Since November 2020, we have been working hard to review and improve the Autism and ADHD pathways for children, young people and families in Somerset.
Our commitment at the start of the process was to listen to a range of people across the county to make sure that any changes we made, were done so collaboratively to ensure the accurately reflected the needs and knowledge of everyone. Since then, our work has been informed and developed in collaboration with education, health and care colleagues as well as parent carers, children and young people.
We recognise that while there is still more work to be done, some improvements have been made to the pathways already, making them more accessible for everyone.
All referrals for either Autism and/or ADHD should follow the pre-assessment pathway, which is outlined here on the Somerset Local Offer. This may result in a referral for Autism and/or ADHD being made along with the completion of a next steps form (if appropriate).
Following a referral, the most appropriate service will initiate contact with family of the child or young person. They may also contact the referrer if appropriate. The most appropriate service will depend on certain factors, including the age of the child or young person, the type of assessment required, the location of their registered GP practice and criteria of the service.
- For East Mendip, the child or young person will need to be registered with one of the GP practices below. A full list of practice can be found on the Next Steps Form
- Frome Medical Practice
- Beckington Family Practice
- Mendip country Practice
- Park medical practice
- Grove House Surgery
- Oakhill Surgery
You can find out more about the pre-assessment pathway here. We are now sharing more information about the assessment pathways for autism and ADHD in the hope that this will make the process clearer and easier for those involved.
The assessment pathway for the child or young person will depend on:
- Type of assessment – covering autism/ADHD as well as dual assessments
- Age –the pathway may vary depending on the age of the child or young person
- Location – the approach differs slightly for those in the East Mendip area
The pathways cover the assessments below.
The Assessment Pathways
Autism Assessment Pathways
ADHD Assessment Pathways
For those going through an ADHD assessment please be aware that if a child or young person is in Year 7 or above (11 to 17-year-olds) they may be assessed by Children and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) if they meet the criteria.
If they are in Year 6 or below (6 to 11-year-olds) they may be assessed by a paediatrician. In East Mendip area, they will be assessed by a paediatrician no matter their age.
Autism and ADHD – Dual Assessments
Supporting information for children aged 0 to 5 going through an assessment for either autism or autism and/or ADHD
Where there is a concern about possible autism in a child aged 0 to 5, professionals (GP, health visitor, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapist) can refer directly to the team at Somerset Foundation Trust (SFT) (preferably by Advice and Guidance or otherwise by the Community Child Health (CCH) secretaries – CCHadmin@somersetFT.nhs.uk)
The referral should contain the relevant information required including developmental assessment, nursery reports as well as speech and language reports.
The individual being referred would be expected to have accessed the MAISEY (Multi-Agency Identification and Support in the Early Years) process, so a referral may come via a professional on the panel. You can find out more about the MAISEY process here.
In Somerset, the child and their family also have access to the Portage service. The work Portage Home Visitors do helps to act as a signpost support for parents who have children in Early Years and often feeds into Multi-Disciplinary Triage (MDT) discussions with health and education colleagues
Portage Home Visitors attend all MAISEY meetings in Somerset. They will then support families with early diagnosed Autism or those following the pathway by providing access to services including, home visits, stay and play groups and focus groups for children.
How can you get involved and help support the work we are doing?
While these documents reflect the current pathways, there are areas that require further improvement work, particularly the ADHD pathways. Stakeholders from across the system continue to work closely together to support changes.
Any changes made are constantly reviewed and monitored to ensure they work for the people that use them and for those experiencing them. There are opportunities for people to feed into this work. This can be done through a number of routes, which include:
- Formal evaluation events and engagement activities, which parent carers, children and young people are encouraged to participate in where possible. These events are shared through SEND news, promoted on the local offer and via our social media channels.
- Parent carers as well as children and young people can continue to share their experiences; helping to shape the future of services in Somerset by contacting the Somerset Parent Carer Forum
What is planned next?
The next focus for improvement, will be the post-assessment support available for those who have received an outcome from an Autism and/or ADHD assessment. This is due for publication in April 2022 and will be shared through SEND news.