This information has been provided from the Autism Hub, Bristol’s central assessment centre for autism. Click here to learn more about the Autism Hub.
The Bristol Autism Hub is a new service designed to provide more efficient service for assessing children for autism in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
Following is the process you can expect to go through when your child has been referred for an assessment for autism by their school or GP.
Someone from your child’s school (perhaps their teacher or the school SENCO) or your GP writes to the Autism Hub to ask for an assessment for your child.
2. Referral evaluation
The Autism Hub evaluates all of the information sent about the child and decides whether or not an assessment is appropriate. If they agree, they will send you a confirmation letter that your referral has been successful.
3. Phone consultation
The Autism Hub will speak to you on the phone about your child, to work out what they need to do for the assessment. Please be aware it may be several months between the referral being accepted and this phone call taking place.
4. The assessment
Some assessments can be done in one day and some take more time. You may come to the Autism Hub with your child for the assessment. Sometimes, assessments take place at home or at school, or a combination of these locations. The Hub team will ask you about your child’s life from pregnancy to the present day. If your child is able to speak, they will talk to them and/or play with them as part of the assessment in order to learn more about them.
Preparing for assessment
The best way to prepare for this conversation is to write things down ahead of time. Write down everything you remember about the pregnancy and birth, early years, when you first started to notice your child was different, and what challenges they are facing now. The time it takes between the referral being accepted and the actual assessment is a great time to be writing these things down.
5. Feedback meeting
After the assessment, the team will review all of the information they have about your child. They will arrange a feedback meeting which may be on the same day, while you are still at the Hub, or shortly after this. During the feedback meeting, the team will tell you whether or not they will diagnose your child with autism. You and your child (if appropriate) will have the opportunity to ask questions during this meeting.
6. Next steps
The team will suggest things that may help you. They’ll provide resources and information about local and national support that you can access. Again, you can always ask questions.