Trafford has developed a new Autism & Social Communication pathway. The pathway is for children and young people registered with a Trafford GP aged between 0-18.
The pathway has been developed in accordance with the THRIVE model for mental health and details what support is available at each stage of the child/families journey from initial concerns through diagnosis to risk support in crisis.
The pathway has been reviewed and developed with a multi-agency steering group over the last 12 months, including members from Healthy Young Minds, Community Paediatrics, Speech and Language Therapy, the Trafford Parents Forum and GPs. The pathway will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team referred to as the Trafford Autism & Social Communication Team (TASC).
The main change is the role of education settings in the pre-referral stage and shift in focus to early intervention prior to diagnosis.
Rather than referring directly to Paediatrics or Healthy Young Minds (CAMHS) if Autism or social communication issues are suspected, professionals will now direct families towards the school/college/early years setting where a professional (usually the Special Educational Needs Coordinator - SENCO) will discuss the concerns with the parent/carer and child (as appropriate) and undertake a screen jointly with the parents/carers to identify areas of need.
Strategies and interventions will then be put in place in accordance with the graduated approach and monitored over two school terms. If concerns persist over two terms (or no progress is made in one term) then this should be discussed with a professional with expertise in Autism and/or social communication and a referral to TASC should be considered. The referral documentation will then be completed by the lead professional (again, usually the SENCO).
If a professional (such as a GP) is approached for a referral via a parent/carer they should signpost the parent/carer to school (in most instances for the SENCO) to complete the information required for referral.
For pre-school children, a referral should go to Speech and Language Therapy to attend an assessment group, or if they are already under the Trafford Early Development Service (TEDS) then referral to a social communication group. The family Health Visitors or Early Years setting can also be referred to in this instance.
For home schooled, excluded or school refusers it is advisable for any relevant professional to make a direct referral to TASC for advice. Professionals will no longer make direct referrals under this pathway apart from in exceptional circumstance).
On receipt of a referral, the TASC team will review the information provided and create an assessment action plan detailing what further assessments are required to inform a diagnosis.
Once complete the team will review all the information gathered and decide on a diagnosis outcome i.e. whether autism or social communication difficulties are confirmed or excluded, if further assessment is required to reach a diagnosis, if the young person requires assessment for other potential conditions or if a second opinion is required. This will then be communicated with the parent(s)/carer(s) and the young person if appropriate via a face to face appointment during which a written report will be shared summarising the key findings and recommendations from all parts of the assessment, outlining the diagnosis and a needs-based management plan which will include the practical strategies.
The outcome of the assessment will be shared with the child/young person’s GP. Parents/carers will be invited to attend a workshop following a diagnosis of Autism.
Any enquiries should be sent to the TASC pathway team on firstname.lastname@example.org