giving the autism diagnosis. We will ask for your consent to share this with your child’s nursery or school and any other relevant professionals that can help support your child. Please be aware reports can take a few months, but the letter you receive at the assessment appointment is sufficient evidence of a diagnosis. 
  • Be offered one further appointment with a doctor for a medical review. You will be offered ongoing follow-up by doctors only if there are ongoing medical concerns such as extremely restricted eating, significant sleep difficulties, emotional or mental health difficulties or other developmental conditions such as ADHD, developmental impairment or motor-coordination difficulties that need further assessment or monitoring. If there are no ongoing medical concerns your child will be discharged, but we will always accept a referral back if anything changes for your child in the future.  You can continue to access support through education and in the community. 
  • You may be referred to the specialist neurodisability nursing team or offered a place on further workshops depending on your child’s age and their individual needs. These workshops include:
    • Managing difficult emotions  
    • Understanding sensory processing  
    • Social stories  
    • Pre-school Speech and Language Therapy workshop
  • Follow-up with other specialist teams will be arranged as needed.
What happens if a child is not given a diagnosis of autism?
Your child may not be given a diagnosis of autism at the assessment. This can be for a number of different reasons and these will be explained in detail to you at the assessment.  Not being given a diagnosis of autism does not always mean we are saying your child doesn’t have significant difficulties or needs.  

There are many different reasons why children may have difficulty with communication and interacting with others or sensory differences or have a need for routine. Many children and young people will demonstrate autism-type difficulties which overlap with other conditions. It is really important that we understand this in the right way so we can suggest the best approach to help your child.  Sometimes, children have real strengths in some of the areas we are looking at which means they don’t quite fit the diagnostic criteria. They can still have very significant needs in the other areas and still need help and support with these difficulties.  

After the assessment, if your child is not given a diagnosis of autism, you will:

  • Be given a short letter confirming the outcome of the assessment and the next steps.  
  • Be referred to any relevant services for further assessment and investigation if this is identified as needed during the assessment.  
  • Be sent a report that outlines the details of the assessment, a description of your child’s strengths and needs, and why a diagnosis of autism was not right for your child. We will ask for your consent to share this with your child’s nursery or school and any other relevant professionals that can help support your child. Please be aware reports can take a few months, but the letter you receive at the assessment appointment is sufficient evidence of a diagnosis.  
  • Be directed to information sites and support services to help you and your child 
  • Be offered a follow up appointment with a doctor if there are ongoing medical needs.

After an autism assessment within CAMHS

Once the assessment has been completed, a report will be sent to you and to your child’s GP to summarise the assessment and our conclusion regarding a diagnosis. This report may include recommendations to support your child or may signpost to other agencies or resources for further support or information.

What happens if a child gets a diagnosis of autism?

If your child receives a diagnosis, you may be offered a space in our CAMHS autism follow-up clinic, if it is felt that this would be helpful. Sessions can be arranged if requested by parents, typically every few weeks to every few months. We are unable to offer very regular slots. Clinic slots are often used for parents to meet with the clinician on their own to discuss their child’s difficulties. The clinician will give you information and support to help you understand your child’s difficulties and needs.

The clinician may also be able to think with you about strategies to support your child or may signpost you to helpful resources or other avenues of support. If you do wish to be seen in the follow-up clinic, you will be sent a letter which gives you six months to contact the team and request an appointment. If we do not hear from you within six months, we will assume you do not need the support of the clinic and you will be discharged.

What happens if a child does not get a diagnosis of autism within CAMHS?  
If your child does not receive a diagnosis, we will discuss next steps with you. Your child may require further therapeutic support from CAMHS, e.g. for anxiety or low mood. Your child may not require any further support following assessment and therefore discharge from CAMHS would be agreed with you as a family. You may be signposted to other services who are better placed to help than CAMHS.
Please see the links below for more information on what happens before, during and after the autism assessment. Before your autism assessment | During your autism assessment | After your autism assessment

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