Child in a neurodevelopmental assessment

We look forward to meeting you and your child and would like to make the assessment experience as comfortable as possible for you.

This page outlines what to expect during the assessment.

The assessment team is made up of:

  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Assistant Psychology
  • Administrators

The team members carrying out your child’s assessment will introduce themselves to you at the start of the assessment. You will have had a telephone call from one of the team already to explain the assessment process, gather some additional information, and arrange the clinic appointment.

On arrival to the clinic appointment

When you arrive for your appointment, please let the receptionist know and take a seat in the waiting room. A member of the team will then come and meet you and your child.

We will take you to our clinic room that has lots of toys available for your child to engage and play with. If your child needs to bring something to help them settle that is OK, but please try to limit any other objects. If your child needs time to settle into the new environment, that is also OK.

The clinic play-based assessment session

The assessment used in clinic is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, or ADOS for short. The ADOS is one of the assessment tools we use as part of the overall autism assessment process.

The ADOS helps us see how your child communicates and interacts, what interests your child has and how they play with all the different toys. The toys include press-down button toys, shape sorters, miniature characters, bubbles and more!

During the assessment, one team member will play some games and use different toys with your child. Another team member will be taking notes in the room. There will also be another team member observing through a laptop. It can be useful for the session to be video recorded for the team to review, but we will ask if you consent to this on the day.

The clinic session will last approximately 30 to 45 minutes. The room space can be limited, so we kindly ask that only one parent or carer comes into the clinic room.

If your child does not want to play or engage, don’t worry. We understand that every child is different and want to reassure you that whatever your child does on the day, it will help us to better understand them. We will follow you and your child’s lead. This is also why we have a number of different ways of gathering information as part of the overall assessment process.

The assessment process

You will also complete a parent/carer interview which is significantly helpful to the assessment process. As well as this, we will gather information from your child’s setting to provide information on how your child is observed there.

Once the parent/carer appointment, the setting information, and clinic appointment has been completed, the team can then decide the next steps. The team usually meet within a few days of the clinic session. The next steps could be:

  • A decision is made on the outcome of the assessment and that your child reaches the criteria for a diagnosis of autism, or does not.
  • Further assessment is needed. This could mean your child may need to be seen in your setting by one of the team members.
  • Further team members are needed to check on some specific development areas of your child.

The team will discuss what the next steps may be for your child with you following the clinic session. We will ensure everyone is clear what the next steps are and allow you to ask any questions you may have.

What skills do we assess?

There are seven key areas we look at:

  1. Showing and sharing of  social communication, emotions and interests
  2. Non-verbal Communication
  3. Relationships and play
  4. Repetitive use of actions, words and play
  5. Insistence of sameness and predictability
  6. Strong Interests
  7. Sensory sensitivities

Contact us

We look forward to meeting you and your child soon. In the meantime, should you have any questions regarding the assessment, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information regarding the Neurodevelopmental Service please visit this page.

You can call us on (01472) 252570 and then select option two to speak to the team. Please note this phoneline is monitored from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9AM and 4:30PM.

You can also contact the team by sending an email to This inbox is monitored between 9:30AM and 4:30PM, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays. We will aim to respond to your enquiry within five working days.