Developmental disorders diagnostic pathway (ADHD/ASD)

Rotherham Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provides a diagnostic assessment service to children over the age of five years for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and those over the age of six years old for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Children are offered a mental health assessment on referral to the service to identify whether they require further assessment on the diagnostic pathways. If they do they will be placed on the waiting list for a detailed multi-disciplinary assessment of their presenting difficulties.

The assessment involves meeting with the child and the family to discuss the difficulties; complete a detailed developmental history; liaise with school and any other professionals involved with the child; observe the child within the clinic and education setting; complete standardised questionnaires and psychometric assessments with the child. These tests may include a cognitive assessment, tests to explore various facets of attention, and an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) as appropriate. Once the assessment process is complete all the information is carefully considered by the multi-disciplinary team. This team may include a psychiatrist, a psychologist, an assistant psychologist, a nurse and/or a specialist CAMHS practitioner. The team will develop an understanding of the child’s difficulties, which may or may not include a diagnosis. The family will be invited to a feedback appointment to discuss the outcome of the assessment and the next steps. In some cases, there may be a role for continued support within CAMHS, for example where mental health concerns have been identified or medication needs to be prescribed. In these cases, the child will be referred to the most appropriate care pathway. A report of the full assessment will be provided so that families and professionals have a copy of the information on which decisions have been based.

While we do not provide care following diagnosis to children with ASD, we routinely offer recommendations to families and professionals identifying what ongoing support is required for the young person. We are able to signpost and/or refer families to local agencies who provide post-diagnostic support. In cases where children have additional mental health needs outside of their diagnosis, additional mental health support can be provided from one of the other CAMHS pathways, for example the therapies pathway.

Children who receive a diagnosis of ADHD are offered support after diagnosis. This support is in keeping with the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence best clinical practice guidelines. It includes parenting support around managing behaviour associated with ADHD, medication, regular medication review clinics, and group work for supporting children and families to manage associated difficulties such as sleep problems.