Welcome to CAN

Identifying and celebrating Neurodivergence in the South West

CORNWALL AUTISM AND NEURODEVELOPMENT (CAN) specialise in private autism and neurodevelopmental assessments for children, young people and adults in Cornwall, Devon and the South West.

Ensuring individuals receive an appropriate private autism diagnosis is our absolute priority. Our multidisciplinary team have been involved in NHS ASD and neurodevelopmental assessments for many years and understand the absolute necessity to get it right. Our holistic approach to understanding our client’s presentation means we are also able to offer additional assessments alongside an autism assessment if a client’s presentation is more complex including Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and Learning Difficulties.

Cornwall Autism and Neurodevelopment (CAN) is a neuroaffirmative service and celebrates the brilliance of the autistic and neurodivergent people we meet. We therefore ensure that a thorough assessment of both strengths and needs takes place, and it is only once we have this detailed information about you or your child, as outlined in the National Institution for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance, that we use our clinical observations and the DSM5 criteria to determine whether a diagnosis is appropriate.

We are a multidisciplinary team consisting of highly experienced Psychiatrist, Paediatrician,  Psychologist, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, and Mental Health Nurse, all of whom have years of experience diagnosing autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions within the NHS. And we are local so are well known by schools, NHS and local authority services and can signpost our clients to relevant support near to them.

We can use both online and face-to-face methods (which can take place either in our clinic rooms in Truro or Plymouth) to gather information, and can tailor these to suit an individual’s needs. During our neurodevelopmental assessments we can utilise standardised assessments including the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R), Autism Diagnostic Observations Schedule -2 (ADOS-2), the Social Responsiveness Scale – 2 (SRS-2), Conner’s Questionnaire, QB Check, Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-2), WISC, Movement ABC etc.

Finally we are very aware how daunting the diagnosis process can seem, we want to be able to guide you through this as sensitively and helpfully as we can.

What we CAN offer:

  • Self-Referral and Free Initial Screening

    No professional endorsement is required; individuals, or parents can contact Cornwall Autism and Neurodevelopment (CAN) themselves and request free initial screening to ensure that an autism or broader neurodevelopmental assessment is appropriate. This will be a free of charge service, so that people who are unlikely to meet the criteria for an autism diagnosis are not put forward for assessment unless discussed otherwise.
  • Clear and Transparent Pricing Structure

    Cornwall Autism and Neurodevelopment (CAN) have an upfront pricing system as we understand the financial commitment involved in opting for a private ASD assessment in Cornwall. Our screening process is completely free and then you will only have one fee to pay, with no hidden extras if we all agree comprehensive assessment from us is indicated.
  • Seen Quickly for a Face to Face Assessment

    We are very aware of the long waiting times for ASD and other neurodevelopmental diagnosis within the NHS. By opting for a private autism assessment with Cornwall Autism and Neurodevelopment (CAN) you will be seen quickly and at a time to suit you, usually within two months following screening.
  • Links with Local Services and organisations

    We are a well regarded, ethical assessment team, our clinicians have worked in Cornwall and the South West for many years and have established links within the NHS, Education, Local Authorities, Local charities and organisations, ensuring Cornwall Autism and Neurodevelopment (CAN) are able to signpost you to appropriate support and services relevant and near to you.
  • Multidisciplinary Team of Highly Experienced Cinicians

    We are a hugely experienced, multidisciplinary team of Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Paediatrician and a Mental Health Nurse, all of whom have worked, or currently work for NHS teams including autism and neurodevelopmental assessment services.
  • Fun and Friendly Assessments

    Here at Cornwall Autism and Neurodevelopment (CAN), we understand how daunting it is for children, families and individuals to engage in an assessment process; we therefore ensure that we talk you though every step and tailor the assessment to suit your, or your family's needs. The face to face assessment is fun and our clinicians are skilled at putting people at ease. Following our assessment we hope our clients will have a better understanding of their individual differences, empowering them to understand their own strengths and areas of need; we believe that by having a better understanding of ourselves we can develop more resilience, self-worth and greater self esteem.

Who CAN are:

  • Mary Hosken - MEd DipCOT MRCOT


    Mary is an HCPC registered Occupational Therapist with over 20 years experience of working in health services both in the UK and in New Zealand. She has spent many years working with adults with mental health difficulties and with young people and families in the CAMHS services in the North West and in Cornwall. Since 2014 she has worked exclusively in a children's Neurodevelopmental Assessment Teams in both a clinical and leadership role.

  • Catriona 'Oni' Law - BSc (Hons) BA (Hons) MRCSLT

    Highly Specialist Speech and Language THerapist

    Oni is an HCPC registered Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist who loves working with children and young people. She worked in the NHS since 2007 and for Cornwall Foundation Trust's Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Team since 2013. Oni was an autism clinical lead for Cornwall's NHS Speech and Language Therapy service but now spends her time focused on making Cornwall Autism the best it can be for the families and individuals we work with. She also worked with Oaktree Academy, a specialist school supporting the needs of young people who experience social, emotional, mental health, communication difficulties.

