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. Contact your local Deaf CAMHS for help in accessing the adapted autism assessments for deaf children and young people. 

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