Find out about the help and support available for children and young people aged 0 to 18 with special educational needs and/or a disability (SEND) and their families here.
Our children’s services section has information about the range of health services we provide for children and young people.
Getting an autism diagnosis
If you think your child might have signs of autism the next step is to talk to someone about it.
You could speak to a GP, health visitor (for children under 5) and any other health professional you or your child see, such as a doctor or therapist, special educational needs (SENCO) staff at your child’s school.
Ask them if they think it’s a good idea to refer you for an autism assessment.
An assessment is done by autism specialists. This may be a nurse, clinical psychologist or consultant psychiatrist.
In Northumberland and North Tyneside, there are four autism diagnostic services, depending on the age of the child or young person. Find out how we diagnose autism and what to expect if your child is diagnosed with autism here.
- Under 4s
Diagnosis is carried out over three stages for children aged between 2 years and six months and 4 years and 10months. Each stage may take one or more appointments depending on your child’s needs. We need to rule out any other health or development issues before considering a full assessment for autism.
Stage 1 is assessment by a paediatrician although they might include information from other professionals involved in your child’s care.
Stage 2 involves a speech and language assessment at home and in one other setting.
Stage 3 is a meeting to discuss findings and confirmation if your child is diagnosed with autism.
There will be help and support in early year’s settings and into school depending on what your child’s needs are, which will be discussed with you and you will be given an information pack with local and national support services. You will be offered to take part in an early bird parent programme with lots of advice on how to support your child’s development.
Click here for ASD diagnostic pathway for pre-school children living in Northumberland and North Tyneside
- 4-18 years old
If your child is aged 4 to 18 years and lives in North Tyneside our autism spectrum disorder assessment pathway teams will do the assessment. You will be assessed by our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) or our Community Learning Disability Team if your child has already been diagnosed with a learning disability. This might be a nurse or clinical psychologist who will meet with you to explain the process and begin the assessment.
Information from other people involved in your child’s care including speech and language therapists, paediatricians, occupational therapists, or educational psychologists will be considered. Then they will arrange at least two observations in school/college before the final assessment.
Our autism spectrum disorder assessment pathway team will meet with you to discuss the findings and how this information should be shared, such as with your GP, school or agencies who support your child.
You will be given an information pack with local and national support services and there will be help and support in your child’s school or college depending on what your child’s needs are, which will be discussed with you.
You will be offered to take part in the cygnet parent programme run by North Tyneside Council’s language and communication team with help from our community learning disability and speech and language teams, with lots of advice on how to support your child’s development.
Children with a diagnosed learning disability and autism can get additional support from our community learning disability team to help with a range of health needs including psychiatry, psychology and mental health and wellbeing.
Click here for ASD diagnostic pathway for children 4years and older.
Click here for ASD diagnostic pathway for children 4 years and older with a learning disability diagnosis.
For children aged 4 and over living in Northumberland autism assessments are carried out by Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s children and young people service
If you have any further questions about the autism assessment please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to discuss this with you:
For preschool assessments contact our community paediatricians
Useful documents and websites
National autistic society– information and resources about autism
NHS Choices – information on symptoms, autism, diagnosis and treatment
Ambitious about autism – The national charity for children and young people with autism
Early Bird Parent Programme-under 5s support programme for parents and carers of children with autism
Cygnet Parent Programme– parent and carer support programme for children aged 7-18 with autism
Stomp and Stamp family leaflet – a leaflet for families of children and young people with a learning disability, autism or both who may be prescribed (or are prescribed) psychotropic medication
Local Offer SEND support and services
For information about other services and support for children and young people with SEND and their families, such as things to do and advice and guidance on education, social care, leisure and transport you can visit the ‘Local Offer’ page for your area.
Please click here for Northumberland’s local offer.
Please click here for North Tyneside’s local offer.