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Diagnosis and Assessments

The ENC provides a specialist regional and national service, undertaking comprehensive assessments and diagnostic opinions in complex cases of individuals with pervasive social communication difficulties, often where there is evidence to indicate autistic spectrum disorders. Individuals who have already been diagnosed with autism and related problems are often referred to our service when the usual approaches have been unsuccessful. Many of those referred present with difficulties relating to social demands and expectations, feeling coerced, with concerns regarding patterns of extreme and pathological avoidance of demands, described by Liz Newson as Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). We see this as a functional aspect of an individual’s clinical presentation and we look to understand the factors underlying this presentation, such as social anxiety, the impact of autism and feelings of insecurity and coercion.

Our work is informed by:
• evidence based research
• current clinical approaches
• best practice
• our multi-disciplinary team structure

All our team members have experience with both assessing and supporting the ongoing treatment, care and education of individuals with autism. We have a deep understanding of and experience with autistic spectrum disorders across the lifespan and of other neurodevelopmental conditions and with difficulties relating to attachment problems and to emotional disorders.

We are used to working with individuals who present with severe and complex problems, including:
• patterns of behaviour that challenge families and services such as
o meltdowns
o sleeping and eating disorders
o extreme concerns around avoidance of demands and of everyday social expectations
o withdrawal from community and family life, leading to extreme social isolation

We have experience in working with those with a forensic history and can undertake clinical risk assessments. We are familiar with supporting those whose learning and progress has been significantly impaired and where functioning in day to day life has become severely restricted, leading to broken and damaged family lives. The centre has a national profile, specialising in helping individuals, families and services to understand the nature of problems and difficulties and providing advice and guidance on ways of supporting those having different developmental pathways and experiences related to a wide range of impairments and difficulties in social interaction impacting on daily functioning.

Our multi-disciplinary team uses a holistic approach to understand the development of social relationships and social connection, recognising the contributions of genetic, and environmental factors and personal life experiences on development. We understand the complex interplay between language, communication and imagination, on awareness of self and others and on reflection. The Multi-Disciplinary Team consists of specialist, experienced registered practitioners, comprising Clinical and Educational Psychologists and Speech and Language Therapists, with support from Assistant Psychologists. The clinic uses an MDT framework, with the team considering all referrals, agreeing the assessment process and considering the outcome of all completed assessments with reports representing the views of the MDT.

How are our assessments funded?
The Elizabeth Newson Centre is a recognised diagnostic service provider.
NHS or public service funded referrals are agreed by their local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) or public service providers.
Self-referrals can be self-funded or paid for by private healthcare provider with their agreement.

Prior to commissioning an assessment, the team will provide a detailed costing for the assessment. As an indication, the cost for most of our assessments is £4,500, plus expenses if we provide an assessment in the local area.