How do I get a diagnosis?
It can be a very stressful, frustrating and difficult time when you feel your child has a more complex need such as autism, ADHD, or is suffering from a mental health difficulty. You know that something is wrong and want your child to get the support they need.
The process of diagnosing a physical issue such as asthma or diabetes is very clear. The process for diagnosing neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and ADHD, or a mental health issues is much more complex and can feel like no-one is helping.
No-one in school can make a diagnosis, but we can help to identify the symptoms as they appear in school. We use strategies which help to minimise the impact of a symptom where it is affecting a child's ability to access their education or their wellbeing in school and we will not wait for a diagnosis before supporting them in school. Often, a diagnosis does not change the support a child gets in school.
Where a child has social or emotional difficulties that are severely affecting his or her education, school will discuss with you additional support that can be available through our Cluster Services.
Where you feel your child has a neurological, developmental or mental health disorder, your GP is the best person to help you access the route to a diagnosis and support for you and your child outside of school. For many suspected developmental, emotional or behavioural disorders, the GP may refer your child to a group called MindMate SPA. This group of professionals includes mental health specialists, social and emotional specialists, behavioural specialists, family support specialists and heath specialists who will consider all the available information and use their combined expert view to agree the most appropriate course of action.
Often, MindMate SPA will refer your child to Cluster for therapeutic, family or other support. Sometimes, your child may be referred to the Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) who will typically make an initial assessment before identifying the next step, which could be returning to Cluster for support, specialist assessment for ASD, ADHD etc. or discharging. Demand for CAMHS is very high, and waiting times for the initial assessment are long.