16 March 2020
Spire London East's new service for children with communication, autism and behavioural problems is due to launch at Spire London East Hospital.
With a step by step process to ensure the highest quality of care is delivered, the service will be led by Consultant Community Paediatrician Dr Monika Bajaj who has over 20 years experience of working within Paediatrics.
Step by step process
Step 1: Dr Bajaj will meet the parents and the child for what is referred as a 'Neurodevelopmental assessment' to get a detailed history and background information as well as to examine the child. This is usually a 30-45 minute appointment and costs £250 which will also include a report. If it is felt that the child has Autism features then Dr Bajaj will proceed with the next step.
Step 2: This will involve taking a detailed “Autism specific history” from the parents using a computerised software programme. This has been developed by the Great Ormond Street team and is called “3di5”. This parental interview measures Autistic traits and it specifically looks for a child’s difficulties in a range of behavioral areas including communication, social and sensory issues. These areas are the difficulties experienced by children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Dr Bajaj is trained in this and this assessment provides a score which contributes towards the Autism assessment. At least 60 minutes is needed for this appointment (may take longer) and the cost is £700. Please note your child should not come to this particular appointment.
Step 3: This involves doing an assessment called 'ADOS-2' and is done by trained speech therapists, occupational therapists or paediatricians (Dr Bajaj can signpost/help arrange this). It is an internationally recognised and standardised assessment that is sensitive to identify clinically significant symptoms of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It includes play based and semi structured tasks to examine social interaction skills, communication skills, imagination and behaviour. The assessment needs approximately 1 hour and the usual charge is £700 but this depends on the therapist who is doing the assessment.
Step 4: Nursery/school observations are also necessary to reach a conclusion. A questionnaire will be emailed to the parents and needs to be given to the key worker/teacher to complete. This can be returned to the parents / Dr Bajaj’s secretary.
Step 5: A follow-up appointment (30-45 minutes) is needed once all of the above are completed to discuss the results and management plan with the parents. The child doesn't need to attend this appointment. This follow-up appointment fee is £250.
Step 6: A comprehensive report, which includes all of the above information is produced by Dr Bajaj. Parents can use this to request help from the child's school, the local authority and other therapists. This is a very time consuming process therefore the fee for this will be £100.
Please note insurance companies do not usually cover these assessments. Payment will need to be paid directly to Dr Bajaj at each appointment. The therapist will charge for his/her assessment.