Private assessment process

Our assessment process typically occurs over 3-5 sessions with each session lasting around 90 to 120 minutes. Please note that on some occasions, further clinical assessments may be necessary to fully understand the needs of an individual and reach a final decision. This could include a school observation, sensory assessment, or an assessment of cognition/thinking skills. We will always discuss this with you to ensure you remain fully informed and involved in the assessment process and you will always be able to share with us your concerns and/or hesitations. Usually, there are three stages to the assessment:

The first stage

This session is for your child, accompanied by key family members, to meet with Dr Richard Dearden.

Initial screening

In 90-120 minutes we will be able to explore your concerns, answer any questions you may have, and decide whether further assessment is recommended.

The second stage

This stage involves sessions with Dr Dearden and a Specialist Speech & Language Therapist for the assessment.

Assessment of ASC​

Typically involves two sessions, 90-120 minutes each. Then we gather all our staff as a multidisciplinary team for an in-depth discussion.

The third stage

The Third Session is for the family to meet again with Dr Richard Dearden for feedback and results.

Feedback appointment

The outcome of the ASC assessment will be discussed, and any questions answered, and a full (written) diagnostic report will be provided.

We specialise in providing multidisciplinary, neuro-developmental assessments for children and young people aged between 3-19 years. In particular, we are experts in Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC). If you are in need of answers, we are here to help.

Our methodologies adhere to the guidelines outlined by the National Autism Plan for Children (NAPC) and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). We refer to DSM-5 Criteria when deciding diagnosis as this allows both identification of a client’s strengths and challenges across contexts with exploration of alternative possible conditions.

First Stage: Initial screening appointment

The first stage is for your child accompanied by key family members to meet with Dr Richard Dearden and begin to feel comfortable in a new clinical environment. I will outline my professional responsibilities in relation to confidentiality and child protection. I may also ask for other clinical assessment and consent forms to be completed, including asking your permission to contact school. Copies of any relevant assessments conducted previously are also welcomed. During this initial appointment we will be able to explore your concerns, answer any questions you may have, and decide whether further assessment is recommended. 

This session can last up to 120 minutes depending on the needs of the individual or family. Although these meetings are often part of a complete multidisciplinary assessment, they are also offered routinely as one-off separate sessions, with no obligation to commit to the full assessment.

In order to help you make a fully informed decision about pursuing an assessment, our meeting is likely to cover the following:

  • Gaining an understanding of your child’s presenting difficulties.
  • Exploring your child’s development and early history (where possible).
  • Completing screening questionnaires that are recommended by current evidence.
  • Discussing the reasons for considering an assessment.
  • Explaining the assessment process.
  • Considering the advantages of disadvantages of pursuing an assessment and diagnosis.
  • Discussing the possible outcomes from an assessment.
Desk top view of two people filling in a questionnaire

At the end of this appointment, we can consider whether our team would advise further assessment for Autism Spectrum Condition. In cases where further assessment is not recommended, we can discuss the reasons for this with consideration of signposting to relevant agencies

Second Stage: Assessment of ASC

If together we feel further investigation is indicated, we will then offer further sessions for the formal assessment of ASC with Dr Richard Dearden and a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. To be as thorough as possible, we will collate data from a collection of assessments including:

  • A complete developmental assessment exploring indictors of autism in early life.
  • Parental/Carer assessment using the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) to explore an individual’s social interaction skills, communication skills, restricted patterns of behaviour/interests and sensory-related behaviours.
  • Formal observational assessment using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2).
  • School teacher assessment via completion of evidence-based questionnaires and qualitative report (with parental consent)

On completion of our assessment we will gather as a multidisciplinary team for in-depth discussion and diagnosis. This will include the expertise of our Clinical Psychologist, Consultant Psychiatrist and Speech and Language Therapist.

Third Stage: Feedback and Diagnostic Report

Two people sitting in a comfy area talking

The third stage is for the family to meet again with Dr Richard Dearden for a feedback appointment followed by a written diagnostic report. Here the outcome of the ASC assessment will be discussed and any further questions can be answered. A diagnostic report will be provided together with our professional recommendations based on your child’s identified needs. You may then wish to be discharged from our services and if alternative help is required, we will signpost to any post-diagnostic support where possible.

How much will a private assessment & diagnosis cost?

Fees are outlined in the table below and are inclusive of report writing, liaison with relevant professionals, scoring of various assessment measures and travel.

Note: Payments must be paid by bank transfer (BACS) more than 72 hours (3 days) prior to each appointment . You will not be charged for cancellations/postponements made up to 48 hours in advance. However, if you cancel with fewer than 48 hours notice there will be a full charge for the session.

Further information about costs and payments may be found through our Terms and Conditions.