Autism Diagnostic Service

This Specialist Children’s Services Team coordinate the assessment and support of referred children and young people who present with traits of autism.

You may be looking at this page because you are wondering if your child has autism, your child may have been referred for an autism assessment or they may have been recently diagnosed with autism.  This page aims to provide families and children with information that may be helpful, regardless of where you are on this journey.

The Autism Diagnostic Service Team

The Autism Diagnostic Service is a multidisciplinary team of professionals consisting of Paediatricians, Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists and Nursing staff. This Specialist Children’s Services Team coordinate the assessment and support of referred children and young people who present with traits of autism. The team will recommend appropriate local and national agencies that the families should engage with to empower them to best support their child going forward.

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that affects how a person interprets the world, processes information and interacts with others. People with autism are all affected in different ways and to varying degrees which is why autism is often referred to as a spectrum. People with autism share a set of core features that impact:

  • Their understanding and interpretation of social behaviour
  • Their understanding and use of verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Their ability to be flexible in their thinking and behaviour

 

You may find the following videos from the National Autistic Society helpful in explaining autism for yourself and/or to your child.

    

 

Scottish Autism have also developed an animated online resource.  This can be helpful in visually explaining the autism spectrum and how autism can impact people differently www.understandautism.org.

What to do if you are concerned your child may have autism

If you have concerns about your child/young person’s development and are querying autism, please discuss these concerns with your Health Visitor, GP or Education staff. Referrals to the team can only be accepted from a Healthcare professional, Educational Psychologist or school Headteacher, who have established referral procedures to follow.

 

What to do while waiting for an autism assessment

Please watch the video below from “Purple Ella” which offers advice, from her experience, on what you can be doing while waiting for an autism assessment. Please note that references to the education system in this video are specific to England, and may not reflect what happens in Scotland. For advice about education in Scotland please visit the Enquire website. Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning.

 

What to expect during an autism assessment

If you're a young person or the parent of a young person, watch this short film from Berkshire Healthcare to show you an example of how an autism assessment can be undertaken.  This video may not represent exactly how your child’s assessment will take place in Greater Glasgow & Clyde however the individual components of the assessment will be similar.  In this video the assessment and feedback all take place within the same day. This may happen for you and your child or the assessment may be completed in separate appointments over a period of a few weeks.

 

Autism Friendly Strategies and Resources

Regardless of whether your child has a diagnosis of autism or not these strategies and resources may be helpful for anyone who has some traits associated with autism.

National Autistic Society Helpline is open Monday to Friday (10am to 3pm).  It is free for landlines and mobiles and provides confidential information and advice for people on the autism spectrum and their families.

Scottish Autism Advice Line is open Tuesday to Friday (10am to 4pm) and provides emotional and practical support for individuals, families and professionals.

Falkirk Council Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Booklets

Falkirk Council Children with Disabilities Team have published a number of booklets providing lots of useful information on Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome and Teenagers with Asperger's Syndrome.

“My Autism and Me” BBC Newsround Special

In this Newsround Special, 13-year-old Rosie takes viewers into her world to explain what it's like to grow up with autism - a condition which affects how children see life, and the way they relate to others around them.

Autism Education Trust

Autism Education Trust - Kids Zone has information and videos for children on topics such as:

  • What is autism?
  • Bullying
  • My brother or sister has autism
  • My friend has autism - what does this mean?
  • Trusted adults
  • Special abilities
  • Speaking out

Too Much Information and Us | Processing Information

Rosie, Luis, Rose, and Chris discuss their experiences of needing extra time to process information and what you can do to help. 

Joining in with Sensory Differences

Children with autism often process everyday sensory information and experiences differently. Some children are more sensitive and others are less sensitive to sensory information that their brain receives.

See our Joining in with Sensory Differences page for more information on Sensory Development and Sensory Questionnaires that will provide you with individualised advice and guidance about how to help support your child/young person to cope with everyday sensory experiences.

 

Communication and Social Interaction

The characteristics of autism vary from one young person to another, but in order for a diagnosis to be made, a person will usually have core difficulties with communication and social interaction.

This guide may help you to communicate more effectively with a young person with traits of autism.

This article offers ideas on helping a young person with understanding emotions, conversation, play, and dealing with conflict. There are also suggestions of how you can help to reduce social stressors.

