This page is designed to answer the following questions:
- 3.1. Outline the current guidelines for the diagnosis of autism in the UK. (Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism, Introduction to Autism)
NOTE: This page has been quality assured for 2023 as per our Quality Assurance policy.
The NHS describes the process for getting an Autism diagnosis in the UK on this page.
Initially, an individual that has signs of autism should speak with a health professional, such as their GP, or a child’s Health Visitor and ask to be referred for an autism assessment. It can take a few months to get an appointment for the assessment.
An autism assessment is then carried out by autism specialists. This involves one or more sessions that can include:
- A consultation
- A questionnaire
- Speaking with family members and/or teachers
- Observations at school
- Checking medical history
Tools that may be used in the diagnostic process include:
- Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS)
The individual is asked to carry out a series of tasks whilst the assessor provides opportunities for them to demonstrate social and communication skills. Typically lasts between 30-60 minutes.
- Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO)
Developed by Wing & Gould, DISCO is a detailed interview designed to build up a holistic picture of the individual
- Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)
Semi-structured interview with the parents/caregivers of an individual being diagnosed for autism
Following the assessment, the individual will receive a report stating whether they meet the criteria for autism diagnosis or not and any recommended support. There will also be the opportunity to arrange another appointment to discuss the result.