Virtual & In-Person Appointments

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Service for Children

At Harley Row Clinic, the team understands the hardest step is recognising when it is time to ask for help and making that first call – whether for yourself, or for your child. Harley Row Clinic specialises in private paediatric ASD assessment.

Two children playing with popper toys.

ADI-R & ADOS Assessments

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or autism, is a life-long neurological difference. It is a spectrum condition, that can affect how a person responds to the world around them.

In medical vocabulary, ASD is defined as a condition where a person experiences difficulty in social communication and may show restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour, such as motor mannerisms (such rocking back and forth, hand-flapping, licking lips and repetitive blinking), insistence on routine; sensory sensitivity and obsessive or unusual interest.

The world can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming for autistic children and young people. They can find it difficult to understand social subtleties of how to ‘read’ and relate to other people. This means they may not pick up social cues or may behave in ways that are considered socially unexpected.

The team at Harley Row Clinic is governed by strong professional principles when it comes to the practice’s young patients, insisting on seeing children face-to-face in the clinic for an assessment after an initial virtual call. This ensures each child is assessed comprehensively, with their behaviour, attention, development and how they function in various settings all taken into consideration. Non-verbal cues, body language, and interaction patterns can also be valuable in forming a diagnosis, which can be more challenging when assessing virtually.

At Harley Row Clinic, we follow guidance from National Institute of Clinical Excellence on carrying out a private autism assessment for children and young people. This ensures accurate autism diagnosis for children of all ages.

We use the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) in conjunction with the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) to determine a diagnosis.

A full autism assessment is done in five parts:

A comprehensive process is required for diagnosing autism in children. The autism assessment process is completed in five parts. These include:

Part 1: ADI-R

This is a virtual appointment with parents or caregivers that lasts up to two hours. The purpose is to gather an early developmental history using the ADI-R, focusing on developmental and behavioural features consistent with ICD-11 or DSM-5 criteria.

Part 2: ADOS

This is an in-person appointment at our clinic at Harley Street Clinics in London, Sussex or Surrey to administer the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). This appointment will last up to an hour. It will consist of an observational clinic with the child or young person that is being assessed. One of our clinicians and the patient will engage in a series of activities that are observed by two other clinicians.

Part 3: Multi-disciplinary Discussion

This consists of a clinical discussion among the clinicians, scoring the observational tasks and preparing the diagnostic report.

Part 4: The Assessment Report

The diagnostic report will also contain information about the assessment process and will summarise the information along the diagnostic criteria as part of an autism assessment. We also include additional services we can offer, as well as signposting to other services.

Part 5: Feedback

Although optional, we would strongly encourage parents (and young people we have assessed) to attend a feedback session with one of our clinicians. This usually lasts around 30-45 minutes.

After the results of the autism assessment, treatment takes a series of simultaneous paths – a three-fold approach: medication to treat symptoms if necessary, and a longer-term combination of psychological intervention and functional medicine.

Many mental health conditions have a biological basis, and psychiatric medications can fulfil a key role in providing relief from symptoms. By treating symptoms, individuals can function better in their daily lives and stabilise their mood – all of which makes it easier for them to engage in their treatment.

At Harley Row Clinic, psychological intervention plays a crucial role in treating autism spectrum disorder. The practice uses a range of therapeutic approaches and techniques specific to autistic children and young people, including counselling, coaching and relaxation training to improve mental health and enhance well-being.

Finally, functional medicine seeks to identify the underlying cause of health issues. Harley Row Clinic specialises in nutritional therapy for children and young people. Health plans are carefully devised and highly individualised, using practical dietary modifications, nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes to help your neurodiverse child thrive. Ensuring proper nutrition for your child will also support cognitive development and assist with a range of other health problems.

A child’s autism diagnosis can be overwhelming and emotionally taxing on parents, guardians, and other family members. As part of the team’s duty of care coaching, counselling, group therapy, guidance and support is available to caregivers, to help them manage the child’s diagnosis, while maintaining their own wellbeing.

Comprehensive ASD treatment for children facilitates a process where you feel prepared with the right knowledge to support your child, and your child gains the tools to move forward in the world, navigate social interaction, and understand their diagnosis more deeply as they grow up and lead a fulfilling life.

What Are The Symptoms of


Autism assessments will involve our clinicians looking for signs of autism by seeking to identify symptoms and their severity.

Autism in younger children can appear as:

· Not responding to their name

· Avoiding eye contact

· Not smiling when you smile at them

· Getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound

· Repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body

· Not talking as much as other children

· Not doing as much pretend play

· Repeating the same phrases

Autism in older children can appear as:

· 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 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 in everyday life that 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.

What Are The Benefits of


Looking to get help and move forward?

Our team specialises in private help for children and young patients. We are here to support you in taking that first step towards receiving help. Please get in touch.

Frequently asked questions

Haven't found the answer you were looking for? Perhaps our FAQ's could help. If you're still needing help, please get in touch.

When can I get an assessment for my child?

Clinics usually take place on a Saturday but other arrangement can also be made.

Who carries out the assessment?

The administration and scoring of the ADI-R is undertaken by Harley Row Clinic’s trained and highly experienced clinicians. It is a structured interview conducted by our expert clinicians alongside the parents or caregivers of the child or young person.

How do autism assessments work?

Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R). This is an assessment carried out through interaction with, and observation of, the young person. We assess their social interactions, communication skills and restricted behaviours, focusing on features consistent with ICD-11 or DSM-5 criteria, with the purpose of diagnosing autism or ruling it out with a child.

The information provided by parents and potentially from the child's school, is scored and an algorithm is applied to the scores. The resulting scores will indicate the presence of ASD if the cut-off scores are met or exceeded. At other times the scores may indicate autistic difficulties, which are below the threshold for diagnosis. Scores may also indicate that ASD is not present based on the information provided. The ADI-R is a highly reliable tool and has been tested thoroughly for inter-rater reliability, test-retest reliability and internal validity.

Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). The ADOS has been considered the gold standard for autism assessment since its conception in 1989. At Harley Row Clinic we usually use it in conjunction with the ADI-R to locate signs of autism. The ADOS consists of a series of structured and semi-structured tasks administered by a trained clinician and observed by two additional clinicians. The tasks involve social interaction between the clinician and the person being assessed. The aim is to observe and identify behaviours which are scored and to produce quantitative scores for analysis. Just like the ADI-R, scores are created from observing behaviours during the assessment. These scores will indicate the presence of ASD if they reach or exceed a certain threshold. At other times the scores may indicate autistic difficulties, which are below the threshold for diagnosis. Scores may also indicate that ASD is not present.  

Contact Harley Row Clinic to find out more

Whether you have questions about our private Autism assessment for children or you’re curious about our treatment process, contact us to find out your next steps.

Get In Touch