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Eligibility Criteria and Selection Process

Who we see

The SDC provides specialist assessment and intervention for children and young people up to the age of 18 years where there is:

  • Uncertainty about the nature of social impairment particularly in the presence of additional difficulties such as underlying attachment disorder. Neurodevelopmental, genetic  or psychiatric disorders.
  • Second opinion about an ASD diagnosis
  • Consultation and advice on management of ASD or comorbidities

Assessment process

Families are invited to meet with the SDC team on Thursday mornings. The family are seen for parallel assessments by various members of the team. Siblings are also invited to engage in informal conversations if they wish (it is a feature of many families in this situation that the siblings have never had sufficient opportunity to discuss their understanding of the disorder and its impact on them).  We aim to conclude the assessment on the day but occasionally may request additional visits and/or  need school visits from the team.

Our team is trained in the use of a wide range of assessments instruments (including ones we have developed within the clinic). These include:

  • Family Developmental History Interview
  • Various symptom specific questionnaires
  • Structured interview for autism history
  • Clinical mental state examination
  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) examination
  • Manchester Child Attachment Story Task (MCAST) examination
  • Physical examination
  • Psychometric/Neuropsychological Assessments
  • Social Cognition Tasks
  • Social Understanding Interview
  • 3DI
  • ASDS
  • Speech and Language Assessment
  • Pragmatic LanguageAssessment
  • Sensory Profile
  • ABC2  Movement Assessment
  • COSA interview
  • Other specific OT assessments
  • Handwriting assessment
  • Parent questionnaires and specialist interviews
  • MIPO


The outcomes from the assessment process include:

  • Formulation and diagnosis including a detailed report for referrer, families and other professionals
  • Psychometric and social cognition assessment reports and recommendations
  • Occupational and speech therapy assessment including recommendations
  • Treatment recommendations including behavioural, educational and pharmacological
  • Periodic developmental reviews as appropriate
  • Intervention packages for some cases