This page provides information for young people, families and professionals about our needs led approach, the assessment diagnostic process and the support available before, during and after assessment.
It should be noted that services listed on this page do not need a diagnosis of Autism or ADHD to access support.
New ‘needs led’ pathway
Health services, local authority, parent carer forums and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations have worked together to design a new ‘needs led’ pathway to help support parents/carers and children and young people where the child or young person has a need associated with a neurodevelopmental condition, such as autism/social communication needs or attentional difficulties such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD).
The needs led pathway is for children and young people in County Durham aged up to 18. The pathway for children under 5 will be slightly different than the pathway for those aged over 5.
For children aged under 5, work is still ongoing to change this assessment process, but at this time, please continue to speak to your health visitor, GP, or other health professional.
Working more closely together
Through consultation with parents and professionals it is clear that advice and support are most effective when everyone involved works closely together.
Changes also needed to be made to the ‘diagnostic’ element of the service to ensure children and young people did not have to undergo unnecessary assessments over an elongated period of time. We still have work to do to get the waiting times down, but new processes will help with this and more importantly, your child or young person and their family should feel supported during this assessment process.
As part of ongoing discussions with families and young people services are working more closely together to offer advice, or help, or support when it is needed. The support offer continues to develop, and organisations and services are working hard to communicate clearly with families where they can get this from when it is needed. This advice, help and support described below available to children, young people and families is not dependent on having a diagnosis, it is based on need.
Please take some time to read through the information available in this section. We hope that you will be able to find the right support to meet your child or young person’s needs.
Support Offer in County Durham
There are links further down the page to allow you to access more information about the services, as well as guidance on advice and support available in your local area. These services will help you explore your child or young person’s needs and can offer you support and techniques to help meet these needs. Parent Carer Forums can provide you with useful information and signpost you to helpful services in County Durham. Alternatively, if you don’t feel ready to speak to other parents yet, then there is a wealth of information available through the virtual offer.
Self-Help / Virtual Offer
Develop your new routine as soon as you are able. Have fixed points within the day that you can focus on, even if there is ‘free time’ at other parts of the day. Use diaries, timetables, lists and other familiar supports to aid this
Consider using social stories or social narratives to explain the changes we are making and why they are happening.
Diagnostic Neurodevelopmental Assessment
Introduction to the new Neurodevelopmental Pathway for Families
In County Durham and Darlington, we are launching a new Neurodevelopmental Pathway which will replace the old separate pathways for Autism and Attentional Difficulties (ADHD). This document will explain why the pathways are changing and how the new pathway will operate.
If you think that your child or young person is likely to have either Autism or ADHD or both, and you would like a neurodevelopmental assessment, please follow the link below.
Information for professionals
The following information was designed to support professionals looking to find out more about the Needs Led Neurodevelopmental Pathway. It describes what the Needs Led Neurodevelopmental Pathway can offer, how children and young people are referred for a diagnostic neurodevelopmental assessment and how decisions are made.