Specialist Services for children at the CDC

Autism Assessment Pathways

Our assessment teams work together in order to achieve an outcome that best explains your child’s needs at the time of assessment.

Sometimes, we are not able to reach a diagnostic outcome, however we will always aim to highlight areas of need as well as the strengths that a young person has demonstrated.

We may also provide some signposting or support onward referrals following completion of the pathway in order to meet any identified needs. We do not however, hold a caseload of children for ongoing support within this service.

Preschool Autism Assessment Pathway

As part of the preschool assessment pathway for Autism, you and/or your child will meet a psychologist, specialist nursery nurse and speech and language therapist. These assessments will usually take place across a preschool or education setting, as well as at the Child Development Centre.

School Age Autism Assessment Pathway

As part of the school age assessment pathway for Autism, you and/or your child could meet a range of professionals. This may include a speech and language therapist, clinical psychologist, specialist support worker, or nurse as well as an ADOS assessment. These assessments may take place in education settings as well as at the Child Development Centre.

Speech and Language Therapy

Our speech and language therapy team is separate from the Livewell community speech and language therapy service. Most speech and language needs will be assessed and managed by Livewell however we are involved in some more specific areas of need.

Autism Assessment

The role of the speech and language therapy team here at the Child Development Centre is primarily as part of the Autism assessment pathway. We are involved in assessing strengths and areas of need within a young person’s language in particular, and this can include understanding and using spoken language as well as the social use of these skills.

If we identify needs within these areas, we will often provide some explanation of these and provide some recommendations as to how to support these.

Some of these recommendations are explained below with additional resources to explain this further.

Young people with Autism with often face challenges within their communication. The following information and resources may provide additional information as to how we can support these young people to optimise their communication.

Children’s Wards

Our speech and language therapy team also provide an inpatient service for children and young people within Derriford Hospital experiencing difficulties with feeding, eating, drinking and swallowing.

As part of this, we would meet with you and your child whilst on the wards in the hospital. This will involve observing eating or drinking skills and seeing if there are modifications that may help to develop or improve these skills.

We also liaise with the doctors, nursing team and wider professionals within the hospital.


We have a team of specialist nurses and support workers who work in various roles with young people who have an autism spectrum condition, ADHD or a learning disability.  Our senior nurses, often working as an advanced practitioner or Consultant nurse, may oversee a young persons care from the outset.  Our wider team may support with ongoing care & support, often liaising with other teams and services.  We also deliver support via a number of workshops.

ADHD Resources

We have put together some helpful resources including reading material, videos and websites which may be helpful for those being considered for or those with a diagnosis of ADHD. Please click on the relevant links below for more information and support:

ADHD Resources https://cdcgo.link/ADHDresources

ADHD Resources for Children https://cdcgo.link/ADHDforChildren

ADHD Resources for Teens https://cdcgo.link/ADHDforTeens

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