Waiting for assessment

Our team supports young people and their families who have been referred for neurodevelopmental assessment.

This means that we explore how a young person’s brain works: how they learn, their strengths and challenges, needs and how they experience the world.

In our service, we mostly focus on autism assessments. Autism is a brain functioning style or ‘neurotype’ which is a natural part of neurological variation. It includes a diverse range of experiences, strengths and challenges. Autistic people have distinct ways of communicating, processing information and experiencing the senses. Autism is an important part of someone’s identity, and autistic ways of being offer valuable insights and perspectives to society.

Being autistic influences how someone:

  • thinks
  • communicates
  • moves their body
  • interacts with others
  • processes the sensory world

Autistic people may have differences in their:

  • social communication
  • interaction style
  • attitude to routine and sameness
  • sensory experiences

We live in a neurodiverse world. This means there are lots of different brain functioning styles or neurotypes. Being autistic is a form of neurodivergence. This means autistic people experience the world in a vastly different way from the neuromajority. The neuromajority is the most common brain type.

Some elements of being autistic can be challenging. This may include sensory overwhelm or difficulty regulating emotions. However, there are also many strengths that autistic people may share.

Common strengths for autistic people include:

  • Deep and passionate interests
  • Knowledgeable and observant
  • Truthful and trustworthy
  • A strong sense of fairness and justice
  • Ability to hyper-focus
  • Deep and strong feelings
  • Thriving on routine and consistency
  • Enjoying movement and other sensory experiences
  • Communicating in a way that is comfortable for them

Common difficulties for autistic people include:

  • Finding friends they can connect with
  • Knowing what to do when things change or are unpredictable
  • Senses get overwhelmed
  • Focusing on things they are not interested in
  • Expressing their needs and feelings in a way that others understand
  • Knowing whether their friends are joking or not
  • Hard for them to notice when they are annoyed, sad or hungry
  • Body may react quickly before they have decided about what they want to do
  • Making eye-contact or doing small talk

There are common characteristics which allow us to identify autism. However, every autistic person is different. The autism spectrum is not linear from high to low. It varies in every way that one person might vary from another.

What to do while waiting for assessment

Waiting for a neurodevelopmental assessment can be a challenging time. Parents and caregivers want to support their children to understand themselves, and to access support so that they can grow and thrive. While assessments and potential diagnoses may be an important part of your journey, we hope that these resources can empower you to understand and support your child before, during and after assessment.

Please follow this link for our waiting list booklet for comprehensive information on:

  • our referral pathways
  • what to do while you are waiting for an assessment
  • how to prepare for assessment
  • wellbeing and emotional regulation tools
  • local organisations that can support you