Autism and Deafness: Guide

Joyce Sewell-Rutter and Stephanie Dawson | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Diagnosis and Assessment

Autism is not generally diagnosed before the age of 3 years in deaf children and is often not confirmed until as late as 7 or 8 years of age.  Advice is to look at milestones to see what is not developing appropriately.  If parents/carers or professionals have concerns they should ask early for a referral.

Pathways to diagnosis vary across UK Local Authorities. It is vital that there is collaboration between autism and deafness teams to ensure early, accurate diagnosis.

For example:

Pathway to Diagnosis via GP

  1. Raise concerns with Health Visitor/School
  2. See GP and ask for referral to Child Development Centre (pre-school age)or Paediatrician (school age)
  3. Multidisciplinary assessment for pre-school age / Paediatrician Assessment for school age
  4. Formal diagnosis of autism made

Pathway to Diagnosis via a Specialist Assessment Service

  1. Raise concerns with Health Visitor/School
  2. Health Visitor/School refers to Specialist Assessment Service
  3. Multidisciplinary assessment led by Clinical Psychologist
  4. Formal diagnosis of autism made
  5. Follow-up group sessions for parents with members of the Team