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Scottish programme improved accuracy and speed of autism diagnosis

Spectrum reports on a programme funded by the Scottish Government as part of the Autism Strategy which helped reduce waiting times for an autism diagnosis. Anne O’Hare, professor of child life and health at the University of Edinburgh, explains how a study revealed that the information collected before assessment varied and often delayed diagnosis. A programme was devised to improve training of the people who provide this background information such as nurses, teachers and other professionals. A standardised online reporting system was established to gather this information and the child was then seen by a multi-disciplinary team of experts. A year after the programme was implemented, the waiting time between seeking and receiving a diagnosis were cut from 270 to 122 days. 

She adds that this successful model of professional training, comprehensive information gathering and interdisciplinary teams of diagnosticians can be replicated elsewhere.

Date added: 22 February 2018