  • Dr Sanjida Sattar - MB.ChB, MRCPsych

    Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

    Sanjida is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. She trained as a medical doctor at the University of Manchester and completed her psychiatry training in London. She has been registered with the General Medical Council from 1998 (Specialist Register from 2008). She has over 20 years experience of working as a NHS psychiatrist in acute and non-acute settings with children, young people, adults and families in England. This has been in a range of settings including inpatient units, community clinics, schools, forensic settings and national specialist mental health NHS clinics. Sanjida has worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist for Cornwall Partnership Foundation NHS Trust since 2016, for CAMHS and the Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team. She provides highly specialised neurodevelopmental disorder assessments and formulations for children and young people who present with broad range of strengths and difficulties, often when other co-existing mental health disorders are present. She has a significant amount of experience of working with families and wider multiagency systems to ensure a child’s needs are supported.

  • Jo Bryan Brown - BSc (Hons) MRSCLT

    Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

    Jo is an HCPC registered, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, who has worked for the NHS since 1991. Jo has been involved in the development of the NHS Early Years diagnostic pathway for autism since it was started in 2006 and has been the Early Year’s lead SLT for autism diagnosis within the NHS’s Cornwall Foundation Trust. Jo’s whole career has been focused on children and young people who have additional individual needs. As well as children who have autism, Jo has extensive experience with children who have physical and learning disabilities, developmental language disorder and medical and genetic conditions.

  • Gemma Smith - BSc(Hons) MRCSLT

    Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

    Gemma has worked for 8 years in the community across a range of NHS settings, providing a high-quality speech and language therapy service to children, young people and their families. In conjunction with families, her previous roles have required Gemma to assess and diagnose children with a range of speech, language, and communication needs. In 2020 Gemma joined the Cornwall Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team, recently becoming a clinical team lead. In this role, Gemma provides specialist assessments and advice to children and young people, including those with highly complex presentations, and contribute to diagnosis on the ASD and Neurodevelopmental assessment pathway.

  • Lisa White - BA (Hons), Dip HE Nursing Mental Health

    Specialist Mental Health Nurse

    Lisa W is a Midwifery Council registered mental health nurse with over 10 years experience. Lisa has worked in adult mental health and with young people and families within CAMHS services. Since 2016 she has worked exclusively in a children's autism assessment team in a clinical and safeguarding role.

  • Lisa Tobin - BA (Hons), PGDipOT, MRCOT

    Specialist Occupational Therapist

    Lisa T is a HCPC registered Children’s Occupational Therapist and have been working in Children’s Health (NHS) and Social Care for over 20 years. She has been working for Children Family Health Devon since 2011 supporting children with a wide range of physical, sensory and learning difficulties from 0 – 18 years. As part of this role, she regularly works with children who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (or are awaiting diagnosis). Lisa's role includes assessment and intervention for children who have functional difficulties due to sensory and /or motor challenges. She is also involved in providing training to parents, carers and education staff on sensory processing challenges and ways to help. Lisa has always enjoyed working with children and their families to help each child reach their full potential.

  • Kerensa Jones - BA(Hons), PG Cert SI, PG Dip OT, MRCOT

    Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist

    Kerensa is a HCPC registered Occupational Therapist with over 10 years experience of working as a Children’s Occupational Therapist within the NHS and social care in both Cornwall and Wales. Since 2015, Kerensa has worked in Neurodevelopmental Assessment Teams, most recently as clinical specialist OT in the new ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder). Kerensa is an Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner and has completed training in Sensory Attachment Intervention, applying these principles when providing comprehensive assessments and advice to children, young people and their families .

  • Lucy Fisher - BA (Hons), BSc (Hons), ForenPsyD

    Practitioner Psychologist

    Lucy is an HCPC registered Psychologist with over twenty years of assessment experience. Lucy has worked with children, young people, adults and their families in a range of NHS settings during this time. She is highly skilled and experienced in providing assessment, formulation and treatment intervention with the goal of improving life quality and realising full potential. Lucy has worked in the NHS Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team since 2020, providing highly specialised assessment and formulation for children and young people with a diverse range of presentations, alongside supporting their families and carers.

  • Charlotte Rushton - BSc(Hons), MRCSLT

    Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

    Charlotte is an HCPC registered Speech and Language Therapist and has worked in the NHS for 10 years. During this period, Charlotte worked within both primary and secondary schools as well as the community to support young people and their families aged 4-18 years old with their communication skills. As well as championing the speech and language development of young people, Charlotte developed a keen interest in Autism which led her to her current role within Cornwall's NHS ASD assessment team and with us at Cornwall Autism.

  • Jane Hosken - DipCOT MRCOT

    Occupational Therapist

    Jane is an HPCP registered Occupational Therapist with over 35 years of experience across a range of practice settings within both the NHS and social care, including roles in paediatrics, mental health, learning disabilities and children and adults with physical disabilities.

