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Autism assessments for young children

Autism assessments for young children

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Autism assessments for young children

Health and Social Care is hoping to appoint a Community Paediatrician early next year, in the next step towards creating a fit-for-purpose autism assessment pathway in Guernsey during 2021.

The Committee has prioritised its budget to enable the appointment of the key role, and it is hoped it will make it easier for young children in the Bailiwick to be appropriately assessed.

The framework provides the States of Guernsey with a pathway to develop the services available to Autistic islanders in consultation with service users, carers and the third sector.

There are an estimated 1,000 islanders who are on the spectrum, and the framework aims to address the "significant gaps" in the services available to them.

"HSC is mindful of the very real and practical challenges that islanders with Autism and their families face, and is committed to delivering the Autism Framework," said a spokesperson for HSC. 

"There are challenges, not least associated with the recruitment and retention of staff in what is a specialism experiencing shortages nationally, but we are working hard to address these wherever possible, and ensuring that individuals can access the support they need irrespective of whether they have a diagnosis."

Les Vieux Jardin

Pictured: the ten-year Autism Framework, launched in 2016, resulted in Le Vieux Jardin, a collaboration with the Guernsey Housing Association that created purpose-built accommodation for Autistic adults, the first of its kind on the island.

The States of Guernsey has issued the following advice with regards to Autism assessments:

"For children under five years, your GP or Health Visitor may refer your child to the Child Development Centre, who will assess your child through a multi-agency panel so that your child’s assessment is thorough, and the team gets the right information they need.

For children over five years, a referral is made to the Autistic Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team, either by your GP, speech and language therapist, or school educational psychologist. Waiting times can be lengthy, but the team will keep you informed.

For young people in Secondary Education, assessments will be made by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) when appropriate, if the child has an existing mental health problem and is already being seen in the CAHMS service.

Adults can receive a dual diagnosis for autism and a learning difficulty through a referral for assessment, usually made by your GP to the Adult Disability Service for an assessment. There is currently no local diagnostic route."

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