Welcome to Cornwall Autism

Identifying and celebrating Neurodiversity in the South West

CORNWALL AUTISM specialise in private autism assessments for children, young people and adults in Cornwall, Devon and the South West.

Ensuring individuals receive an appropriate private ASD diagnosis is our absolute priority. We have been involved in NHS ASD assessments for many years and understand the absolute necessity to get it right.

Cornwall Autism also want to celebrate the brilliance of the autistic 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 for Autism Spectrum Disorder to determine whether a diagnosis is appropriate.

We are a multidisciplinary team consisting of highly experienced Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, Clinical Psychologist and Mental Health Nurse, all of whom have years of experience of diagnosing autism within the NHS.

We can use both online and face-to-face methods to gather information, and can tailor these to suit your child and family’s needs. During our assessments we utilise standardised assessments including the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R), Autism Diagnostic Observations Schedule -2 (ADOS-2) and the Social Responsiveness Scale – 2 (SRS-2).

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 Cornwall Autism offer:

  • Self-Referral and Free Initial Screening

    No professional endorsement is required; individuals, or parents can contact Cornwall Autism themselves and request free initial screening to ensure that an autism 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 have a flexible and upfront pricing system as we understand the financial commitment involved in opting for a private ASD assessment in Cornwall. If, at the end of the assessment process, the threshold for a diagnosis has been met we will provide a full report and signposting advice. If however we feel ASD is not the appropriate diagnosis, you can opt to have a full report including recommendations, or we can provide a shortened report at a reduced cost. By offering this option, we at Cornwall Autism hope it will enable individuals and families to move forward and seek the help they need.
  • Seen Quickly for a Face to Face or Hybrid Assessment

    We are very aware of the long waiting times for ASD diagnosis within the NHS. By opting for a private autism assessment with Cornwall Autism you will be seen quickly and at a time to suit you. Assessments can be carried out from the comfort of your own home using our online service via a secure video platform, alternatively, we can arrange to see you in clinic for face-to-face assessments.
  • Links with National and Local Services and organisations

    We have worked in Cornwall for many years and have established links within the NHS, Cornwall Council and local charities and organisations, ensuring Cornwall Autism are able to signpost you to appropriate support and services. Multidisciplinary working is essential during the assessment process but also afterwards too, once your assessment is complete, if you wish, we will be able to pass your care onto organisations such as private Occupational Therapists, Autism Support Services and Speech and Language Therapists.
  • Multidisciplinary Team of Highly Experienced Cinicians

    Cornwall Autism was established by Mary Hosken and Oni Law, both of whom are highly skilled HCPC registered therapists and have many years experience of diagnosing and working with children and young people with ASD, Neurodevelopmental conditions, emotional and behavioural difficulties and mental health issues. We are also able to call on the hugely experienced Lisa White, a Mental Health Nurse who also currently works with the NHS ASD Assessment Team (ASDAT), Dr Sophie Augarde, Clinical Psychologist who has worked for both ASDAT and the Autism Spectrum Team in Cornwall Council, Jo Bryan Brown, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist who works for both the NHS ASDAT and the Early Years ASDAT. and Devon based therapists Gemma Smith Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Lisa Tobin, Specialist Occupational Therapist.
  • Fun and Friendly Assessments

    Here at Cornwall Autism, 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 Cornwall Autism are:

  • Mary Hosken - MEd DipCOT MRCOT

    HIGHLY SPECIALIST OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST AND MENTAL HEALTH PRACTITIONER

    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 ASD Assessment Team (ASDAT) and the Neurodevelopmental Assessment Team 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.

  • Dr Sophie Augarde - DClinPsy (CPsychol)

    Chartered Clinical Psychologist

    Sophie is an HCPC registered and chartered Clinical Psychologist who has had the privilege of working with and supporting neurodevelopmentally diverse adults, young people and their families across Cornwall and other parts of the UK. Locally, she has worked in the Cornwall Council Autism Spectrum Team as well as in the NHS for the Cornwall CAMHS Learning Disability Team and with Mary, Oni and Lisa in the Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team. Sophie has worked therapeutically and conducted assessments with adults across a range of areas, including physical and mental health, neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities.

  • 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.

What Folk Say About Cornwall Autism:

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."
  • Anna (Parent)

    "The team was very approachable, knowledgeable, and easy to speak to. They responded quickly and flexibly to our needs. The report was thorough and reflected what we shared with them as well as information from school. The combination of virtual assessment with us and face to face with our son worked well for us".
  • Emma (Parent)

    "Mary and Oni were hugely supportive, sympathetic and explained the process really clearly. They were reassuring to us as everything was very new and unknown and always on hand to answer any questions we had. Once we had started the process, they were able to process things really quickly and at times to suit us which was really helpful. They listened really carefully, were professional at all times and we were both surprised quite how quickly they ‘got’ our daughter as well as some of the things they identified that we hadn’t noticed before but are now really aware of."
  • 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.

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 here in Cornwall.