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Journey to Autism Diagnostic Service (JADES)

We are the provider for the NHS children’s Autism Diagnosis Service in West Essex which includes Harlow, Epping and Uttlesford District.

Autism is a developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people.

Our JADES assessment pathway is specifically designed for children aged 2 to 18. Making a referral to JADES will initiate an assessment to potentially rule out or confirm a diagnosis of autism, through our multi-disciplinary diagnostic team, often including a speech and language therapist, paediatricians, occupational therapist and psychologist.

Benefits of a diagnosis

A diagnosis can help children, their families, teachers and friends understand why they may be experiencing certain difficulties and what can be done to support them.

Making a referral

If you live in West Essex (Harlow, Epping or Uttlesford) and feel your child would benefit from having a JADES assessment, please speak to your child’s GP (located in West Essex only), therapist, school /early year’s setting staff, health visitor or school nurse. Referrals need to be completed by your child’s GP together with their teacher/SENCO or Early Years practitioner, using the form in the link below.

For professional use please see guidance (link below) on how to complete the JADES referral form.

What happens next?

  • The referral will be sent in to the JADES team based at the Child Development Centre in Harlow and will be reviewed by our specialist clinicians.
  • The team will consider your child’s most urgent needs and direct you to services that can provide advice and support whilst waiting for the JADES assessment to take place. If your child is struggling with issues relating to sleep, eating, managing feelings or toilet training for example, we can guide you towards top tips for families which can make a big difference
  • You will also be informed should the referral not be accepted and signposted to suitable support.
  • The team may need to ask for more information from a variety of professionals involved in your child’s care as well as yourselves and other family members.

What happens in a JADES assessment?

  • The JADES assessment may be slightly different for each child. This is because we tailor the process to your child’s needs.
  • It usually involves a play-based assessment and a parent/carer interview. We may also offer a home or school observation.
  • Once a decision has been reached there will be a feedback session to explain the results of the assessment.

What is early intervention?

Some of the children we see have some difficulty with everyday activities such as sleeping, eating and toileting. They may experience anxiety or show behaviour that challenges those around them. It can be helpful to get tips and advice from other parents and from professionals who have worked with children with additional needs.

You can download the document below which includes links to many other support organisations.

For more information, relating to autism and available resources for support please follow this link for the National Autistic Society.

Sensory Spectacle educate about and create awareness of sensory processing difficulties (SPD). The videos will be sharing knowledge to help you learn about SPD, start to recognise specific SPD needs through repetitive behaviours and characteristics and understand ways to support sensory needs. Learn more here

What happens after a JADES assessment?

Whether your child receives a diagnosis of autism or not, you will be given a plan of care, including a clear explanation, and recommendations for your child. We can also support you to have a meeting with other professionals involved with your child’s care.

Essex Family Forum also created an outstanding resource pack with families, Supporting your Neurodiverse Child. The link can be found below of the information pack to help families with a neurodiverse child navigate the support that is available in Essex.

Includes practical interventions, resources, hints and tips based on the lived experiences of local families.

St Clement’s Practical Autism Video Guide