Frequently asked questions

We’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions that people have both before and after their autism diagnosis. If you have further questions, please get in touch to speak with one of our clinicians.

What is meant by a multi-disciplinary assessment?
A multi-disciplinary assessment involves clinicians from different disciplines inputting into the assessment process and decisions regarding the outcome. We have clinical psychologists, mental health and neurodevelopmental specialist nurses and a speech and language therapist. Although not every clinician will see your child, we hold a panel review to agree outcomes regarding diagnostic assessments, which will include clinicians from more than one discipline. This ensures a robust process. We may also liaise with professionals outside of our clinic, with consent, such as Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, Occupational Therapists and Educational Psychologists.
What are the NICE Guidelines?

NICE guidelines (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) are evidence-based recommendations for health and care in England. They set out the care and services suitable for most people with a specific condition or need, and people in particular circumstances or settings. Assessments for neurodevelopmental conditions should follow the guidance set out by NICE, which can be found at

What is an ADOS assessment?

The ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) is a semi-structured, standardised assessment of communication, social interaction, and play or imaginative use of materials for individuals who have been referred because of possible autism. It is conducted by one of the clinicians in our clinic, following the initial assessment and only if indicated from the screening and developmental assessment interview.

The ADOS is scored and a report completed, which is sent to the clinician who conducted the initial assessment. The panel then review the ADOS, alongside all of the other assessment information, to assist in decision making regarding diagnosis. The ADOS is not used in isolation to diagnose autism.

Do you include OT, Educational Psychology or Speech and Language Assessments as part of your process?
Educational psychology, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language assessments are not required in order to assess and diagnose autism and/ or ADHD, but some clinics include these as standard. We do not, as we try to keep our assessments affordable and in line with the processes used by our neighbouring CAMHS clinics. If, during an assessment, we pick up concerns that we feel require further specialist assessment from one of these disciplines, we will discuss and signpost you to colleagues in the relevant specialism.
Will your assessment be accepted by local authorities, CAMHS and schools?
This is a question we are regularly asked when it comes to child and adolescent assessments as parents are often understandably keen to ensure that an assessment they pay for privately will be recognised and used to access further support where necessary.

There is no legal basis upon which an assessment can be rejected simply because it was conducted privately, as long as it was conducted in accordance with the NICE guidelines and by suitably trained and experienced practitioners. All psychologists at Berkshire Psychology are registered with a regulatory body (Health and Care Professions Council, HCPC) to ensure that we continue to adhere to high standards of professional practice. Our mental health nurses are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and our Speech and Language is registered with the HCPC and Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT). We all currently, or have previously, worked within the NHS, in child and adult services.

For families applying for Education and Healthcare Plans (EHCP’s) for their children, the question of whether a diagnosis will be accepted is often particularly pertinent. Local Authorities are required to consider advice from healthcare professionals when conducting EHCP assessments and can be considered in breach of the code of practice should this advice not be considered (Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice, 2015). We have worked with our neighbouring Local Authorities for a number of years, but for those travelling to us from further afield we may not be known. It may assist for you to share our information sheet regarding the assessments with the Local Authority so they can be reassured that our process meets the required standards.

It is important to note that our remit is to conduct neurodevelopmental assessments and to clarify whether a child meets the criteria for a diagnosis of one or more neurodevelopmental conditions. The report will include all of the information considered in making decisions regarding diagnostic thresholds. We do not usually provide specific advice regarding what support a child will need in school, or which specific educational setting should be able to meet their needs, to inform the EHCP. If specific advice in this regard is required, the assistance of an Educational Psychologist should be sought.

We are more than happy to liaise with Local Authorities regarding our assessments. Please direct any queries directly to Dr Jenny Murray.

Do we have to commit to and pay for a full assessment up front?
No, we offer a robust screening service during which we collect detailed information from you (initial assessment interview) and others (schools, employers, family members where appropriate). Screening measures are also considered before we proceed to the full assessment. If we do not feel there is likely to be enough evidence for a diagnosis, we will discuss this with you and make recommendations. See the fees section for details of the initial screening fee.
Why do you screen for autism and ADHD even if we have only requested an assessment for one condition?
Symptoms of Autism and ADHD often overlap and co-occur. Unless you / your child already has a diagnosis of one condition, screening for both ensures we do not miss anything and you only have one assessment process to go through.
Do I need a GP referral?
No, we accept referrals directly from individuals and sometimes third parties such as schools and employers.
How do I pay for the assessment?
Payment is required in advance of the initial appointment via bank transfer. We currently do not accept insurance payments. We can provide an invoice receipt for clients to claim back from insurance providers, but our payments are usually taken directly from clients. We do not accept cheque or credit card payments. You will be sent an invoice with payment instructions.
Do you offer family discount?

Yes, we offer a 10% discount for families or individuals being assessed from the same family.

Do you assess and diagnose PDA?

Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) not a recognised diagnosis in its own right, so cannot be formally diagnosed due to it not appearing in any of the diagnostic manuals that diagnostic clinicians are required to follow. It is considered a behaviour profile in Autism, characteristic of avoidance of everyday demands and expectations, to an extreme extent.

While we cannot assess and diagnose PDA in its own right, if our assessment identifies extreme demand avoidance as a behaviour profile, we will refer to it and signpost to more information and resources parents and carers (

What our clients think

Our son was so anxious in using teams, we were able to provide the Practice Manager with our sons interests that were passed onto the Doctor prior to the appointment. This provided a smoother transition in the experience