Referring your child for external assessment
If we have discussed the possibility of a referral for ASD or ADHD, it can feel a little overwhelming. We would therefore like to give you a clear overview of how the process works and what to expect.
The referral process for both ASD and ADHD is similar. Both referrals are made to the Kent Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service [CYPMHS], which is run by NELFT at the NHS. The referral is passed to the Neurodevelopmental Team.
Referrals must be made by a professional, that is your GP or the school. Parents/carers can no longer self-refer. The Student Development & Support Lead will write the referral if you choose to ask OPGS to manage this for you.
- The SDS Lead will ask your child’s teachers and their Director of Study for feedback and will ask the team to observe your child in lesson and unstructured time. She will then write a skeleton referral which is passed to our Senior Team for their amendments and confirmation.
- You are invited to a Teams meeting with the SDS Lead to read the draft referral and add your comments, amendments and suggestions. You agree the document only when you are happy that it paints an accurate picture of your child’s difficulties. Your child must be made aware of the referral and acknowledge that they are happy for it to proceed.
- The SDS Lead will email a variety of NHS questionnaires to you as the referral cannot be submitted without these. The questionnaires will ask about family history and may ask you to complete some rating scales. These must then be returned to school.
- On receipt of the parent information, the SDS Lead will submit the referral to CYPMHS online.
- On receipt of the referral, CYPMHS will email the SDS Lead asking for more school-based evidence to further support. We always aim to complete these quickly to expedite the process.
- You will receive a confirmation letter from CYPMHS which will either dismiss or accept the referral.
- If the referral is accepted [ie CYPMHS believe there is appropriate information to warrant an assessment], your child will be placed on the assessment pathway. This is effectively a waiting list.
- The waiting list for both ASD and ADHD is currently 3-4 years. For this reason, if you are only considering a referral, we advise that you action it as soon as possible. You can always change your mind later on should you wish.
- On the day of the assessment, your child will be seen by a paediatrician. They will ask him/her questions and you will have ample opportunity to voice your concerns. If the referral is for ASD, your child will also have a separate appointment with a SALT [Speech and Language Therapist] who will assess using the ADOS 2 [ around 45 minutes]. The paediatrician will consider all of the information presented, including your concerns, the school report, the ADOS 2 and their observations of your child on the day. They will then give you an outcome.
- If your child receives a diagnosis, please email us a copy of the medical report at your earliest convenience. We will read it carefully and build any support strategies around it.
Is there a private route? Is it quicker?
Yes. We do prefer referrals to be made via the NHS, but if you are certain that you would like a private assessment, we can give details of organisations that other parents have used. Private referrals are quicker but please be aware they do incur a significant cost