Aims Public awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is increasing, as well as the demand for assessment. The implementation of high standards and practical pathway for assessment and diagnosis can be a challenge for many trusts including our trust. The aim was to reconstruct the current pathway by the trust to produce a practical pathway for assessment and diagnosis of ASD that meet the high standards of NICE guidelines and following the DSM-V criteria.
Methods Firstly the strengths and weaknesses of the current pathway have been identified. Secondly set up the essential elements of the future pathway defined by DSM-V criteria and NICE guidelines for ASD assessment and diagnosis. An estimated time scale was calculated based on clinic and administration time required.
Results Three essential elements for the assessment have been identified: A) comprehensive meeting with paediatrician, B) multisource observational reports and C) direct assessment. It was possible to incorporate in each step some elements of the NICE guidelines and DSM-V criteria to cover all the essential elements and criteria. Finally, a set of recommendations and suggested pathway for the assessment and diagnosis of ASD was produced. The estimated time to make a definitive outcome about ASD is possible within 240 min of clinician’s direct clinical and administration work.
Conclusion It is essential for trusts to have a high standards and practical pathway for ASD diagnosis and assessment in line with NICE guidelines and DSM-V criteria. The current pathway was not satisfactory and a suggested practical pathway has been produced to meet the high standards of practice.
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