Autism Assessment Panel

Autism Assessment Panel

What is Autism?
Autism is a spectrum disorder impacting 2.8 million people in the UK, including 1 in 68 children. Autism is a lifelong developmental Disability that impacts how an individual communicates and interacts with others and how they experience their surroundings. Every autistic child is different with their strengths and needs, this indicates the different level of support and intervention needed. Autistic children and young people may have difficulty with attention, difficulty focusing and and moving between activities (particularly ones they really like). These difficulties may impact a child’s ability to engage in classroom learning, share their ideas and thoughts and make and keep friendships. As children get older they may find it difficult to understand why they think and process the world differently to their friends. Despite some parents becoming concerned about their child’s development and behaviour as young as 16 months old, many children with autism do not receive a diagnosis until they are 3½ years or older.

Children with autism may have difficulties with:

  • Problems making eye contact with others
  • Has problems making friends or interacting with other children
  • Appear to be insensitive
  • Seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
  • Not seek comfort from other people
  • Does not communicate well with others
  • Starts speaking at a later age than other children or doesn’t speak at all
  • When the child is able to speak, doesn’t use speech in social settings
  • Repeats words or phrases (echolalia) or repeats parts of dialogue from TV or movies
  • Taking things literally and not understanding abstract concepts
  • Needing extra time to process information or answer questions
  • Does repeated movements, such as rocking or flapping fingers or hands
  • May experience over or under-sensitivity to touch, sound, colours, pain, temperatures or light – Many children will avoid situations such as going to school due to their sensitivity issues that can cause them to be overwhelmed and cause sensory overload
  • May have preferred interests such as favourite books/films or certain topics. This can impact their interactions with others as they will be overly focused on their preferred interests/topics of conversation.
  • Have difficulty with attention. They may have difficulty focusing and paying attention and moving between activities (particularly ones they really like).
  • Difficulties managing changes in routine particularly those that are unexpected

If your child has a diagnosis of autism, accurate and early intervention is key to getting them the support that they need. It is important to identify and tailor support strategies to meet your child’s needs. What may work for one child, may not be for another.

Autism Assessment Panel

Our Autism Assessment Panel works with individuals who have a range of difficulties which are impacting their language and communication and/or social interaction. This type of assessment is appropriate for children and young people where a diagnosis such as autism or social communication difficulties is being considered. In order to fully assess individuals with complex communication needs, our Multidisciplinary team consists of multiple healthcare professionals and complies with the NICE (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence) guidelines to provide diagnosis and appropriate follow-up treatment options as required.

Triage Service

If you are unsure as to whether autism could be a concern for one of your students or you have a number of students you are concerned about, our triage service could be the ideal first step. Costing just £50, this service consists of questionnaires to be completed by yourselves and parents/carers which are then reviewed by our Specialist Speech and Language Therapist. We can then advise on whether we feel a screening or full autism assessment is recommended. Alternatively we may suggest other, more appropriate support/assessment services.

If you already have students in your setting with an autism diagnosis, we also offer a range of post-diagnosis support packages, supporting children and young people to fully understand their diagnosis, explore useful strategies and develop their communication skills.

If you feel your child could benefit from a detailed Autism Assessment Panel, please
contact us!


The Panel

Our Autism Assessment Specialist panel are experts in diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children and young people. Experts at what they do, to provide the accurate diagnosis and appropriate follow-up treatment as required that will support your child.


Dr Sharon Lourd-Moyo

BSc (Hons), PGCE, MSc, CPsychol, Ed.D, AFBPsS,

Educational Psychologist

Relevant Experience

I qualified as an Educational Psychologist in 1996. In line with the then requirements for entry into the profession of Educational Psychology, I taught for at least 2 years.

I have worked as an Educational Psychologist for 24 years in local authorities with children and young people from 0-25 years, experiencing a range of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities including children and young people with communication difficulties. For example, children and young people with delayed language skills or more complex social communication needs, related to autism.

In addition to possessing experience in a generic capacity, I have also had specialist responsibilities working with and on behalf of young people who are Profoundly Deaf and young people with Autism, their parents, teachers and setting staff in mainstream and special schools.

Consultation, multi-agency liaison and training have formed a significant part of my work. Work involvement has been at the individual, group and systemic level. I have previously worked with colleagues within multi-disciplinary autism panels across Leeds.

Why I am passionate about being involved

I am passionate about being involved in the ChatterBug autism assessment panel because I have always had a special interest in autism. I truly believe that young people, individuals with autism should not only be supported to embrace their condition, but equally importantly, young people should be supported to recognise their unique strengths. However, unfortunately, the current situation in relation to autism assessment in the UK often means young people and their families are waiting far too long for the assessment and identification that may have a significant, positive impact on their lives.

Sophie Brodie

BSc(Hons) Speech and Language Therapist, CertMRCSLT, HCPC registered.

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Relevant Experience

I am a specialist Speech and Language Therapist with experience working in the NHS, at a specialist autism school and in independent practice. I am experienced in assessing and providing a range of therapeutic interventions to autistic children and young people. I am trained in using the ADOS-2 as part of the diagnostic process.

I have seen the negative impact that having to wait long periods of time for an assessment can have on young people and their families. Listening to families’ feedback on the assessment process, I wanted to be able to provide a high-quality alternative that complies with NICE guidelines and works with young people and their families to ensure they get the right diagnosis and support.

Why I am passionate about being involved

I am passionate about ensuring that young people and their families get the appropriate and timely post-diagnostic support and am currently working with a number of autistic young people and their families to design a new post diagnostic support programme based on my own clinical experience and the lived experience of the young people I work with.

Dr Michael Clarke

Consultant Pediatric Neurologist

Dr Stefan Studnik

Consultant Pediatrician

Dr Sarwat Akbar

Educational Psychologist

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