If you already have a medical diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) then you will require no extra assessment before making use of our Advice and Support Service, unless you believe that you may have some other disorders as yet undiagnosed.
However, amongst those with no diagnosis, it has become common practice to take various 'tests' (whether online or in a publication) for such disorders as Asperger's Syndrome (AS). But ASC is complicated. It is why these tests are dubious in their accuracy to say the least. You will need a thorough, expert assessment to truly determine if ASC is indicated.
Milestones is able to give you a thorough, expert assessment.
ASC cannot be identified by a simple unique series of symptoms or states of mind. It is not an illness. Also many of the most common 'symptoms' are shared with other disorders, for instance certain forms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Hypersensitivity, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and such like. It is easy for those without any great experience to confuse ASC with any one of a number of more common disorders. Indeed, the assessment is further complicated by the fact that Autistics frequently suffer from one or other of these disorders alongside their Autism.
What the assessor is looking for is, rather, a set of indicators, a wealth of factors that when put together and with evidence of certain corroborative 'core' factors can lead to no other conclusion than that the person being assessed truly has ASC. It requires a detailed knowledge and understanding of ASC such as Milestones is able to offer.
Milestones chooses to call its analysis of the attitudes and behaviour of an individual, a 'Professional Assessment' as full medical diagnosis must come from the NHS. However, it has a very special attribute in that Francis, who carries out the assessments, not only spent over 40 years working as a psychotherapist with children and young people with every disorder imaginable, he was himself born with Asperger's Syndrome (a form of ASC) and his insight is therefore not only unique but almost infallible! Rest assured our assessment, although it is legally not allowed to be a diagnosis, will give you an accurate indication as to whether it is ASC with which you are dealing and/or some other disorder or state of mind and, where applicable, if there is a diagnostic subtype, e.g. Asperger's Syndrome, present.
The Milestones Professional Assessment Process
There are two options for how we carry out the Assessment Process.
- An online questionnaire which we will e-mail to you that you can fill in at your leisure on a computer and e-mail back to us.
- Via a Zoom meeting where Francis will ask a series of questions and take down notes. This is conducted in a relaxed, informal and conversational way rather than in a ‘medical’ manner. So there is plenty of scope for you to talk and explain freely.
If the candidate is under 16 we do require that a parent or adult close family member be present. Indeed it is common and completely acceptable for the parent or family member to answer on behalf of the child or young person. We understand that it can be very daunting for a young person to be interviewed. However, it is not absolutely necessary but if the young person can be there for even a part of the interview it is helpful.
When the questionnaire has been received or the interview is over Francis will be putting together a picture of the assessed person's life and their responses and attitudes. This has been shown to be one of the most effective ways of coming to an accurate professional opinion.
You may get an e-mail or two asking for clarification on something or extra information - please respond quickly if you do!
While this analysis is being carried out we also encourage the assessed person, parent or family member to e-mail or arrange for a Zoom meeting if they have thought of any further information that may be of use to the process, no matter how trivial it may seem. It has frequently been the case that such information has helped enormously in corroborating a conclusion.
When he is satisfied that he has come to the right conclusion, then Francis will write his report on the assessment.
Once the report is written, Francis will e-mail (or post if you prefer) to you a draft copy within a week but sometimes a little longer in busy times, so that you can add anything you think has been missed, correct anything that is wrong, been misunderstood, or make any other comment or amendment that you would like.
The report contains a short introduction, followed by what Francis has learned from the conversation and any other useful supporting information, followed by his conclusions based upon these and finally a section on suggested future strategies you may employ to live successfully with whatever the assessment reveals. This section can contain strategies aimed at schools or employers or other authorities at your request.
Just as a reminder, because it has not been commissioned by the NHS, it is not formally a diagnosis but a 'professional conclusion'. Nevertheless it covers the ground of the NHS tests and a great deal more.
Once the agreed report is finalised, a signed and bound copy will be posted to you. Once you have confirmed that you have received the signed and bound copy of the report we will e-mail you the invoice.
It is Milestones policy that providing you with the service you need is our first priority so we are able to make arrangements with you over a payment plan that you can afford if the fees quoted are likely to cause you financial difficulty.
Please see the Fees and Payment Page.
Right from the moment you contact us you can take advantage of our Advice and Support Service.
For detailed information here is the link to our Advice and Support Service Page
Milestones normally conducts assessments from 6 years upwards. Before that, as the child's mental and emotional development is still at a formative stage, a fully accurate assessment cannot normally be guaranteed. However, if you have reason to believe that your child's behaviour could merit an assessment, please contact us for a discussion.