This guideline covers recognising and diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children and young people from birth up to 19 years. It also covers referral. It aims to improve the experience of children, young people and those who care for them.
NICE has also produced a guideline on autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- local pathway for recognition, referral and diagnostic assessment of possible autism
- recognising children and young people with possible autism
- referring children and young people to the autism team
- autism diagnostic assessment for children and young people
- medical investigations
- communicating the results from the autism diagnostic assessment
- information and support for families and carers
Who is it for?
- Healthcare professionals
- Children and young people who have or may have autism, and their families and carers
Is this guideline up to date?
We reviewed the evidence in September 2016 and we are updating the recommendations on referring children and young people to the autism team and autism diagnostic assessment for children and young people.
Guideline development process
This guideline was previously called autism diagnosis in children and young people: recognition, referral and diagnosis of children and young people on the autism spectrum.
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.
Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.