Barnsley: General Development Assessment (GDA) information

Our Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team (ASDAT) offers a specialist assessment and diagnosis service for children under the age of 18. For more information visit the Barnsley NHS webpage. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition that affects a child/young person’s social communication and interaction skills. A child with ASD is likely to see and understand the world differently to their peers and struggle with certain social aspects of life. 

Please watch the short ‘Amazing Things Happen’ video below for more information on what autism is.


How to request an assessment?

If you believe that your child/young person may have autism or you are worried about their social communication skills, you should discuss this with their health visitor, school nurse or GP. If your child attends a nursery or school, then you should also discuss this with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENDCo).

An Early Help Assessment (EHA) should then be initiated by a professional working with you. The EHA plays an important part of addressing your child/young person’s needs. It helps identify what strengths and difficulties your child may be having, what additional support (if any) is needed and who would be the best person to offer this support as well as collating relevant evidence to support the need for an assessment.

What is the criteria for referral?

  • The child should be registered with a Barnsley GP.
  • The child / young person is under the age of 18.
  • An Early Help Assessment (EHA) must be active and reasonable time allowed to fully address the child’s needs. The need for a referral to ASDAT should be identified in the EHA review once other causes for the difficulties have been ruled out. What is early help?
  • The family consent to the referral being made – Verbal consent cannot be accepted.

What does the assessment process involve?

  1. Your child is likely to be seen in a Social Communication Clinic by a Community Paediatrician.
  2. Supporting evidence will be sourced from other professionals, including school to form part of the assessment. We will normally request an assessment from a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist which normally takes place in the school setting for primary age children.
  3. Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting and feedback meeting.
  4. Follow-up clinic.

For more information about each of these steps, please see the Patient Information Leaflet entitled ‘Understanding the Autism Assessment Process for Children (0-18yrs)’ on this page. 

Additional support

If you need support before, during or after your child’s assessment you can speak to your EHA Lead, SENCo  or the person who made the referral for assessment. They can help you identify which service would best help address your child/young person’s difficulties.

Barnsley Family Information Services

Barnsley Family Information Services hold a database of all local services:

Visit their website

Autism Assessment Team

T: 01226 644876 (option 2)