Identifying and celebrating Neurodivergence in the South West
CORNWALL AUTISM 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 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 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, Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologists and Mental Health Nurse, all of whom have years of experience diagnosing autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions within the NHS.
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 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 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 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 or Hybrid 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 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 a hugely experienced, multidisciplinary team of Clinical Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrist and a Mental Health Nurse, all of whom have worked, or currently work for NHS autism and neurodevelopmental assessment teams.
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.
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.
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 recently worked with Oaktree Academy, a specialist school supporting the needs of young people who experience social, emotional, mental health, communication difficulties.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 exclusively in the children’s ASD Assessment Team (ASDAT) and the Neurodevelopmental Assessment Team and is currently the OT lead across these teams. 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 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 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 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.
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.
More very kind feedback can be found by going to our Reviews page
"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."
"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".
"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."
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.