What are neurodevelopmental disorders?
Neurodevelopmental disorders are conditions that affect the way the brain functions. These impairments may be mild and allow a person to live a fairly normal life. In other cases, they may be more severe and require lifelong support.
These disorders include: intellectual disability, autism spectrum condition (ASC), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), motor disorders and specific learning disorder.
Signs your child may benefit from a neurodevelopmental assessment
- Social interaction and communication difficulties – difficulties maintaining eye contact, initiating or maintaining conversation, understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings and their own role in relationships
- Learning difficulties – struggling to understand and follow instructions, difficulties spelling and reading, language deficits such as the repetitive use of words or phrases
- Struggling to concentrate – difficulties focusing and/or sitting still, easily distracted, difficulties properly planning, prioritising and focusing on a task
- Impulse control difficulties – whole body movements such as spinning around, walking on toes, walking in circles and/or finger or hand mannerisms such as hand flapping
- Hypo and hyper reactivity to sensory stimuli – difficulties tolerating sounds, fascination or sensitivity over certain smells and textures
If you suspect your child might be struggling with any of the above difficulties, it’s important to take action and carry out a comprehensive psychological assessment early on
Due to the complexity of neurodevelopmental disorders, children and young people will often experience other emotional difficulties like low mood and anxiety.
This is why a holistic approach is so important – to distinguish between neurodevelopmental disorders and other psychological disorders (such as attachment disorder, OCD and social anxiety). A psychologist will be able to make this distinction – and also evaluate any comorbidities – so that a treatment plan is created that supports your child’s unique strengths and weaknesses.
Autism spectrum disorder in children - assessment process
Once you reach out to us, we will send both you and your child’s school screening questionnaires for you to fill out. We will also collect any other reports that are available as we focus on trying to understand the history of your child’s difficulties.
From here, we will establish whether we believe it could be beneficial to carry out a comprehensive autism spectrum disorder assessment.
The comprehensive assessment will include:
- A two hour session where we carry out a structured observation assessment such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2)
- A two hour session where we gather developmental history using diagnostic tools such as the 3di or Adi-r
- A one hour feedback session to discuss the conclusion of the assessment and to offer brief post-diagnostic support if a diagnosis is given
Following a full assessment, we will then write a comprehensive report outlining our conclusions as well providing you with recommendations for support moving forward
ADHD assessment for children
The stages are typically as follows:
- The screening stage where we invite you to complete three online questionnaires, called Conners
- If deemed necessary following the screening, our clinician will then conduct a 90-minute assessment where they will collect developmental history
- Finally, a report will be provided where we will outline our conclusions as well providing you with any recommendations for support moving forward.
If you suspect your child has symptoms of neurodiversity and you’re not sure whether they need an ASC or an ADHD assessment, we can offer them a combined assessment. Your child’s clinician will usually start by carrying out one assessment while trying to determine if the other is needed. At this point, another clinician will be brought into the process to carry out any additional psychometric questionnaires and interviews to help determine whether your child meets the criteria for ADHD and/or ASD.
Frequently asked questions
What is the process for booking a neurodevelopmental assessment in your clinic?
When you contact the clinic, you will speak to our clinical triage team. If you suspect that you might be struggling with some form of neurodiversity, they will try to assess whether you need an ADHD or ASC assessment.
Following your appointment, you will see one of our specialists in this area who will determine whether you meet the criteria for these diagnoses using a range of specialist tools and clinical interviews.
I’m unsure about whether I need an ADHD or an ASD assessment - what should I do?
When you reach out to us, we will ask a series of questions to help determine whether it’s best to start with one of these assessments. However, it is relatively common for people to suspect that they might be struggling with both ADHD and ASC. If this is the case for you, we would recommend that you have our combined ADHD and ASC assessment which will explore whether you meet the diagnostic criteria for both conditions.
If I meet the criteria for ASC and/or ADHD - will there be any follow up treatment in your clinic?
Aside from your follow up appointment where we will discuss your diagnosis in detail with you, we also offer a range of psychological therapies and groups which are geared towards helping people manage ADHD and ASC.
If you have ADHD, there will also be the option of medication which will be discussed with you at your follow up appointment.