Rotherham: General Development Assessment (GDA) Information

On this page you will see information on the Child Development Centre Rotherham NHS Trust neurodevelopment assessment for children aged 0-5 years, including referrals, pathway details, who is involved and how long the process will take. 

How can I get a referral?

Referrals are accepted at the Child Development Centre from all colleagues in Health and Education. There is a specific referral form used for the majority of health professionals and partners in Education. However Consultant Paediatricians and the child’s GP may refer with a clinic letter, outlining concerns.

Inappropriate or incomplete referrals or those lacking evidence or support and intervention may be declined.

What if my child isn't in an early year setting?

If a child is not in an early years setting or is being educated at home, the families 0-19 Practitioner, or any other health professional involved with the child and family can make a referral.

Who is involved? 

The Child Development Centre team is multi-disciplinary consisting of a wide range of health professionals: Health Care Assistants, Nursery Nurses, Nurse Practitioner, Speech and Language Therapists, Consultant Paediatricians, Early Years Teacher (and team) and access to Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy for the younger more medically complex children.

Phone: 01709 428850


What is the process for referral? 

Health and education professionals complete the referral form usually within SystmOne and it is then triaged. If the referral is accepted the family will be informed by SMS text and placed on a list to be booked for an appointment. In the first instance families receive a telephone consultation which involves a parental questionnaire where a detailed case history is taken. Following this the family will then receive an appointment with the team at Kimberworth Place.

General Development Assessment

Information Gathering

The first part of the assessment involves taking a detailed case history from you the parent or carer. This is usually done by phone. It covers information all the way from before your child was born to the present day. We want to know all about your child’s health, their development, and we will ask about yours and your family member’s health.  

We will ask lots of questions about how your child plays, how they interact with others, how they communicate with you and others, their friendships and their interests.

We want to know what you are worried about and whether you have specific concerns around their behaviour, sleep, eating, toileting and any difficulties or anxieties in nursery or school.

Face to face development assessment

The second part involves observing your child within the nursery setting at Kimberworth Place. This is done by members of the multi-disciplinary team. The process is slightly different at the moment given the Covid crisis and is constantly changing to allow more therapists to be involved in the general development assessment.  

Members of the assessment team will interact with your child and observe their skills. This may be done individually or in a group with other children of a similar age. Following the assessment we will make a plan in partnership with you, the parent and carer. This may involve listing your child for further assessment. This pathway considers whether your child fits the criteria for a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning difficulties, speech and language disorder and other conditions.

Medical and differential diagnosis

The care plan for children referred to the Child Development Centre involves your child being seen for a medical assessment by a Consultant Paediatrician and or a Nurse Practitioner. This supports the autism pathway and diagnosis process.

In addition your child will be requested to attend for a hearing and vision assessment if this has not been done for some time.

Autism Pathway

On this pathway we gather information from home and school. We will liaise with other staff involved in their health and education. We will visit them in their early years setting or school.

Following a visit into school and an additional face to face appointment with yourself and your child. The outcome of the visits and appointments will be discussed by the further assessment team. As a parent or carer you will receive feedback about the outcome of the assessment. This can take the form of a face to face meeting or a telephone or video call. If your child is diagnosed with Autism, you will receive a letter confirming the diagnosis and a detailed report containing information on how the decision has been reached and any help or support that is available. An information pack is provided at the feedback appointment which outlines all local services available to support you and your child with health, behaviour or education concerns.

Further support and advice

Once the further assessment process is complete and the outcome confirmed a follow up appointment with your child’s Paediatrician or Nurse Practitioner will take place. This will allow you time to discuss the outcome of the assessment and any concerns you may have as a family.

After this appointment your child will be discharged and referred to the Autism Information and Support team. They are available at any time as your child progresses through school.

Support and Advice is available from the following websites:

Rotherham Parent Carers Forum


Tel 01709 296262

Rotherham SEND Local Offer


The Children’s Sleep Charity


Telephone: 07912 667676


Family Lives

The Family Lives website has advice & information for parents at every stage of a child’s life – Early Years Development, Primary and Secondary Education, Teenagers and Bullying. Specifically, they have a section on SEND which provides information and advice about Special Educational Needs, along with sleep advice and fun things to do. 

ADHD and You

This website explains the symptoms and causes of ADHD, how ADHD affects the brain, co-existing conditions and positive traits. It has a section around living with ADHD and an overview of this at each stage in life (childhood, adolescence and adulthood).