We recognise how supporting your child undergo an assessment for autism can involve a huge range of feelings and apprehensions. Families often tell us that they are trying to weigh up the pros and cons of an official diagnosis and while a diagnosis can result in improved educational support and a greater understanding of the challenges many autistic individuals face, there can be fears of being stigmatised and how effective a diagnosis might really be. Below is a list of questions that we are often asked when families are thinking about undertaking further assessment. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you would like to know more, or if would like to talk about the indications that might suggest an assessment could help.

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Is a private diagnosis recognised by the NHS, Education and local authorities?

As a professional team with NHS backgrounds, we can say with confidence that when a diagnosis of autism has been given privately, it is often accepted. In some cases, the assessment process may first be subject to further examination for quality. Providing the assessment adhere to guidelines outlined by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and refers to established diagnostic criteria, the diagnosis is accepted. The team at DAISY adheres to these guidelines and ensures the highest quality multi-disciplinary assessment.

What's the time frame for getting an assessment at DAISY?

Instead of waiting for years, with DAISY, you can have a professional diagnostic assessment complete within months. We aim to offer an initial screening appointment within one month of you making contact with us and should we agree to pursue an assessment, the process can begin within just a few weeks after our first appointment. Instead of waiting for years with DAISY you can have a professional diagnostic assessment complete within months.

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Will a diagnosis of autism help my child to gain extra support at school and education?

While current regulations state that all students must receive necessary support based on presenting needs, our experience is that the chances of receiving increased funding or assistance do tend to be higher following a diagnosis. A diagnosis of autism also confers rights under the Equality Act (2010) in respect of protection against disability discrimination within a range of contexts, including education. Regardless of whether a diagnosis is given or not, with your consent, we can send a copy of the full diagnostic report to school with relevant recommendations based on identified needs. We have found this can help a young person receive additional help and when required, aid the application process for an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP).

Does a diagnosis of autism affect future prospects and career choices?

When a diagnosis of autism is given, it remains permanently on a person’s medical record as a life-long condition. While there may be a range of pros and cons to disclosing a diagnosis to education and employers, this remains the decision of the individual and/or their family. There is no obligation to share such information. However, there are certain situations where a diagnosis would inhibit a person in pursuing specific career choices. Most recent regulations state you are unable to join the armed forces or police should you have received a diagnosis of autism.

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What happened to Asperger's Syndrome? Will you quantify the severity of a person's autism into high, moderate and low functioning?

Most recent diagnostic criteria have removed the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and suggests difficulties are best explained under a broad diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Condition. Although there are several reasons why this changed occurred, overall, it was felt this would allow greater inclusion of a range of presentations. While it is still possible to classify a diagnosis into high, moderate and low functioning, it may be more useful to outline a pattern of strengths and difficulties based on a person’s current presentation. This generally allows any support to focus and build upon the foundation of existing strengths. As demands on a person change over time, including complexity of relationships, transitioning schools and adolescence, the pattern of strengths and difficulties can also change accordingly. This can compromise the long-term usefulness of quantifying a classification.

What happens if my child does not receive a diagnosis of autism following their assessment?

There can be many reasons why a diagnosis of autism is not given after an assessment and we recognise how frustrating this can be for families, especially when it is very clear that the person has significant needs. As a team, we will always consider and discuss alternative explanations for a person’s difficulties and where possible, recommend further assessment and signposting. Regardless of whether a diagnosis is given or not, within the full assessment report we can outline a person’s identified needs and provide relevant advice and recommendations to assist with the involvement of relevant support, using our expertise in the fields of psychology, speech and language therapy and psychiatry.

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How do I know your team are safe and ethical practitioners?

The titles of Clinical Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist and Consultant Psychiatrist are protected and can only be used through registration with the Health and Care Professionals Council, Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and Royal College of Psychiatrists respectively. Ongoing registration ensures we adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards; allowing us to continue practicing safely and in accordance with latest developments in policy. In addition to this, Dr Dearden and Associates at DAISY Psychology Services, also have undergone full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.