    She has experience of working with children and young people with a variety of co-morbid genetic and neurodevelopmental disorders. Whilst working in a paediatric setting, Jane has supported children with physical, sensory, and learning difficulties, including assessment and interventions for children with functional difficulties due to sensory or motor challenges. She has enjoyed working with children, young people, and their families to support them to achieve their optimum level of function and independence both at home, in school and the wider community.

  • Dr Jo Lewis

    Consultant Community Paediatrician

    Jo is an NHS Consultant Community Paediatrician at Royal Cornwall Hospital and has been in this role since 2005, when she moved from Portsmouth. Jo has had a variety of roles over the years, including senior lead positions, and has worked across all parts of Community Paediatrics, but more specifically specialising in neurodevelopment. As an experienced community paediatrician, Jo has a highly specialist knowledge of the complexities of Neurodisability and Neurodiversity across paediatric age ranges. Jo has been a part of the Early years diagnostic pathway since 2006. Jo also holds the paediatric lead for Developmental Coordination Disorder assessments at RCHT and within the last 3 years has joined the NHS Neurodevelopmental Pathway team, supporting joined up neurodiversity assessments to try and offer all the right assessments for children and young people in a 'one stop' model.

  • Sarah Jewell

    Occupational Therapist

    Sarah is an HCPC Registered Occupational Therapist. She has worked for the NHS in the Adult Learning Disability team and latterly in the private sector with children. Sarah has been fortunate to support neurodiverse people across all age groups offering assessment and therapy. She has been part of a specialist sensory integration service assessing children with a range of complex needs, working with parents, liaising with schools and social care.

Cornwall Autism and Neuro Development Reviews:

We are so pleased to have received positive feedback from individuals, parents, young people and schools, as well as members of the autistic community.

Feedback has included our ability to put people at ease, our compassion for parents and individuals when discussing difficult experiences, our flexibility and timely responses, our positive messages about autism and neurodiversity, and providing detailed reports and recommendations.

We have also been thanked for being ethical and honest both during our robust screening process and for appropriately diagnosing the individuals we meet.

  • Helen (Parent)

    "We felt totally at ease with Oni and Mary. Nothing was rushed with every detail discussed. The assessment was face-to-face and online which made it easier for our son. The recommendations that we received were so helpful, particularly when discussing the diagnosis with our son. The follow up emails after the diagnosis checking on our wellbeing and asking if we needed any further information showed both Oni and Mary go above and beyond to help. A fantastic service. Our son can now receive the help he needs - thank you."
  • Neil (Adult)

    ‘Customer service’ (if you will) from the staff was excellent. Replies were always prompt, polite, helpful and felt genuine. It came across as a service that actually cared about its clients and let you speak to real, genuine people - one of the benefits of having a small team is letting them tailor your experience. Waiting times were excellent compared to NHS services. The actual ADOS appointment was comfortable and took place in a quiet building with minimal distractions which made it much easier. Follow up appointments were made and appropriate signposting was given post-diagnosis. I really appreciate that CAN emphasise their belief that Autism is not a negative subject.
  • Clair (Adult)

    "It was a really great service, and I am so glad I’ve received an assessment with you! I really liked the approach of your service, e.g. using the SRS2, using questionnaires/interviews from people I know, it gave me more confidence that as a female, signs of autism I might have would be picked up, given that female presentations can be different/more subtle compared to male presentations. The team were kind and respectful and made the assessment feel much more comfortable for me than I expected. I felt able to share the difficulties I had experienced which led me to seek out an assessment and felt these were taken on board within the assessment process, and I felt I was listened to throughout. The team were great in answering my questions in advance of deciding whether to go down the assessment process and in following up after the assessment too. Gemma, the S< who assessed me, was really kind and made me feel at ease.
  • Sophie (Parent)

    Friendly, professional, and open about the process and pricing structure. The team were able to obtain an accurate and clear picture of our child, with a detailed diagnostic report provided. Thank you for the prompt answering of emails, the clear communication and professionalism showed throughout the process. Your ability to get my child to trust you to carry out an assessment was something other professionals have not achieved over many years. I would highly recommend you to other parents seeking assessment services for their children. Thank you.

More very kind feedback can be found by going to our Reviews page

Our View on Terminology ASD/autism

As a diagnostic service we use the term ‘autism spectrum disorder’, or ‘ASD’ in our reports and also on our website for two reasons:

  • In order that people will discover our website when searching using a variety of terms including autism, autism spectrum disorder and ASD
  • To ensure that our diagnostic conclusions are clearly aligned to the current diagnostic manual (DSM-5) and our reports are therefore recognised as valid by statutory agencies including health, social care and education.

We do not, however, view autism as a ‘disorder’ or something that needs to be fixed, but rather as a pattern of strengths and challenges which are shared by other people who also identify as autistic. Whilst there may be some similarities in terms of these patterns of strengths and difficulties, we recognise that each autistic individual is unique and has their own unique strengths and challenges. Our aim is to help others around each person to recognise their strengths and their huge potential to grow and achieve great things in their lives.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like to arrange a private autism assessment for you, or your child.