BCHC staff with child and parent image



Frequently asked questions

The NDP team assesses children and young people for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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Common questions received by the ASD Team

Why has my child been referred to the neurodevelopmental pathway?

Your child has been referred to the neurodevelopmental pathway (NDP) because there is a concern about their development, raised either by you, your child’s education provider or a health professional. This developmental concern warrants an assessment to establish whether or not a diagnosis of ASD (autism spectrum disorder) is suitable for your child.



What kind of support is required for the referral to be accepted?

There will be an expectation that all schools and settings support children in Birmingham as part of a graduated approach to meeting needs.


There are currently three stages of intervention in the graduated approach. For further information please visit: www.localofferbirmingham.co.uk:

  • firstly, additional support provided by schools themselves, some schools and settings call this SEN Support, others may call it something differen
  • secondly, additional support by the school, together with the advice or involvement of external agencies providing a package of support. This stage is known as SEN Support by all schools.
  • thirdly, an Education Health Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) can be carried out through a range of agencies for children and young people with complex needs. This will establish what the provision should be to meet those needs, if an EHCP is needed or if the child/young person’s (CYP) needs can be met at SEN Support level.


Depending on a child’s needs, this support may include:

  • work with a teaching assistant
  • differentiating tasks (i.e. making tasks simpler or tailoring them to a child’s ability)
  • offering different ways of recording information (e.g. labelling pictures, diagrams or flow-charts)
  • using multi–sensory activities
  • breaking down learning into small manageable steps
  • helping children to organise their written work by using writing frames
  • allowing extra time to complete tasks
  • keeping instructions short and clear
  • constantly praising and encouraging the child for achievements made


Support for a child/young person’s difficulties may also be provided outside or in addition to the school setting, but in relation to the reason for referral, such as:

  • Early Help Support
  • Social Care support
  • Birmingham Communication and Autism Team
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • SEND Support
  • Community Paediatrics
  • Early Years Inclusion Service (EYIS)
  • Mental health and wellbeing support from services such as – the Screening, Training, Intervention, Consultation and Knowledge (STICK) team, Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB) or the Living Well Consortium
  • Educational Psychology


If the child/young person has received some support that is not noted above and you need to clarify whether the intervention is appropriate you can contact the clinical team to discuss on the NDP Advice Line:  0121 466 6825.



How long will we have to wait to be seen?

Referrals are initially screened and will be rejected if the referral does not meet our referral criteria.


If your child meets our referral criteria, they will be added to the waiting list for an ASD assessment. When your child nears the top of the waiting list, we will send questionnaires to be completed by the family and the child’s school/nursery (if they attend) for further information.


If family or school/nursery do not return the questionnaires, the referral will be rejected.


Once questionnaires are reviewed by the team, you may receive one of the following outcomes:

  • The referral will be rejected if the information does not support further assessment.
  • Your child may receive an appointment to be seen by the ASD team for an autism assessment.  This may or may not result in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
  • Your child may be referred to an alternative service.


The ASD service will aim to book the child’s ASD assessment within 33 weeks of the referral being accepted. Unfortunately, due to the high demand of the service it is not always possible to book the child’s assessment within this timescale.


Please note, all wait times can vary and be subject to change. This depends on the number of referrals and your child’s specific needs.  We will do all we can to see your child as quickly as possible.


Our average waiting time for April 2024 from the date the referral was received to the child’s first ASD assessment is approximately 15 months.


Who are the professionals in the neurodevelopmental pathway?

We currently have speech and language therapists, clinical psychologists, community paediatricians, occupational therapists, nurses and clinical assistants working in the neurodevelopmental pathway.



What happens while we wait for assessment?

Whilst you are waiting for your child’s assessment please ask your Health Visitor, locality team, Nursery or school for information about the services that are available to support you and your child.  

You can also contact the NDP team on the number below. This telephone line has an automatic answer phone but messages are picked up everyday and calls returned as soon as possible. If you have concerns about managing your child’s needs at any point during your wait, please contact us as we may be able to support you over the telephone or advise where else you can seek support.


You can contact the NDP ASD team on 0121 466 6825 or by email: bchc.ndp.admin@nhs.net.



My child is at risk of exclusion, what do I do?

Schools understand from national and local guidance that permanent exclusions should always be a last resort.


Parent-carers should continue to discuss with the school SENCO and Headteacher any ways forward, including reviewing the current support arrangements (both the resources and services in place).


Parent-carers can contact the Parent Link service by telephone on 0121 303 8461 or via email: parentLinkService@birmingham.gov.uk


My child has been excluded, what do I do?

Parent-carers should maintain contact with the school in relation to the plan agreed.


Other contacts are:


If you are waiting for a new or a follow up appointment and you are concerned about your child’s health, or if there has been significant deterioration in your child’s behaviour, please contact your GP, call 111 or 999 if an emergency. 

Our patients and their carers and families are the reason we're here, so we want to hear your views about the Trust and our services.