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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do Local Authorities/NHS recognise your diagnosis
    We can assure you that our diagnosis is based on international standards such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)-5 TR and ICD-11 which are followed worldwide. We follow robust assessment guidelines which are based on NICE * (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines followed by the NHS. We only use trained professionals who are experts in their field to undertake assessments. Hence our diagnosis has been well accepted in the England and Wales. So far not a single authority in England and Wales has challenged or not accepted out diagnosis. We are happy to work collaboratively with the NHS services including primary care such as your GP. We get requests for assessments from all parts of UK We have undertaken assessments for children resident in ​ Bedfordshire Bristol Buckinghamshire Cambridgeshire Derbyshire East Sussex Greater London Harrow Hertfordshire Herefordshire Isle of Wight Kent Lincolnshire Merseyside Middlesex Wales Warwickshire West Essex West Yorkshire Wiltshire ​ * The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system in UK. Our diagnosis has been well accepted in the UK. Please seek views of your local health and education services to gain clarity on their views on private assessments if you wish. We are happy to discuss individual situations with you.
  • Are your assessments face to face or online
    We offer a mixture of telephone and face to face appointments in most circumstances. These are arranged at a time that is mutually convenient to both parties. We endeavour to have face to face appointments for every child.
  • What is the cost of assessment
    The following cost applies to self-paying parents/carers ​ Initial Assessment for up to 60 minutes: £400 Follow up to 30 minutes: £200 to £250 dependent on complexity The cost of Autism and ADHD assessment depends on a number of factors including the age of the child and complexity of presentation. We request parents to contact Autism Doctor for specific cost relevant to their child. Any additional time spent over the set limit for assessment, when available, may incur cost of £150 per 30 minutes or part thereof. ​ Please note specialist assessments by other professionals such as Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Clinical or Education Psychologist, investigations etc. may incur additional cost if not advised initially. ​ All investigations requested as a part of assessment are not included in the assessment cost. They are payable directly to the concerned third party. There is a small charge for medication prescriptions outside of consultation appointment for example repeat prescriptions. ​ Cancellation charges: Any cancellation without a prior notice of at least 48 hrs may be subject to administrative charge of £100/- to cover admin/ room hire fees etc. ​ Please pay to the invoice using BACS ( bank transfer) prior to the appointment.
  • How soon can we expect the assessment
    We are able to offer the first appointment usually within 4-6 weeks of us receiving the referral information on our electronic system. The reports take up to 4 to 6 weeks or so after the last assessment is completed or the information received in most circumstances.
  • How is Autism assessed
    Broadly speaking as per the guidelines, Autism Assessment includes No two Autistic children are the same so there may be variations in assessments of individuals. The assessments can be a mixture of above steps ie while taking history we may also observe the child or young person. The most important contribution in the assessment of Autism is that of clinical history. We tailor this part of the assessment to each child based on the standardised recommendations. ​ The assessment is often multidisciplinary which means more than one expert is involved. ​We recommend the right experts who will be able to assess your child for specific aspects of Autism such as their social interaction and communication style etc. You will be given a clear plan of what assessment tests are being offered that meet your child's needs ​ In rare circumstances where all of these steps may not be possible, Autism Doctor will suggest alternative options, again keeping best practise at the core of assessment. ​ For Autism assessments we use a combination of assessment tools depending on the presentation of the child or young person. For Autism some of the following assessment tools/methods may be used.
