Neurodivergence Pathway

Assessing for Neurodivergency

There are many terms used when thinking about neurodivergence. Some of these include:

  • Autistic spectrum disorder
  • Aspergers syndrome or Aspergers 
  • Neurodevelopmental disorder / condition
  • Neurodivergence 
  • High / low functioning autism 
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

In essence, ‘neurodivergence’ and all the terms above are a way of explaining that someone may think in a different way from the majority of the population, or those who are considered ‘neurotypical’. Mental health services are moving towards a much better understanding of these presentations and are choosing to move away from the idea that neurodivergence is a disorder.

We believe that it makes more sense to us to consider neurodivergent individuals as another minority group who deserve to be more widely understood and accepted as vital for their talents and capabilities.

Our team of trained and experienced clinicians have worked together to create a gold standard assessment process for children and adults alike to consider whether they fit within the definition of ‘neurodivergent’. If you do, we aim to help you consider what the most appropriate understanding of this might be, albeit autistic spectrum and/or ADHD. We want you to be assured that the outcome of the assessment with us has followed national evidence-based clinical guidance on the most rigorous assessment practices. 

Our hope is that the process of the assessment will enable you to understand any challenges you may be facing, highlight your strengths, as well as offering clinical recommendations regarding further support. If a diagnosis is confirmed, we would expect to signpost you to appropriate helpful resources and services. 

What makes assessment with Serendipity Psychology worth the investment?

There are several values that form the foundation of our assessment process and make it stand out:

We believe assessment of this sort is a process of learning about yourself and developing an understanding of what the problem is. Even if the issue isn’t thought to be attributable to neurodivergence, we believe in investigating what might be a good explanation and supporting you to understand it so you are left without more valuable insight into yourself and your needs. We also believe in helping your support network (family, friends, school or employers) to understand what’s going on (with your permission) and expect to offer information to them about how best to support you. We appreciate it can be difficult to get other people to listen or understand sometimes, especially if you have only just learned what the issue may be so we expect to help with this and help you to find the right words to explain it to others in the future for yourself. We believe in ensuring you know what the options are for the next steps beyond assessment so you aren’t just left alone with a diagnosis, but know where to go to access the help you might need. 

What will the assessment involve?

We break our rigorous process down into the following components: 

  • Initial clinical screening: We will only continue with assessment if the screening we complete at the start recommends further assessment. We don’t believe we should put our clients through difficult tests and interviews, when there isn’t enough evidence to indicate that they need this assessment. This means that all but the screening fee is refunded to our clients if assessment isn’t indicated. Where assessment isn’t indicated, we will make recommendations for further assessment or appropriate treatment and will present you with the options. 
  • We use gold-standard assessment methods in which we are trained: Our team of specialists are trained, experienced and supervised in the best evidence-based psychometric measures, structured interviews and tests available for assessing neurodivergence. This means the outcome of the assessment is likely to be most reliable, rigorous and trustworthy. 
  • We use at least 3 assessment methods: We employ a ‘golden triangle’ approach to assessment including structured clinical interviews (i.e., DIVA / DISCO/ ADI-R/ QbCheck), consideration of supportive material (i.e. school and other professional reports) and we always try to include information from multiple sources including parents or family members as well as the client. 
  • We take a team approach to diagnosis: Every assessment is brought to our monthly team meeting for review by the team. This helps us ensure we are running our thoughts by several professionals from different backgrounds and with different experiences. 
  • We screen for sensory difficulties: and consider this within our report recommendations as we believe this is an important part of understanding the needs of someone with neurodiversity. 
  • Shorter waiting lists and turnaround time: We aim to offer an initial consultation to start the assessment process within 8 weeks of referral to our service. We recognise this is important to our clients as NHS waiting  lists are typically up to 2 years. We aim to have completed the assessment report within 8 weeks of finishing the assessment interviews with you, although sometimes this can take longer if we are waiting for other sources of information to inform the report such as school reports or observations. This means that from referral to diagnosis should be complete in under 5 months which is up to 2 years shorter than that expected in the NHS.
  • You will receive a full in-depth report: This report will highlight the assessments undertaken, whether you have met diagnostic criteria and why, outcomes of the comprehensive assessments, an initial formulation of your presenting difficulties and some recommendations.
  • A feedback meeting will be held with you: We also invite your family or supporters (if requested), to discuss outcomes, recommendations, and plans following the completion of the assessment report. We would also explore whether you would like us to refer you back to your GP for further support, or whether you’d like to consider referral back into our neurodivergence pathway to see an experienced therapist who will be able to offer more continual specialist therapeutic or psychoeducational support.

How much of my time will the assessment need?

We explain to all our clients from the outset that an assessment of this sort can take some time to ensure we have all the information we need, particularly because we understand that everybody is different and will have different assessment needs. We would expect to meet with you in person or online for between 3 and 6 hours. Some of this time would also be with family members who know your developmental history but we appreciate that this isn’t always possible. We will also give you some psychometric measures to complete between meetings and might also invite you to take part in some testing procedures. It can help to consider the assessment as a process that has several different parts and evolves based on the information you share and the recommendations of the clinician/s working with you. 

How much will an assessment like this cost?

Our assessments are rigorous, trustworthy and reliable. We would expect the person working with you to be investing at least 20-25 hours in this work and then to consult with our specialist team regarding the assessment. This means the cost isn’t the cheapest. 

  • Assessment of ASD or ADHD: £2500
  • Second assessment to consider whether ASD or ADHD is also present: £2200
  • The TOTAL fee for a full diagnostic report including both ASD and ADHD assessment is: £4700

Typically, we suggest to our clients that they start by considering one diagnosis and if a second becomes apparent during screening or assessment, we offer the option of including the second.

*Where the screening has been completed and doesn’t indicate either diagnosis, we would assume to refund the assessment fee minus £300 for the screening*  

If you would like to consider assessment with our team at Serendipity Psychology, please get in touch

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