At the Lorna Wing Centre for Autism, we offer a range of specialist diagnostic and assessment services for children, young people and adults, primarily using the DISCO method.

What is DISCO?

History of DISCO

Why use DISCO?

Use of DISCO in research

What services do we offer?

The services we offer include:
  1. full diagnostic assessments
  2. adult assessments
  3. consultations.

1. Full diagnostic assessments

Children and adults, together with their parents or carers are seen for a whole day. We take a detailed developmental history using the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO). This is a semi-structured interview designed to find out about the person's history up to current day-to-day functioning. At the same time, we carry out an in-depth neuropsychological assessment with the child or adult concerned. We also collect information from previous assessments and any other relevant sources.

We bring together all this information to formulate a clear diagnosis and recommendation of needs and prepare in-depth reports. We take care to consider the interventions already in place and think about where it might be possible to endorse current practice. If we think further intervention or new options for a person are necessary, we give guidance for consideration.

A clear understanding of the nature of the difficulties experienced by the child or adult concerned is very important for the person, families and professionals involved. It will also help professionals working with the person and their family to provide appropriate intervention and support.

2. Adult assessments

Some adults may not need a full diagnostic assessment. In these cases, our clinical team can discuss the particular case with the referrer.

3. Consultations

A consultation can often be helpful to assist individuals and their families to fully understand their profiles.

How do referrals work?

There are three ways that people are referred to us for an assessment.

  1. Referral by an NHS medical professional (likely if the person has a complex presentation of difficulties)
  2. Commissioned referral by block contract with a public sector service
  3. Private referral

How do we provide feedback?

We explain findings and conclusions in detail on the day of the assessment. In addition, we discuss any recommendations and follow-up pathways with the person, or their parents or carers. There is plenty of time for discussion around the findings. 

People often have questions about coping with difficult behaviour and different interventions. We can give some general advice and referrals may be recommended back to local services and to the network of the national and local autism societies for specific help. 

We normally provide reports with findings and recommendations. We send drafts to parents, carers or the adults to check on specific family details and developmental history. We then send the final report to the referrers.

How are we funded?

The Lorna Wing Centre for Autism in Kent is a recognised diagnostic service and funding for appointments is obtained through the statutory authorities. The Centre accepts commissioned and private referrals. This can be discussed further by contacting the centres.