  • What is a 3Di assessment
    The Developmental, Dimensional and Diagnostic Interview (3Di) is a parental interview usually undertaken as a telephone appointment. The child is not required for this assessment. One or both parents can join in this interview. It takes about 60 minutes to complete in most circumstances. ​ The aim of this interview is to establish how likely it is that your child has symptoms of Autism. ​ During this interview the interviewer uses a framework of questions that cover verbal and non-verbal communication, social relations as well as rigid, repetitive, ritualistic and sensory behaviours of your child. There are often choices of answers to the questions. The interviewer may give you those options as appropriate. The interviewer will ask you some examples of statements that you may have made e.g.: “he always takes things literally” as today he said “it can’t rain cats and dogs as they are animals not raindrops falling from the sky”. At the end of the interview there will be a report generated for review by the main clinician who will analyse this information alongside other information. The final outcome of a diagnosis depends on all the information collected and observations made. ​ The 3Di outcome does not mean that the diagnosis is confirmed. The clinician will confirm the diagnosis after collating information from other sources, developmental history and other tools for assessments and information from the 3Di interview. Please note that the terms Asperger’s, Autism are currently not in use as they are all now merged into Autism Spectrum Disorder. ​ You will be guided throughout the interview. If at any stage you are not sure please ask.
  • What is an ADOS-2 assessment
    The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition (ADOS-2) is an activity-based assessment administered by trained clinicians to evaluate communication skills, social interaction, and imaginative use of materials in children and young people who are suspected to be on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). During the ADOS-2 assessment, the examiner presents the person being tested with a series of structured and unstructured social activities or “presses” that provide standard contexts in which social interaction, communication, and particular types of behaviours are likely to appear. The ADOS-2 alone is not used to make a diagnosis on its own. Further information/ assessment should be done for a full diagnosis. There are many modules of ADOS-2. The module is chosen based on a particular developmental and language level of the child/young person.
  • What is BOSA assessment
    BOSA, or Brief Observation of Symptoms of Autism, is a newer diagnostic tool in the assessment of Autism. It is an adaptation of another tool used for assessment of autism in children, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). It provides opportunities for a parent to engage with the child through semi-structured activities, creating a context in which to observe symptoms of autism. ​ It involves you as parent to administer series of timed activities with your child using standardised toys and activities. You will be given instructions on how to administer these on the day. The instructions are fairly simple and no preparation is required. ​ The clinician will observe, ask additional questions as required and analyse the observation and report it. The main clinician will confirm the final diagnosis after collating information from other sources, developmental history and other tools for assessments and information from the BOSA.
  • What is a SCERTS assessment
    SCERTS is an evidence-based framework to support children and young people with Autism in the areas of Social Communication and Emotional Regulation using Transactional Supports. This can be very helpful if your child has a lot of emotional dysregulation. In other words if they get frequent meltdowns that cannot be explained. SCERTS -based assessment adds rich detail to the strengths and needs of your child in relation to social communication and emotional regulation whilst providing strategies for home and educational settings. The format is through detailed questionnaires from parents, educational staff and video observations. In some instances, video-calls might be arranged, and in a few instances face-to-face assessment might be required.
  • What is TELE ASD PEDS assessment
    TELE ASD PEDS is a type of video assessment to observe young children suspected to have Autism. It is a fun and relaxed activity with toys that most children have in their homes. During this assessment you will be requested to play and interact with your child using a few toys. The observer notices the spontaneous responses of your child with you when you play and interact with him/her. It is a relaxed session with the planned activities that most parents/carers undertake with their children regularly using commonly available toys. We will provide you with all the instructions and guidance on how to do it when it has been agreed.
  • What is an ADI-R
    The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) is a diagnostic interview used in determining whether or not children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Administering the ADI-R does not directly involve the child—instead, it is an interview conducted by a trained professioanal with the child’s parents or other caregivers. The ADI-R focuses on the developmental history of the child as well as current problems. It is a very detailed and therefore lengthy assessment that can be undertaken using teleconsultation. It is helpful when some symptoms of ASD are not apparent when interacting directly with the child in a face-to-face assessment.
