Autism Assessment

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Multidisciplinary Autism Assessment with a Cognitive / Developmental Assessment and an initial Speech and Language Assessment

In the Childrens Natural Environment Assessment Practice (CNEAP) we endeavour to provide a family led approach. We only take steps the size of your child’s feet.  

We at all times are aware that there is a child at the centre of the assessment. We rely on the parents’ co-operation and support throughout the assessment. We may at times require your assistance and will ask you to work with us throughout the assessment, based on your child’s presentation and ability to participate. 

While attending the practice, we intend to make the overall experience as comfortable as possible for parents and children. We will assess and investigate your child’s overall presentation. At times this will involve asking your child to complete tasks that they may find difficult, please remain confident that we will also focus on your child’s strengths. Our main aim is to find out how best to go forward with supporting you and your child through the process.

Process and Steps:

Developmental Assessment

In the Childrens Natural Environment Assessment Practice we have a particular approach to our Multidisciplinary Autism Assessment. Our Psychologist’s preference is to start with a Cognitive or Developmental Assessment as standard when assessing a child for Autism. 

To provide the best practice possible, we endeavour to complete a Cognitive Developmental Assessment alongside an ADI-R, ADOS / BOSA interview where possible. 

When a parent has concerns over their child’s behaviour, language or social/emotional development it is very important to determine if they have met their developmental milestones and to also to examine their rate of learning. 

A Cognitive and Developmental Assessment provides an idea of how your child is functioning intellectually in comparison to their peers. This assessment can also help to highlight any particular strengths or particular needs that they may have in this area. This assessment also provides valuable information about what way your child learns and will allow us to make suggestions relating to school and other services.  

This assessment on average may involve your child attending the practice on 1-3 occasions for 2 hours at a time. The amount of time needed varies per child depending on their ability to participate. 

Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale -2 (ADOS-2)​

Please note: The BOSA may be utilised in line with COVID-19 safety measures. Information will be given to parents and outlined and explained prior to the session. 

The ADOS is a play based assessment. This assessment session will be undertaken by both a Senior Psychologist and another member of our team (an Occupational Therapist, a Speech and Language Therapist or a BCBA), who will also be observing and co-scoring afterwards. 

The Senior Psychologist will both observe and interact with your child.  We seek to make this as comfortable and enjoyable for your child as possible. For the majority of children, they will not be aware they are being ‘assessed’. 

During this assessment we will talk to your child, play some games, conduct some tasks and ask some age-appropriate questions about their feelings etc. We will also attempt to engage in some imaginative play. As a multidisciplinary team, we are hoping to get a good picture of your child’s abilities. We want to investigate their language, play skills, imaginative skills, social skills and how they behave in a social context. Please be aware we may ask you to partake at times as a parent. 

How you prepare your child before attending the assessment largely depends on their age and level of understanding. For a preschool aged child, it is probably best to tell them that they are going to play with some new toys, with a teacher or friend of yours.

This assessment on average may involve your child attending the practice on one occasion for 2 hours. The amount of time needed varies per child depending on their ability to participate. 

The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R)

At this stage in your child’s assessment process, they will have completed a Developmental/Cognitive Assessment. Your child will have taken part in a play-based assessment to examine for Autism specific symptoms and you will also have met with either a Speech and Language Therapist or an Occupational Therapist.

The last part of your child’s Multidisciplinary Assessment for Autism will involve parent only involvement. You will be asked to attend the practice as parents or caregivers to take part in an ADI-R parent interview. This interview can take 2-3 hours to complete, an additional session may be needed if required. 

The purpose of this interview is to get an initial idea as to whether or not your child is presenting with Autism traits. 

During this interview parents can expect us to ask various questions related to Autism, for example about your child’s language and social skills and whether they engage in any repetitive or sensory behaviours. We will also ask you about your child’s earliest days and reflect on their developmental milestones. You will also be asked questions regarding your child’s needs and at what stage you started to have a concern for your child.

An initial Speech and Language Therapy Assessment will also be carried out during the overall assessment with our Senior Speech and Language Therapist. 

Please note this assessment is required to access an Autism Diagnosis and to subsequently apply for Autism specific resources such as school supports. This assessment will provide a report which is accepted by the HSE and schools.