Diagnostic assessments for Autism

Getting an autism diagnosis requires a detailed assessment.

At the moment there are long waiting lists for assessments.

People who are displaying signs of autism can get support whilst they are waiting for an assessment.

Find out about the local support available.

How autism is diagnosed

You can read the guidelines that professionals follow when they are carrying out a diagnostic assessment for autism on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) website:

Children under 5 years old

If a child is under 5 and showing signs of autism, a health or education professional (school or pre-school staff) should refer to the local Community Paediatrician in the first instance.

Professionals may refer directly to the Denbighshire Early years Neurodevelopment Team for consideration of diagnostic assessment, bearing in mind that the child needs to be under a community paediatrician for the referral to be considered.

Children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years old

The North Wales NHS Neurodevelopmental Service arrange or carry out children's diagnostic assessments.

Find out more about the NHS Wales Neurodevelopmental Service  

A school or GP can refer a child showing signs of autism to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). CAMHS screen the referral, and where appropriate, will forward on to the neurodevelopmental team for a referral decision.

Guidance when getting an assessment for children and young people

When asking for an assessment for a child or young person, it's important to think about how:

  • an autism diagnosis might affect the child or young person for whom you are responsible
  • a diagnosis of autism can help some children and their families to understand them better
  • a diagnosis can have an impact on a Childs’ sense of identity

Cerebra, a charity that help children and young people with brain conditions, have created a factsheet to provide information and useful resources to parents in Wales who suspect their child may have autism.

Cerebra: Autism assessments and diagnosis in Wales (external website)

Diagnostic assessments for adults

For adults in Denbighshire, the North Wales Integrated Autism Service (NWIAS) offers diagnostic assessments to most people aged 18 or over.

Find out how to get an Autism diagnostic assessment from NWIAS (external website)

NWIAS also provide:

  • Support to help autistic people to understand their diagnosis of autism.
  • Drop in sessions for autistic people, their families and professionals
  • Resources, advice and support to autistic people and their families, (including parent carers of autistic children).
  • Regular Understanding Autism courses for people recently diagnosed as autistic.

The Integrated Autism Service does not offer diagnostic assessments to people already supported by a learning disability team or a community mental health service. In these circumstances, the learning disability team or community mental health service should arrange a diagnostic assessment.