  • How is ADHD assessed
    ADHD Assessment requires careful consideration of the child’s history and behaviour at home, and how it correlates with the child's presentation in another setting such as at school. We use tailor made tools to take a standardised DSM-5 criteria based history and correlate it clinically. No two children with ADHD are the same, hence adaptations may be required for assessments. Typically the ADHD assessment includes
  • What is a Qb Check
    Qb check also referred as Qb test is a computer based test that looks for the three important measures of ADHD. It is a screening tool which provides objective information to aid the assessment of ADD/ADHD. The test uses age and gender matched comparisons to assess a child’s ability to concentrate, their movement and impulsivity. The Qb Test results are used in conjunction with other ADD/ADHD assessment tools to aid clinical judgement. The test usually lasts for 15 to 20 minutes. A camera is used to track your child’s movements but your child won't be filmed during the test. We will need you to complete the rating scale based on DSM 5, describing patterns of behaviour associated with ADHD. You should select the option that best describes the test takers behaviour during the last six months. We need your consent to perform a QB check. A separate consent form is requested. The test takers date of birth, gender and test taker ID will be saved in the database and displayed on the QbCheck report. Before the test When testing young children, it might be a good idea to ask if they need to use the toilet before starting the test since it is not possible to take a break during the QB test. Chewing gum or similar are not allowed during the test and should be removed before starting the session. Eating or drinking is not permitted during the test. Please remove your child’s coat or jacket prior to the assessment if applicable. Both parents and children are requested to ideally turn off or completely mute, not leave on vibrate or sound, any mobile phones to prevent any kind of notifications. You may wish to use the flight mode on instead. Before starting the test your child will get instructions and take a practise test. The test should be completed in one go. During Test There will be a computer check first. There will be a practice test after that. Then there will be a real test. Your child will sit comfortably on the chair or stool provided. Your child will be seated about 60 centimetres from the camera. The camera won't film you child during the test. During the camera check the test taker ( your child) will be able to see their own image on screen. This is however not recorded during before or after the test. Instead the computer will only track the test takers ( child’s) movement based on the outline of their face . The parents or guardians should leave the room after the instruction video. Your presence in the test room could cause distraction for the test taker and should therefore be avoided during the test. Before starting the practise test, we will check whether your child has understood the instructions. We would be happy to repeat the instructions if necessary. We will be seated behind your child during the assessment. After the test The recommended action after the QB test depends on the result. This may vary per test taker. The result provides information about the likelihood of ADHD like symptoms. The report may not be available immediately to share with you but can be sent to you at a later date. Other Information If for some reason even after explanation, it is not possible to conduct the test up to four times, the test will be discontinued. Your child will be expected to respond to all consecutive targets and not only to identical pairs. Your child can wear glasses if they normally do, during the assessment. The whole process could take up to 30 to 45 minutes in total. We may not be able to start the actual test if we are not sure that the test taker has really understood the instructions. A report will not be made available when a test is not completed or when a test taker disengages for longer than two minutes during the test. A completed test is required for an accurate norm group comparison and therefore a result cannot be generated in case of an incomplete test. One can discontinue an ongoing test by pressing the escape button. Once interrupted, it is not possible to restart an interrupted test. For more details on a Qb Test:
  • What is the role of Paediatricians in neurodevelopmental assessment
    Paediatricians are best suited to establish a good developmental history which is essential for a diagnosis of Autism. Paediatricians can also consider other possible diagnosis including serious conditions like epilepsy, Developmental Delay, Dyspraxia, medical syndromes, and other a range of medical diagnosis. Paediatricians are specifically trained for medical examination of children and young people. NICE guidelines recommend physical examination as an essential part of diagnostic assessment of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Do your clinicians have NHS experience
    Most clinicians working for Autism Doctor have experience of working in the NHS. Our lead clinician Dr Deepshikha Thakur works for the NHS at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust. She is the lead doctor for Autism and principal Investigator of KASPAR research project related to interventions in Autism. In addition she is the Designated Medical Officer (DMO) in West Hertfordshire. She has strategic role in supporting children and young people with Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND).
  • Do you assess children covered under insurance
    Yes we do. Our lead clinician Dr Deepshikha Thakur is recognised by major insurance providers such as ​ Aetna Aviva AXA BUPA Cigna Healix Vitality Health You will need to obtain an authorisation code to book the first appointment. ​ Speak to your insurance provider if you are not sure. You will need an authorisation code and a GP referral letter​ prior to contacting us for any assessment under insurance. Please contact us for individual circumstances.
