A neurodevelopmental assessment looks at different areas of functioning to establish strengths and weaknesses following concerns about development, or an illness/injury that may have affected the brain. This type of assessment can be used to identify any of the following: Intellectual disability (Learning Disability), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
This is a further insight from Neurodevelopmental Expert Research has shown that identifying neurodevelopmental problems (such as autism spectrum conditions and ADHD) and intervening as early as possible is associated with more positive outcomes. This is especially important for children in the care system whose outcomes may already be compromised.
Many children who have been placed in the care of the local authority display extreme behaviours or emotional difficulties often associated with poor parenting. It can be difficult to determine whether experiences of poor or abusive parenting have led to these difficulties or whether the child’s behaviour, due to an underlying neurodevelopmental condition, is so challenging for parents that they are simply unable to cope and do not have the necessary skills. More often than not, it is a complex combination of the two.
Early identification of these subtle neurodevelopmental conditions should form part of a mental health screening to determine whether it is likely that a child’s clinical presentation is suggestive of an underlying condition. In our experience, screenings undertaken during a court ordered psychiatric assessment may help to identify problems early and highlight the need, if appropriate, for a formal neurodevelopmental diagnostic assessment to inform the management plan. This can be a game changer for the young person. Unfortunately, all too often, there is a long wait for such an assessment to be undertaken via the NHS, as long as two years or sometimes even longer. Young people in the care system cannot wait that long. They usually require a clear plan of action to determine their future welfare as soon as possible. A neurodevelopmental assessment may be a pivotal part of the plan.
Following a psychiatric assessment, and only if appropriate and necessary, Expert in Mind is able to provide comprehensive, bidisciplinary (psychiatry and psychology and other disciplines, if required) neurodevelopmental assessments (regarded by NICE guidelines as ‘gold standard’), if appropriate, without the need for lengthy waiting times.