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Autism Diagnostic Pathway

Autistic Spectrum Disorder – Assessment

The Sunflower Clinic is now offering an assessment service for children with suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This assessment process is based on international best practice using autism-specific tests as part of a multi-disciplinary assessment.  The diagnostic pathway is designed so that the complete assessment is only carrired out if the results of the initial screening tool (ADOS-2) indicated a possible ASD result.  However, if the screening tool does not indicated ASD, then there is usually no need to complete the full assessment. The diagnostic is clinically recognised and accepted by the relevant bodies in Ireland.

Step 1:  

A screening assessment is carried out using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). This is completed by two clinicians (trained in its administration) directing and observing a one-to one play-session with the child.

 If the results of the ADOS-2 indicate that the child does not meet the criteria for ASD, further referrals will be made at this point as deemed appropriate.

 If the results of this assessment indicate possible ASD, then the parents are advised to complete the diagnosis process as follows.

Step 2:

A structured interview is conducted by a senior clinician with the parents, using an appropriate Autism -specific tool, i.e.  ADI-R (Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised) or a SPI (Structured Parent Interview).

Step 3:

If the team think it is necessary or appropriate, the child may be observed in a natural environment e.g. pre-school/school or at home by a clinician.

Step 4:

All of the above** are then combined into a structured multi-disciplinary report and if results indicate, a diagnosis of ASD will be given by the team.

A feedback session is then held with the parents to read through the report, which will also contain specific therapeutic recommendations, which may involve referral on to further therapists.  If appropriate, educational supports will be discussed that need to be put in place to assist your child in accessing the education curriculum.

**Additional Step May be required

Please note that in certain circumstances, an additional psychological assessment may be required to complete the diagnosis of ASD or to satisfy certain entry criteria for special needs schools or ASD units.  This will be discussed with the parents on a case-by-case basis and an additional charge may apply.