Visual Supports

Visual supports can help to provide structure and routine, encourage independence, build confidence, improve understanding, avoid frustration and anxiety, and provide opportunities to interact with others. They can make communication physical and consistent, rather than fleeting and inconsistent like spoken words can be. They include visual timetables, now & next sequences, visual schedules/ ‘jobstrips’, choosing boards and more. Click here to find out about the different types and uses of visual supports and where to find resources.

Social Stories

‘Social Stories’ were developed by Carol Gray, a former teacher who worked with students with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), in 1991 to improve the social skills of people with ASD. Social Stories model appropriate social interaction by describing a situation with relevant social cues, other people’s perspectives, and a suggested appropriate response. They are written in the first person, specifically for that individual and their personal situation. The approach has strict guidance but it is relatively easy to learn and straight forward to implement so anyone can use them, from families to teachers and therapists. Language needs to be modified and simplified depending on the language level of the user. Click here to find out more and see examples.

Autism West Midlands – downloadable and printable advice sheets

Autism West Midlands are the leading charity in the West Midlands for autistic people. They use their passion and expertise to enrich the lives of people on the autism spectrum and those who love and care for them. They have free downloadable information sheets containing practice advice and strategies for families, carers, teachers and other professionals. Click here to access the information resources.

Girls, Women and Autism

Since autism was first described, there have always been more boys diagnosed with the condition than girls - on average four times more. It is thought that women and girls are often under-diagnosed due to differences in the characteristics they show e.g. girls’ speech development is often not delayed, they can appear more sociable in the early years than boys with autism, and can have less visible repetitive behaviours. As a result girls are often diagnosed at a later age, and many girls are diagnosed with other conditions first before being diagnosed with autism e.g. anxiety.

There is an organisation called SWAN Scotland (Scottish Women's Autism Network) where you can access further information and support.

The following videos provide more information about females with Autism:

Women and Autism - by Josh Ward

Josh worked at the charity Fixers, with Jenny Brooks who features in this short film, and wanted to show that having Asperger’s syndrome is no reason to put limits on life. The 20-year-old from Leicester - who was diagnosed at the age of 13 - wants others with the condition to understand that they can still achieve great things.

Scottish Autism

An introductory video made by Scottish Autism discussing what research tells us about girls and women with autism.

Teenagers

 

Scottish Autism

Teen Programme

Our Teen programme is for parents with teenagers as we know this can be a particularly challenging time. Topics discussed include:

  • Developing skills for independent living
  • Supporting siblings
  • Talking about relationships

 

Supporting Transition from School to University

The Scottish Autism website has advice on Supporting Transition from School to University. Accessing higher education is a very real possibility for many young people on the autism spectrum, particularly those with Asperger’s Syndrome. This advice provides an overview of things to consider as part of the planning process.

 

Autism Alert Card

Scottish Autism has been working closely with public service professionals in the Strathclyde and Central Scotland areas to develop a greater understanding of autism which has led to the development of an Autism Alert card. This card enables those who carry it to identify themselves as having an autism spectrum disorder. The card highlights how the bearer may have difficulties in talking and listening and may show signs of unusual behaviour. It also includes a named contact who can offer their support to help police, ambulance, hospital and other key public service professionals better understand the individual’s autism needs. Click here for an information sheet on how to apply for an alert card.

 

Falkirk Council Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Booklets

Falkirk Council Children with Disabilities Team have published a number of booklets providing lots of useful information including Teenagers with Asperger's Syndrome.

 

 

Autism West Midlands – downloadable and printable advice sheets

Autism West Midlands are the leading charity in the West Midlands for autistic people. They use their passion and expertise to enrich the lives of people on the autism spectrum and those who love and care for them. They have free downloadable information sheets on topics such as managing stress and anxiety, dating and relationships, internet safety, entering the workplace and friendships. Click here to access the information resources.

 

The National Autistic Society 

A book recommended by the National Autistic Society - Autism: supporting your teenager.

 

 

 

 

Autism Education Trust

Autism Education Trust - The Den has information and videos for teenagers on topics such as:

  • Home law and money
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Friends and relationships
  • Work and study
  • Travel and free time

 

The Mix

The Mix is a UK based charity that provides free, confidential support for young people under 25 via online, social and mobile.

