The process of getting an autism diagnosis can be lengthy. Timescales vary greatly depending on each child, but generally, it takes around 18 months for families in our area.

Once you have visited your GP, you may then be referred for a formal assessment. Your child should have a multi-agency diagnostic assessment - that is, an assessment by a team of professionals. The team might include a speech and language therapist, a paediatrician and a specialist psychologist. A detailed developmental history will be taken, which involves gathering information from parents or carers about their child, from birth upwards. If your child is of school age, a CAMHS clinician will carry out assessments of them within the school environment. This will include observations of both structured and unstructured periods, e.g. lessons and break time. Your child's teacher will also be involved in the information sharing process to provide further insight. An ADOS assessment (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) will also be carried out - this consists of activities that allow behaviours to be observed.

Once all the assessments have been completed, a meeting will be held to discuss the outcome and a diagnosis may be given, or recommendations to support the child going forward if there is not enough evidence gathered to support a diagnosis.