In consultation with you, Connect will offer a bespoke assessment that is person centred, flexible and tailored to meet the need of the individual.
In our assessment we may for example visit you at home, school or at work if we agreed that this would be useful to help us understand any difficulties you may have been struggling with.
We use the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO). This is a detailed semi-structured interview designed to elicit a picture of the whole person from early years to present day functioning. The primary purpose is to facilitate understanding of the pattern over time of the skills and impairments that underlie the overt behaviour. In this way, it is possible to identify any manifestations of the autism spectrum from the most obvious to the more subtle. This is a dimensional approach rather than using arbitrary cut-off points and placing individuals into distinct categories. The dimensional approach to clinical description is far more helpful for prescribing how best to help each individual and to identify the person’s profile and needs. This is one of the assessment tools recommended by NICE and The National Autistic Society.
Completing the full DISCO can take 3 hours or more. The approach taken is relaxed and informal, giving clients the opportunity to tell their story from start to finish and to really explain any strengths and difficulties so far. We go at your pace, encouraging full explanation and as much detail as you wish to give. Clients often comment on how they finally feel listened to and how good it has been to ‘tell their story’.
We tailor our observations depending on your need and what we agree will be most useful for you or your child. This may be carried out by a psychologist or speech and language therapist or another professional, but the aim is always to develop our understanding of the individual and their strengths and areas of difficulty.
We may also speak with other people in your life (teachers, managers, friends) if we agreed that this will be helpful in gaining a broader understanding of your needs or those of your child.
After the assessment we will feedback our conclusions to you and discuss any recommendations that we have considered. During feedback we will take as much time as you require to talk through our assessment findings and to discuss with you recommended ways forward as well as answering any other questions you might have. This part of the assessment is about understanding your child and how to help them, creating more understanding for those working with them, and if/when appropriate, to aid understanding of themselves.
You will then receive a full assessment report outlining all the information we gathered, the direct assessment, the diagnostic conclusion and recommendations. The report will discuss in full, the profile of behaviours, and make reference to any specific profile that we have discussed for example, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pathological Demand Avoidance, Women and Girls etc.
Undertaking an assessment does not guarantee a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Even if a diagnosis is not given, you will still receive a comprehensive report including a profile of strengths, needs, and full recommendations. We will help you to develop a fuller understanding of your child and what might help support them.
Where appropriate we will offer you a follow up consultation with one of our team to discuss any questions you may have following on from the assessment. You may for example wish to discuss more about Autism, find out about local support groups or discuss some of the recommendations that were made. This is part of our post diagnostic services and would incur an additional fee.