Kent Psychologist


Autism Assessments


Our Autism Assessment Service

At Kent Psychologist we offer a comprehensive assessment of autism, tailored to the individual needs of each child and young person. The service is lead by Dr Sirja van Zyl who has extensive experience in supporting young people on the autism spectrum. Sirja is personally involved in all assessments completed through our clinic and will be part of each step of the process, from arranging a phone call before the first appointment to the completion of the assessment and the provision or a report. 

We have outlined information about our autism assessments below. To make an appointment or request our information pack, which contains more detailed information about the process and fees, please email us at or use the contact tab above.

What is Autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by difficulties with social interaction, communication and restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests. These are often present in the child’s life from an early stage, but may become more noticeable as time goes by. Traits can present differently in each person and may impact on the young person’s daily functioning in a variety of ways, such as challenges in school, at home or with peers. Such difficulties have been referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome, high or low functioning autism as well as a range of other labels. The term Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are used most commonly at present.

Does my child/ young person need an Autism assessment?

Many children and adults in the general population have some traits of autism, but experience little or no difficulties related to this in their day to day life without ever receiving a formal diagnosis. Parents often contact us for an assessment at times where life has become challenging for their child and there are concerns about their functioning at home, school or in their relationships with peers. At such times a comprehensive assessment is often helpful as it can confirm whether a diagnosis is appropriate. It can also offer an explanation for the difficulties a child or young person is experiencing as well as identifying specific needs. Most importunely, an assessment allows for guidance and recommendations on appropriate support and intervention to be made to the family and other professionals involved. Assessments can also help to identify a young person’s strengths and equip them with a better understanding of themselves, so they can be supported in achieving their full potential. If you are unsure whether an autism assessment would be helpful, please use our contact page to arrange a free phone call with Sirja. She would be happy to think about this together with you and to answer any questions you may have about the assessment. 

How do I talk to my child/ young person about an autism assessment?

Should you decide to proceed with an assessment, we will send you and your child detailed information ahead of the appointment to prepare them for this. Sirja would also be happy to discuss any questions you or your child may have ahead of the meeting. 


Our consultations and assessments are bespoke to cater for the individual needs of the young people and families we meet. Fees vary depending on what is required in the assessment. In general, the cost of an initial consultation starts at £250, the cost of a full assessment of autism is from £1775.  To obtain a break down of our fees please email us at or use the contact tab above. We accept payment by bank transfer, credit card as well as through private medical insurance, where insurance providers agree to fund autism assessments. 

Autism in girls

Parents of girls who may be on the autism spectrum often have additional questions about the assessment process, as the signs and symptoms of autism can present differently. In particular, the presentation can vary significantly between boys and girls, which means that autism can sometimes be more difficult to recognise in girls. Sirja and her team have a special interest in the assessment of girls with traits of autism and recognise the sensitivity and expertise required in conducting such assessments. Our assessment process and recommendations will therefore always be tailored to each young person’s specific presentation. If you have any questions you would like to discuss before proceeding with an appointment please get in touch to arrange a phone call. 

Our assessment process

Our assessments are completed in a two step process: an initial 90 minute consultation followed by a comprehensive 3 hour assessment, where appropriate. 

One of the first things families often tell us is that they are not “after a label” for their child or young person, but would simply like to understand how best to support them to achieve their full potential and to lead a happy and meaningful life. Whilst clarity about whether a young person has autism may be a vital aspect in this process, we recognise the importance of seeing the young people we meet in a holistic manner. In particular, we feel that it is important to focus on identifying a young person’s strengths, their emotional wellbeing and their relationships with other people as part of the assessment.  Prior to proceeding with a full assessment we therefore always conduct an initial 90 minute consultation. This allows us to get a better understanding of the young person as a whole, rather than focusing solely on potential traits of autism. It also gives families the opportunity to explore  whether a full autism assessment is the most helpful next step, before committing to this. We realise that funding an independent autism assessment is a significant commitment for families and attending an initial consultation will help us to work out together whether this is the most helpful next step or whether your child/ young person may require a different type of assessments and support. 

Should we agree that a full assessment is indicated, families are invited for a second appointment. The full assessment is generally conducted over a whole morning, including feedback of the results and a discussion about the type of support that may be helpful going forward. Information about the full assessment is outlined below.

Who will be involved in the full assessment?

Our multidisciplinary team is led by Dr Sirja van Zyl. She will be your lead clinician throughout the process, from first contact to the final report. Sirja is supported by a team of highly skilled professionals, including other Clinical Psychologists, Speech and Language Therapists and Autism Spectrum Condition Specialist Nurses who will join the assessment as appropriate to the child or young person’s presentation.

Which assessment tools will be used and do the assessments follow NICE guidelines?

Our assessments follow the gold standard outlined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), are completed by a multi disciplinary team and incorporate the following assessment tools:


The Autism Diagnostic Schedule 2 (ADOS 2) is completed with the child or young person and administered by two clinicians with a specialism in autism. The ADOS 2 consists of a range of  activities the young person will be invited to take part in, including chatting about their interests and playing games. This allows the examiner to observe the presence or absence of specific behaviours which have been identified as crucial in the assessment of autism. Whilst the ADOS is an excellent tool for identifying traits of autism, the assessment process itself is designed to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere for the young person. Young people will often tell us that attending the ADOS felt like having a chat and was fun, rather than completing an assessment. We realise that many of the young people who come and meet us find such situations tricky and we will think with you about how best to put your child at ease. 


The Developmental, Dimensional and Diagnostic Interview (3di) is an assessment tool that was developed specifically to help parents share the developmental history of their child and highlight the presence or absence of traits of autism. It is completed by one of our clinicians together with parents or caregivers to gather relevant information. This includes information on the child’s development, social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviour or special interests. We may occasionally decide to use the ADI-r tool instead of the 3di, as appropriate. 

What happens after the assessment?

The findings of the assessment will usually be shared with the parents and caregivers on the day. We will think with you about how to share the outcome of the assessment in the most helpful way with your child or young person. Our hope is that all young people we meet leave our assessments with a better understanding of themselves, an awareness of their strengths and the knowledge that we will be providing their families and caregivers with information and support to enable them to achieve their full potential. 

A comprehensive report and recommendations will be provided shortly after the assessment and families are free to share this with other agencies, such as school,  as they feel appropriate. We always aim to work closely alongside schools and other services involved in supporting a young person and and are happy to join meetings to share the outcome  where this would be helpful. 

We understand that receiving a diagnosis of autism is often only the beginning of the journey for a young person and their family in seeking the right support and fulfilling their potential. Where appropriate, we can offer follow-up appointments and guidance and review young people throughout their education and development. 

If you would like to find out more or arrange an appointment please contact us.