Development of a pathway for multidisciplinary neurodevelopmental assessment and diagnosis in children and young people
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Rutherford, M., Maciver, D., Johnston, L., Prior, S. and Forsyth, K. (2021) 'Development of a pathway for multidisciplinary neurodevelopmental assessment and diagnosis in children and young people', Children, 8(11), article no. 1033.
There is a variable standard of access to quality neurodevelopmental assessment and diagnosis. People may have negative experiences, encountering lengthy waiting times, and inconsistent practices. Practitioners need guidance on standards and practices for assessment and diagnosis matched to new ways of working. In this paper, we present a new pathway and recommendations for multidisciplinary neurodevelopmental assessment and diagnosis for children and young people (<19 years), developed by the Scottish Government funded National Autism Implementation Team (NAIT). Our research used the Medical Research Council guidance for the development of complex interventions and included several iterative stages. Stage 1: n = 44 stakeholders attended an event on developing new practices for diagnosis and assessment. Stage 2: a literature synthesis was completed by the research team of clinical guidelines and diagnosis and assessment tools. Stage 3: an event with n = 127 stakeholders included discussion and debate of the data from stages 1 and 2. Recommendations and a draft pathway were written. Stage 4: successive drafts of recommendations and the pathway documentation were circulated among an advisory group, including multidisciplinary clinical experts and people with lived experience, until the final pathway was agreed upon. The finalised pathway includes guidance on terminology, assessment, diagnosis, triage, time standards and engagement of people with lived experience. The new pathway has been adopted by the Scottish Government. The pathway and associated documentation are freely available online for use by others.