‘’What is Autism? ‘’





Autism Spectrum Disorder

If you are concerned that your child or teenager may have an Autism Spectrum condition (ASC) and are interested in having an assessment, here at Questa we are able to help. We have a multi-disciplinary team, who are experts in assessing autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions.   Autism can present differently in boys and girls, we recognise this and work with both sexes. We offer valuable advice and guidance tailored to the needs of your child as well as signposting you to services that may be able to meet your ongoing needs following the assessment.  

What IS Autism?

Man Fishing
Autism spectrum condition (ASC) is the name for a range of conditions, including Asperger Syndrome that affect a person’s social communication, interaction, interests and behaviour.  In children with an ASC, the symptoms are present before the age of three years, although a diagnosis is often made later than this. Autism is a lifelong condition. 

Does my child have autism?

You may be wondering if your child has an autism spectrum condition because you or others have noticed that your child has what seem like autistic traits and/or needs additional support around their social-communication difficulties.  You may be wondering if your child is autistic because you have read something about autism, seen a programme on TV or looked it up on the internet and think that it describes some of your child’s behaviours and experiences. 

Will my child's school or college accept the outcome of an assessment conducted in the private sector?

Many parents and carers may worry or may have heard that the assessment findings will not be accepted by their child's school or college because the assessment has not been conducted by clinicians working in the NHS. The issue is not whether your child has been assessed within the NHS or the private sector, but whether the assessment has been carried out by suitably trained, qualified and experienced clinicians and has followed NICE guidelines. 

What are the benefits of a diagnosis?  

  • It may help your family and those teaching and caring for your child to understand what he or she finds difficult and why.  

  • They may have been wrongly diagnosed with another condition or mental health problem and getting the right diagnosis means accessing the right help or helping others understand their needs

  • It may also help you to access appropriate services and benefits.  

This is what is involved in giving a diagnosis:

Initial screening: 

This is organised with a member of our team and is your opportunity to discuss the experiences in your child’s life and the behaviours that you think may be associated with autism. We will ask you and the child's school to complete screening questionnaires to help with this initial part of the assessment. 


It is important to remember that not all assessments result in a diagnosis of autism. In order to diagnose autism, it is important to rule out other potential explanations for the behavioural differences of concern. This is because the behavioural features of autism can sometimes share similarities with other conditions or mental health problems.


If there is sufficient evidence to justify going on to the full diagnostic assessment, the stages are as follows:


Formal Diagnostic Assessment; Detailed developmental history. 

A nationally recommended diagnostic instrument, such as the ADI-R, will be used. The assessment covers both current and historical information across the different settings of home, school, and other environments that may be relevant. You will receive some questionnaires for you and school to complete. 


Structured Observation 


A structured observation using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule -2 (ADOS-2) is also conducted with a different member of the team to offer further objective direct assessment. 


Multi-disciplinary team review and report 


The multi-disciplinary team then reviews the information, decides on the diagnosis and produces a report. 


Outcome feedback session 


It is important that the outcome of the assessment and report are shared with you and any significant others you wish to attend in an outcome feedback session. 


Post-assessment sessions:


If the assessment outcome was a diagnosis of autism, we also offer additional further post-assessment sessions to offer support, guidance and advice to address any on-going needs you may have. 

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