Autism Assessment Process Pt2

We've had the parental interview & ADOS, SALT have been contacted & school observation is being done. As mentioned in part 1 there are 3 professionals on the multi disciplinary team (MDT). Our MDT consists of a specialist doctor, speech & language therapist and a clinical psychologist. One does the parent/carer questions, the other 2 do the ADOS.

The parent/carer interview & ADOS are undertaken at the same time in our area, although i'm sure they'd make exceptions. The SALT appointment is only made if they feel it is necessary. In our case our child has been attending speech therapy since the age of 3 (he's now 6) so they have contacted them for information. They have also sent a questionnaire to school which sounds quite similar to the one they used for my questions. They are going into school for a few hours this week to observe.

A family member came to the appointment with us. They went into the assessment with my child while i was answering the questions. Two members of the MDT were present, the speech therapist and clinical psychologist. They were in the room next door to me (he was shown this) and sounded like he was having fun! 
They asked questions about school, what food he likes, what he likes doing etc. I think they were assessing his general interaction along with his speech. They played with bubbles, offered snacks (which he obviously refused!) and played a few games. They were in there for an hour in total.

Parent/Carer Interview
The speciality doctor undertook my interview. It's a questionnaire and the answers are entered onto a computer. Some of the questions go back to birth and if you have your child's red book i would definitely take it along.

The more specific questions i can remember were:
  • First word, whether he babbled, if he would point to things he wanted, what his speech has been like growing up.
  • The age he first sat, crawled, stood, walked, if he climbed, ran around and jumped etc. Whether he was at all clumsy. I think this all relates to their gross motor skills.
  • Fine motor skills like holding food, pencils, picking things up.
  • Whether he was a healthy child in general.
  • Any sensory issues. He does have issues around noises, food and clothing.
  • Food. He eats very little, it is all a similar colour and there's not much variety. We think it's sensory.
  • Academic ability. This question probably only applies if your child is of school age.
  • Special interests and how much detail they go into, if they've become an obsession.
  • Whether any family members (going as far as cousins, great grandparents etc) have conditions including ASD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, mental health issues. They also asked if any had been school refusers or dropped out of education at an early age, struggled with employment & societal norms in general.
They asked questions about how he interacts with others, whether he has friends, how he plays, what his imagination is like and how he is at school. You are able to be very descriptive and discuss these things with them.

The doctor informed me that each professional writes a report on the part they undertook based on their speciality (SALT concentrate on his speech and interaction for example) and then combine them into one huge report. The person who visits school will also report on that and add it in.
I'm hoping the report we get is the full version although a condensed version may be given.

School Observation
The SENCO has informed me that they are visiting school for a few hours. They have sent a list of questions in advance which are similar to the more general questions they've asked me. Things like his academic ability, his social interaction, speech and friendships. Hopefully they are also going to speak to the teaching staff.

Our feedback appointment has come through for the end of the month. From what others are saying i'm undecided on the process in our area. A new provider took over before Christmas and things seem to be moving a lot quicker, but i'm uncertain as to how thorough they are. I'm not optimistic that he'll get a diagnosis but we can only go on their opinion.

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