Aspire Assessment Days

What is an assessment?

An assessment is the opportunity to process, gather and discuss information from multiple sources to help develop a greater understanding of a young person and their family. This will allow us to understand the difficulties they may be experiencing and use our knowledge to identify some recommendations for a therapeutic package of support which most often includes work with the young person and the system around them.

 What does an assessment involve?

An assessment includes psychometrics (questionnaires), family observations, school observations, discussions with social workers and other professionals who spend a significant amount of time with the family and young person. The most important part of the assessment is the clinical interview with the child/young person and the parents or carers as this provides them with an opportunity to discuss their difficulties in a safe space.

Why did we choose to create assessment days?

We are aware that many families have had lots of interviews and meetings over the years and that these tend to make everyone in the family a bit worried or nervous and can often take many weeks or months to complete. We are currently piloting an assessment day with the help from young people, in the hope that all the family can feel safe enough to talk about the things which are worrying or distressing them, and that we can reduce the length of time families and young people have to wait to begin their therapeutic support.

Prior to the Assessment Day

Before the assessment day, the young person and their family may be invited to complete some assessments (mainly for the Autistic Spectrum Condition assessment):

  • Mental Health Assessment
  • Speech and Language Assessment
  • Sensory Processing Assessment
  • Cognitive Assessment
  • Assessment of social and communication skills and functioning (ADOS-2)
  • School Observations

 On the day

Some families may come for more than one day as there may be a number of areas we want to make sure we have time to properly understand what about them.

Below is a summary of the format/plan for the assessment day:

  • A group introduction to ensure everyone understands the reason for attending/for the assessment and what the plan is for the day
  • The young person will spend approximately 1 hour with the lead clinician
  • The parents or carers will spend approximately 1 hour with an assistant psychologist
  • There will then be an opportunity to have a break and to have some refreshments
  • The parents or carers will then spend approximately 1 hour with the lead clinician
  • The young person will then spend approximately 1 hour with the assistant
  • There will then be another opportunity to have a break and to have some refreshments
  • The family will then have an opportunity to regroup to complete some activities together, as this will give us some insight into what the family enjoys. This is recorded as clinicians do not like to be present within the room.
  • After approximately thirty minutes we will regroup and discuss the day. This will also be a perfect opportunity for the family to ask any questions.

At any time during the assessment day, if the day is becoming uncomfortable or difficult then we are flexible to have a break if needed.

Formulation Feedback Meeting

Following the assessment being completed, the family, carers, social worker and any other relevant professionals that are part of the young person’s care/education, will be invited to a formulation feedback session. These can be held virtually. At this meeting, the clinician will share their findings from the assessment, gather thoughts from those in the meeting and then consider together a plan of recommendations for further support if this is felt to be appropriate.

Assessment Day Feedback

After the assessment day has been completed along with the formulation feedback meeting, the family is asked to complete a brief questionnaire providing Aspire with some feedback on their thoughts of the day. One of the questions which we asked was “What did you think worked well?” and we have had great feedback:

“The girls were made to feel very comfortable; we all were. It was really helpful to do it all in one day”

“My son expressing that he needs help, as a parent to express our worries for our son”.

Having an opportunity to talk in an open and safe space without our son present”.