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What should I do if I suspect that my child [between 5 and 18 years] has autism?

You will need to see your GP, health visitor or your child’s teacher if you think that your child is showing symptoms of autism spectrum condition (ASC), or you’re worried about their development. This may help you to compare your child’s development and behaviours with others of a similar age and get an opinion from someone else who knows the child well.

If appropriate, the GP, health visitor or teacher can refer you to another service with experience in the area of autism who can make further assessments in specific areas of difficulty. If your child is referred they may be seen by a:

*speech and language therapist – a specialist in assessing and treating communication problems
*educational psychologist – an education professional who works with schools to ensure pupils’ learning and special needs are met
*occupational therapist – who specialises in motor co-ordination, daily living skills and sensory issues
*paediatrician – a doctor who specialises in treating children and who may check for any co-existing conditions or problems similar to autism
*CAMHS professionals such as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a nurse practitioner or a social worker, who all have specialist training in mental health issues

Each of these professionals will have experience of normal child development as well as the signs and symptoms of possible autism and social communication difficulties. They may advise that a full multidisciplinary assessment is required and make a formal referral to the Autism and Social Communication team.

If accepted, you will be offered a clinic date appointment. The aim is to offer an assessment within six months. You will be involved in a one-day assessment and on most occasions you will be given diagnostic feedback on the same day.

A written report will be sent out within four weeks which will detail the team’s decision as to whether your child meets the criteria for diagnosis of autism. In addition, future recommendations for your child will be given.

Contact

Family Information Co-ordinator
Child Development Centre
Overdale
Westmount Road
St Helier
JE2 3LP
Tel 444817
Email familyinformation@health.gov.je

Here for you

Going through assessment and possible diagnosis can sometimes be a daunting time for your family. Autism Jersey can offer support every step of the way. Please get in touch with our Head of Family Support by calling 871888.

Schools

Four schools in Jersey have special provision for autism and social communication needs. They are:

Rouge Bouillon and St Saviour’s School (primary)

Grainville and Haute Vallée (secondary)

You can find out more about them here.

Autism Jersey can give talks in schools to increase the understanding of autism. We also value the fundraising and awareness done in schools during Schools Autism Awareness Week which falls in March every year.