Autism Assessment Service

Our short waiting list for Children and Young People Autism (ASD) Assessments is open for new enquiries and referrals.

What is Autism?

Autism Assessment

Autism is a different way of thinking. This means that autistic people have lots of strengths and positive qualities, but life can be challenging as their environment might not be a good fit.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a diagnostic term that is currently in use, and it is the official label used with the diagnostic classification system. You might have heard of other terms such as Asperger’s or high functioning autism, but these are now no longer used. The terminology is important, as autistic people can understandably feel uncomfortable with the suggested terminology and so often use other words such neurodivergent. There has been a drive from the autistic community to stop using phrases such as “a person with autism” and to replace this with autistic.

The notion of a spectrum describes a range of conditions (including Autism, Asperger's syndrome or High Functioning Autism (HFA) that affect a person's social interaction, social communication, social imagination / interests, and stereotypical or repetitive behaviours. The word ‘spectrum’ captures the fact that although there is a common core that defines the disorder or condition, there are many ways that Autism can affect an individual’s life. Some people are able to live relatively ‘normal’ lives; others will require a high level of supervision and support.

Autism and Girls

Autism in girls is less common – various studies show men/women ratios range from 2:1 to 16:1. However, recent research suggests that girls may be under-diagnosed as they present differently (Gould and Ashton-Smith 2011; Attwood, 2007). Girls are often much better at masking their autistic differences. The presentation is often more subtle than with boys. This can make parents worry that the challenges or a possible diagnosis won't be recognised by health and education professionals. Our thorough and robust assessments with our experienced, specialist clinicians will detect these differences.

More information and support can be obtained from the National Autistic Society.

Typical Traits

Autistic children or teenagers may display some of the following behaviours:

  • Excellent retention of facts and a very logical approach to the world;
  • Brilliant attention to detail;
  • Enhanced creativity, including of thought, and excellent imagination
  • The ability to hold very focused interests often for sustained periods;
  • A strong sense of right and wrong, social justice and a clear sense of "moral compass";
  • Having challenges using non-verbal behaviours to interact with others – for example, they may have difficulty with eye contact, facial expressions, body language and gestures;
  • They may lack awareness of, and interest in, other children. They may gravitate to older or younger children, rather than interacting with children of the same age. They may also appear isolated and prefer to play alone. Some children don’t demonstrate imaginative or pretend play, while others will continually repeat the same pretend play;
  • They can find it hard to interpret other people's emotions, often missing non-verbal clues, and may find it challenging to start conversations or take part in them in a socially appropriate way;
  • Some children may repeat words or phrases spoken by others either immediately or later (known as echolalia) without formulating their own language, or in parallel to developing their language. Some children will use ‘stock’ answers and find it difficult to make choices;
  • Some Autistic children like to stick to the same routine and little changes in routine may trigger distressed or challenging behaviour;
  • Some children may flap their hands or twist / flick their fingers when they’re excited or upset;
  • Others may engage in repetitive activity, such as turning light switches on and off, opening and closing doors, or lining things up;
  • They will often have cognitive, learning, emotional and behavioural differences;
  • Some children may have sensory sensitivities and difficulties, such as not being able to tolerate loud noises or seeking out tactile stimulations.

Our understanding is that there are a range of genetic and environmental factors involved in autism. The goal of intervention is to facilitate 2-way understanding between the autistic person and their environment. This enables us to improve communication between the autistic young person and both their environment and those that support them. In this way, we strive to support everyone to work much better together.

Assessment and Diagnosis

Wiltshire Psychology Service has now been offering a full and comprehensive Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessment for children and young people since 2017. The full assessment follows the ASD Clinical Guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The assessments are carried out by a multidisciplinary team and always include both a Clinical Psychologist and a Speech & Language Therapist. All professionals involved in the assessment have extensive experience and expertise in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Information is always sought from your child’s school or nursery as well as any professionals involved in your child’s care.

* Please note that we are currently unable to offer autism assessments to adults. *

Multi-disciplinary Autism Spectrum Diagnostic Assessment Package

Part 1

This is a consultation with a Specialist Clinical Psychologist to carry out an initial ASD screening assessment. This will last approximately 1.5 hrs and include taking a developmental history of your child and a discussion about your child’s behavioural, emotional and learning needs. You will also be asked to complete an ASD screening measure.

The Clinical Psychologist will discuss with you whether the full diagnostic ASD assessment is indicated. If no further assessment is warranted or indicated, then you will receive a written report, detailing the initial assessment and any recommendations or support options.

ASD Assessment

Part 2

The full assessment will involve two further appointments at Brinkworth House. The Clinical Psychologist will also liaise with your child’s school or nursery, and other relevant professionals to gather further information about your child’s needs.

At the second appointment (approximately 1.5 hrs):

  • The Clinical Psychologist will meet with you to go through detailed questions about your child’s social communication skills and their development;
  • The Speech and Language Therapist will carry out an assessment of your child’s social communication and interaction skills. This assessment is always carried out online. If this is difficult for your child, this will be creatively individualised to be best suit them.

At the third appointment (approximately 1.5 hrs):

  • The Clinical Psychologist will carry out an assessment of your child using the Autism Diagnostic Observational Schedule (ADOS-2);

Part 3

  • If deemed necessary, a further cognitive assessment may be offered at this point.

The Clinical Psychologist and Speech and Language Therapist will then meet to discuss their diagnostic findings with reference to all the available information received and an online feedback appointment will be arranged to verbally report the assessment findings and diagnostic conclusion to the family.

A full written report of the assessment will be produced approximately two weeks after the feedback appointment. The report will include a full explanation of the diagnostic decision and will include recommendations regarding support for your child or young person.

We often hear back from parents and carers who say that a further benefit of the assessment process is that it is beneficial in itself and is frequently therapeutic to their children and young people throughout, and long after, the assessment.

Follow-up Support

For children and young people with a diagnosis of autism, a follow-up appointment for further discussion about the conclusions of the assessment and the implications for the child or young person is available.


We can also provide follow-up therapy sessions to support both the family and the young person, regardless of the outcome of the assessment process.

Get in Touch

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like further information and details around the costings of an Autism Assessment.