How to make a referral

Parents or professionals can refer to the SAS for a diagnostic assessment. Parents will be required to work in partnership with their child’s school to gather the depth of information required.

Medics referring a child cannot be expected to know everything about a child’s functioning at home and school but should write a clinical letter referring the child and then a referral form will be sent out to parents by the SAS service. Alternatively, medics could hand the form to parents so that the parent can work in partnership with their child’s school to complete and gather the supporting evidence.

The form is part of the assessment process and requires a lot of information. GPs and medics are not expected to complete the form. The forms should be completed by parents in partnership with their child’s school or a health professional that sees the child over a continuous period of time. A GP may support a referral with a clinical letter, hand the form to the parents to take away. Parents should then complete in partnership with school.

All children will need a fully completed form and supporting evidence before we can accept for assessment as it is the only way to gather the depth of information required. A letter from a GP may come to us and we will then send out the referral form to the parents. We cannot consider the referral until we have all the information required.

For information about how to refer a child/young person to consider possible Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) as part of an ASD please see our PDA page.

Access criteria

Children must have a Solihull GP to access this service. If a child or young person has a GP from a neighbouring area then parents should contact their GP in order to access an assessment in their area.

A child must be under 18 years of age at the date of referral. Assessment for young people after their 18th birthday can be accessed through their GP.

Information needs to be gathered by looking back over a minimum period of 6 months (2 school terms). This is because the SAS team need to understand the child’s needs, the strategies put in place as well as the impact these strategies have had.  This is referred to as a ‘graduated response’ to meet a child’s need.  What is a graduated response? This ensures that all aspects of a child’s functioning and the context around a child can be taken into account. Details of the information required are on the front of the referral form.

Evidence of difficulties with 2 areas of development associated with Autism.

  • Difficulties with social communication and social interaction
  • Restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviour or interest, including differences in sensory processing.

The form is based on the criteria used for the diagnosis of Autism and will guide you step by step around the detail required.

It may be helpful to ask your child’s school or nursery setting to complete an observation using the AET School Observation Form .

Referral of pre-school age children

Health Visitors work with Children from Birth to School Entry.  Parents can contact their Health Visiting Team to discuss concerns they may have about their child.  Health Visitors can undertake a developmental review of children using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. The Health visitor will ensure that services are in place to meet a child’s needs. These other services and your HV can then contribute to the information needed for a referral for further specialist assessment.

Where to submit the referral form to

We cannot accept forms electronically, completed forms should be posted to:

Specialist Assessment Service
Chelmsley Wood Primary Care Centre
Crabtree Drive
Birmingham B37 5BU

Incomplete referrals will not be accepted, but will be sent to parents in order for missing information to be collated and returned.

What happens to the information after it has been submitted?

The information is considered by a multi-agency panel. The panel considers:

  • Has all the information required been submitted?
  • Has supporting evidence for a graduated response been included?
  • Have the outcomes of adjustments and support over at least the last 6 months been evidenced?
  • Does this child require a highly specialist assessment for Autism or another service?
  • Have the parents consented to the sharing and gathering of information?
  • Have the school (or another professional that knows the child well in a setting outside of the home) contributed fully?

Many difficulties that children present with can be accounted for in other ways and do not always indicate that an Autism assessment is required. Once the detailed profile of referral information has been considered by the panel, parents and others involved with a child will be informed of the next steps by letter.

Once a referral is accepted by the service, the child or young person will be allocated to the most appropriate assessment pathway according to their age and the range of needs they are presenting with.

Most referrals are accepted to our main assessment pathway however some children will be allocated to our Early Years Pathway. This pathway is for children who have not yet started school at the time of referral.
In addition there needs to be evidence of the following criteria;
• Early identification of needs that have required additional support over and above the universal targeted services available. This could include additional Health Visitor support, involvement from Community Paediatrics or the Early Years Team.
• Community Speech and Language Therapy input.
• Significant Autism Markers reported in early development from home and professionals.

Children already known to the Specialist Assessment Service Complex Needs Team, where the team feel an autism assessment would be beneficial, may also be accepted this this pathway.

This allows us to plan the most appropriate form of assessment for each child or young person.

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