Autism assessment & diagnosis

For young people from 5-19 years

Being a parent can be challenging enough, but when you have a child that is wired uniquely and marvellously – and differently from the majority – it can feel overwhelming. It is not unusual to feel exhausted, desperate, alone and misunderstood. Despite our advancement in understanding autism, getting an assessment and diagnosis can be excruciatingly slow and bewildering. Some children and young people can present in times of great distress and crisis when access to urgent care and attention is even more crucial. This is where we can help.

Collage of different aged children and youth looking sad, serious and upset

As a highly trained team of psychologists, psychiatrists and speech and language specialists, with decades of clinical experience between us, we pride ourselves on our expertise and dedication to thoroughly assess for autism in Yorkshire. 

Our mission is to give parents greater peace of mind and to give other professionals within a child’s support system a better informed present-day understanding of autism. As Thomas A. Edison once said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Let us help you find the ways that will.

What is

Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC – also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental diagnosis. Individuals with autism have unique brains that have been wired differently from the (neuro-typical) majority. This unique wiring first began when they were in utero – before they were even born – and despite these differences, it is important to realise that autism is not an intellectual disability, mental illness or even a disorder. Autism signifies a brain that has developed in quite splendid and mysterious ways. This is why some autistic individuals can have a remarkable skill set that goes way beyond their years or the norm. However, it can also mean that some people with autism find the chaotic and changeable nature our world much more challenging to navigate through than most. These challenges tend to affect how a person experiences the world around them and because of that, how they communicate with, and relate to, other people.

Collage of different aged children

Autistic individuals tend to be happiest when life is predictable and neat. Some may also have highly specialised – but often restricted – patterns of interest, behaviour or activities. And with a typical increased or reduced sensitivity to sensory information, many can struggle with information overload and/or missing the subtleties of non-verbal clues. This can make communicating with others very difficult and confusing, and the way other people behave can seem very unpredictable. Sometimes, things are complicated further as some autistic individuals may have additional conditions including learning difficulties and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which can add to the challenge of navigating through life smoothly.  If you would like to know more about autism, we highly recommend that you explore the National Autistic Society website for further information.

About DAISY Psychology.

DAISY Psychology Services is a private and independent neurodevelopmental practice founded by Dr Richard Dearden (Clinical Psychologist). DAISY is an acronym for ‘Diagnostic Assessments Independent Specialists Yorkshire‘ and we specialise in providing comprehensive multidisciplinary assessments to children and young people (aged from 5-19 years) for possible Autistic Spectrum Conditions.

Diagnostic Assessments Independent Specialists Yorkshire

In recognition of our ongoing work in the NHS, members of DAISY Psychology Services were awarded “Outstanding Clinical Initiative of the Year” in 2019 for redesigning an autism assessment pathway to improve services for young people and their families through the reduction of waiting times and transformation of clinical practice.

By providing the highest quality of assessment, we aim to help young people, their family members and their support systems gain an enhanced understanding of their specific individual needs. We are committed to providing clear guidance through post-assessment recommendations to facilitate the involvement of appropriate support services. All our assessments are undertaken in accordance with the strict guidelines set out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and we ensure only ‘Gold-Standard’ diagnostic methods are used. Our practice and clinical decision-making is guaranteed to be based in, and supported by, the latest empirical research.

"Kind, sympathetic and professional staff with excellent interpersonal skills and fabulous communication"
Parent of 13 year old teenager
“We felt we were listened to and never rushed. The team are amazing people who made us feel at ease and that we matter. Thank you”
Parent of 8 year old child
“A very warm and friendly team who put me at ease immediately and most importantly my son also felt comfortable during the session too. I can’t think of anything that could have been done better”
Parent of 11 year old child
“They were very polite and welcoming and I felt very comfortable talking to both of them”
14 year old young Person

Meet our team.

Our team comprises a range of highly experienced professionals with NHS backgrounds in Community Paediatrics, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Learning Disabilities. Our professional expertise includes Clinical Psychologists, Specialist Speech and Language Therapists and Consultant Psychiatrists. We continue to work clinically within the NHS as well as privately as part of DAISY. 

Dr Richard Dearden

Dr Richard Dearden

Chartered Clinical Psychologist and Director of DAISY Psychology Services.

As a Clinical Psychologist, I am committed to working in partnership with others to develop a shared explanation for your experiences, thoughts and feelings. I have spent over 13 years studying the field of psychology and I am passionate about supporting families through the diagnostic process.

Joanne Hemingway

Joanne Hemingway

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist.

I’ve been qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist for 14 years and specialise in Early Years Complex Needs. This has involved working with a variety of paediatric case loads and I have training and certification in The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and More Than Words – The Hanen Programme.

Frances Roberts

Frances Roberts

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist.

I qualified with a Masters in Human Communication Sciences and have worked with people on the autistic spectrum in a variety of settings, including the NHS. I am passionate about ensuring the assessment is enjoyable for the young person and have undergone further training in the ADOS-2, More Than Words – The Hanen Programme, Social Thinking, Lego Therapy and Colourful Semantics.

Dr Mini Pillay

Consultant Psychiatrist.

I have worked as a psychiatrist for over 20 years. With a Degree in Medicine & Surgery, I am registered as a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. After training in various specialties, I pursued a career in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and have been working as a Consultant within CAMHS for 10 years with particular interest in learning disabilities. 

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Multi-coloured Collage of different parents, children and youth