Signs of autism in older children include:

  • not seeming to understand what others are thinking or feeling
  • unusual speech, such as repeating phrases and talking ‘at’ others
  • liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes
  • having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities
  • getting very upset if you ask them to do something
  • finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on their own
  • taking things very literally – for example, they may not understand phrases like “break a leg”
  • finding it hard to say how they feel

Autism in girls and boys

Autism can sometimes be different in girls and boys.

Autistic girls may:

  • hide some signs of autism by copying how other children behave and play
  • withdraw in situations they find difficult
  • appear to cope better with social situations
  • show fewer signs of repetitive behaviours

This means autism can be harder to spot in girls.

There are 3 main routes for referral.

Route one

This is through the school and there are 2 pieces of criteria which need to be in place in order to submit a referral:

  1. There needs to be an Early Help Assessment open for the family, so there is a professional body other than school involved.
  2. Parents need to have completed the Triple P Teens parenting course, so that environmental and behavioural difficulties can be ruled out, indicating that it is a neurological difficulty.

Without both of these things in place, school are unable to submit a referral to the assessment team.

If you would like to pursue a referral via school and are in agreement with the steps above, please email with information to the following questions:

– how your child’s needs affect them, as well as the rest of the family.

– how your child interacts and communicates with others

– information on friendships

– their ability to concentrate

– any sensory issues (noise, smell, touch, light)

– their general behaviour at home

– their mental health

– their general health

– any other relevant comments

Route Two

This is to ask your GP to refer your child to the assessment service. GP often feel that school are better placed to make this referral as we know them better, however they do not need to have an EHA in place or for parents to have completed the parenting course.

Route Three

This is to seek an assessment privately. This can be quicker but is expensive.

Once the referral is submitted, then it will be triaged for an assessment. Please note that there is a long waiting list for an initial appointment, which can be up to 2 years.

Once they have met with your child and assessed them, you will be given a report which will contain the results of any assessment, along with a summary of the findings and if relevant the diagnosis. There will also be recommendations which can be put in place to support your child.

Once you receive this report, it should be shared with school so that the recommendations can be put in place.



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