Guidance on autism spectrum conditions

Non-urgent advice: Your child’s score

Based on your answers, your child scored [urlparam param=”percent” default=”75″ /]% overall.

What this means

A score of 70% or over suggests your child may have autism spectrum conditions. This means they experience and respond to the world around them in different ways. This is known as ‘neurodiversity’ and can mean they:

  • find social interaction difficult, for example starting conversations and understanding how to make and keep friends
  • struggle with speech and language
  • get easily distracted and find it hard to concentrate
  • repeat or restrict certain behaviours, such as asking the same question again and again, or repeating unusal movements, noises or facial expressions
  • get very anxious if routines change, or if they’re in an unfamiliar environment
  • can seem over-sensitive or under-sensitive to their enviroment, such as reacting to smells or noises

Your child may benefit from extra support at school and at home, depending on their particular needs. You do not need an autism ‘diagnosis’ to get support at school or from social care.

What to do next

Speak to your child’s school about the support your child receives, and whether the special educational needs and disability coordinator (SENDCO) feels an autism assessment would be in your child’s best interests.

The specialist autism assessment service can assess your child if:

  • they are receiving support at school but it isn’t helping them, for example they refuse to go to school for a long period of time or are at risk of exclusion for another reason
  • they are receiving social care but it isn’t meeting their needs, meaning their family unit is at risk of breakdown and they are at risk of needing protection or an alternative placement
  • they are in care or on a child protection plan, and an assessment is needed to inform placement planning
  • they have severe and continuing mental health difficulties, and an assessment is needed to inform decisions about their care
  • they have repeated offending behaviours, for example criminal or anti-social behaviour
  • they have very low levels of communication, for example if they use fewer than 50 single words, and this is likely to be associated with an autism spectrum condition

You can request an autism assessment if you meet any of these criteria and feel a diagnosis would be in your child’s best interests.

If you have already had an assessment

If you have had a private assessment, or an assessment in another country, you do not need to ask for another assessment. You should share your child’s previous diagnosis with any agencies you and your child come into contact with.

If your child has had a needs assessment, you should share it with their school as it could be helpful to ensure their needs are met.

If you have had an assessment previously but you think your child’s needs have changed significantly, or they now meet one of the criteria above, speak to your child’s school about whether a reassessment is in your child’s best interest. You will need to request a new autism assessment.

Your child’s school will need to provide evidence to support the assessment.

If things get worse

Non-urgent advice: If you think your child will deliberately hurt themself or someone else

Call 999 if your child is at serious, immediate risk of self-harm.

If it’s serious but not immediately life-threatening, watch them closely and keep harmful objects and substances away from them.

Call 0800 953 1919 at any time of day or night to get advice on dealing with a crisis.