  • How can a timely diagnosis help
    There are often long and unclear pathways for assessment of Autism and other Neurodevelopmental conditions like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) , Developmental Delay, Dyspraxia etc. Lengthy waiting times for assessment is frustrating to families and in the absence of clear diagnosis parents and professionals may not be able to adequately support the child's needs. Delayed diagnosis can lead to increased stress and strain on relationships. It can also deny the child the help they need. ​Research has established that early interventions can be effective for many children.
  • What is the age range of children and young people that you assess
    We offer assessments of children and young people from birth to 16 years and 11months.
  • Do you offer assessments requested by Local Authority
    Yes we do. Please discuss individual circumstances with us.
  • I have medical insurance but I am not sure if I am covered?
    Our lead clinician Dr Deepshikha Thakur is recognised by major insurance providers such as ​ Aetna Aviva AXA BUPA Cigna Healix Vitality Health ​ Speak to your insurance provider if you are not sure. You will need an authorisation code prior to contacting us for any assessment under insurance. ​ Please contact us for individual circumstances.
  • Which guidelines/diagnostic tools do you use?
    All our assessments are based on recommended standard or national guidelines such as National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines and Diagnostic statistical Manual-5 (DSM-5). For COVID-19 we follow Public Health England Guidelines for face-to-face assessments. We are undertaking some assessments online as per new protocols in order to provide safe and standardised care. Please refer to our COVID-19 safety policy. ​ Diagnostic tools are specific to your child's needs.
  • Do you offer a multi-disciplinary assessment?
    Yes we offer assessments by different clinicians such as speech and language therapist, clinical psychologist, education psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist etc. as required for the child. ​ Our clinicians are handpicked and experts in their field and have experience of working with children and young people.
  • Can you help in Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)?
    A lot of parents often want support in the Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process. At a small additional cost we can help with completing the medical information on the EHCP form when requested by the local education authority following our assessment.
  • What information do you need for an assessment?
    It is helpful to understand why you have come to us for an assessment. If we understand this we can help you best. ​ We need information from other sources for a comprehensive assessment. For most children who are in an educational setting, we will request school information via parents. ​ We also request parents to send all relevant previous assessments and reports e.g. Speech and Language Therapist (SALT), Clinical Psychologist assessments or Education Psychologist reports, ideally prior to the initial assessment.
  • What are the NICE guidelines for Autism Assessment?
    NICE recommends that the autism assessment team should include: paediatrician and/or child and adolescent psychiatrist speech and language therapist clinical and/or educational psychologist The autism team should either include or have regular access to the following professionals if they are not already in the team: paediatrician or paediatric neurologist child and adolescent psychiatrist educational psychologist clinical psychologist occupational therapist The autism team should either have the skills (or have access to professionals that have the skills) needed to carry out an autism diagnostic assessment, for children and young people with special circumstances including coexisting conditions such as severe visual and hearing impairments, motor disorders including cerebral palsy, severe learning (intellectual) disabilities, complex language disorders or complex mental health disorders looked-after children and young people. At Autism Doctor we are proud to offer assessements that fit in with NICE Guidelines
  • What are the typical symptoms Autism
    The symptoms of Autism can vary widely from person to person, but some of the common signs include: - Delayed or no speech development - Difficulty in making eye contact - Repetitive behaviours such as hand flapping, rocking or spinning - Avoidance of physical contact and touch - Difficulty in understanding social cues and body language - Lack of interest in playing with peers - Difficulty in adapting to changes in routine - Sensory sensitivities such as being oversensitive to noise, lights, or textures It is important to note that not all individuals with Autism will display all of these symptoms, and some may have additional symptoms not listed here. If you suspect that your child may have Autism, it is important to seek an evaluation from a qualified healthcare professional.
  • What are the signs of Autism in High functioning Autism
    In high functioing Autism the signs are: Verbally fluent but not able to hold conversations Melt downs and Emotional Dysregulation Obsessional Interests or Deep knowledge
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