 

Partners In Advocacy

Partners in Advocacy provide independent advocacy to support people to have their voices heard, their opinions respected and to be involved in the important decisions that affect their lives. Independent advocacy is free and confidential – anyone can make a referral. Partners in Advocacy is independent of all other agencies, such as social work and NHS professionals.

 

HandsOn

HandsOn provides help and practical advice for supporting children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Local and National Post Diagnostic Supports

National Autistic Society

The National Autistic Society provides a number of resources for families and young people including:

  • After Diagnosis booklet produced by provides information for parents and carers of children on the autism spectrum. 
  • Autism Help line is open Monday to Friday (10am to 3pm).  It is free for landlines and mobiles and provides confidential information and advice for people on the autism spectrum and their families.

Scottish Autism

The Scottish Autism website is full of useful resources for parents and carers as well as young people on the autism spectrum.

  • What is autism? is an interactive postcard that explains the condition and provides information on the effects on people of different ages including a 5 year old boy and a 13 year old girl.
  • Right Click is an online training programme that parents can sign up to and complete in the comfort of their own homes.  There are various training modules and it runs over a 6 week period.  Parents can also access online support during the training programme.
  • Autism Advice Line is open Tuesday to Friday (10am to 4pm) and provides emotional and practical support for individuals, families and professionals.

Carers Centre 

Carers Centres may be jointly funded by Health, Social Work and in some cases charities. They provide information and advice on accessing services, support networks, emotional support, money matters, training for carers and information about respite. Please contact your local Carers Centre, pre- or post- diagnosis, to ask what they may be able to provide. Post diagnosis, Carers Centres are vital in supporting families to move forward on their journey living with autism.

Click the logo to access contact details for your local carers centre:

 

 

           

  See section Where Can I Find Local Supports?

Autism Resource Centre (ARC)

The Autism Resource Centre (ARC) offers a range of services for people with autism, their families, carers and professionals within Glasgow. This includes information and advice, training, one-to-one guidance, and services for adults with autism.

SIGN Guidelines Booklets

Autism - A booklet for parents, carers and families of children and young people with autism

This booklet is for parents, carers and families of children and young people up to the age of 18 who have already been diagnosed with autism or may be going through diagnosis.

 

 

Autism - A booklet for young people

This booklet is for young people of high-school age who may have autism or have already been diagnosed with autism.

 

 

These booklets are available in other formats including British Sign Language video and large print. The booklet for Parents / Carers is also available in Chinese, Polish, Arabic, Urdu translation. Click here to access other formats.

 

Enquire

Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning. They are an independent advice service offering support to parents, carers and professions on additional support for learning in Scotland.

ReachOut

ReachOut offers a mentoring programme to young people aged between 9 and 16 years to support academic attainment, confidence, behaviour difficulties and to offer a positive role model.

Dietary Advice

Eating for Children with Autism - Dietary Advice for Families developed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Paediatric and CAMHS Dietetic Services

This leaflet is for parents and carers of children with Autism to help them encourage their child to eat a range of foods that will keep them healthy.

Money Advice

Healthier Wealthier Children

Healthier, Wealthier Children (HWC) aims to contribute to reducing child poverty by helping families with money worries. The project is working closely with antenatal and community child health services to target pregnant women and families with young children experiencing, or at risk of, child poverty, as costs increase and employment patterns change around the birth of a child.

Click here for your local area contacts.

 

Turn2Us

Turn2us is a national charity helping people when times get tough. We provide financial support to help people get back on track.

Use the free and easy-to-use Benefits Calculator and Grants Search tools to check what benefits you might be able to claim and what grants you might be able to apply for.

 

For further advice visit your local Carers Centre (information above) or your local Citizens Advice.

Recommended Reading

Recommended books about feelings for children

Telling a person about their autism - Advice from Autism West Midlands

Books and resources - The National Autistic Society

COVID-19 Resources

 

CAMHS Grampian

Managing your mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak is tricky. The Early Intervention Team have created resources for children, teens and parents. Click here to access the packs.

 

 

National Autistic Society

We are here for you. Here’s the latest guidance on coronavirus and useful information.