Autism Assessment

The Autism Assessment Service is based in both Harrogate and Hambleton and Richmondshire, and provides an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) assessment and diagnosis pathway for children and young people aged 0-19.

Our Service

The Autism Assessment Service is based in Harrogate and Hambleton and Richmondshire, and provides an autism assessment pathway for children and young people aged 0-19.

The autism assessment is designed to capture a full developmental profile, including identifying strengths and challenges.  We aim to gather information from a range of sources – the child/ young person, their parent(s)/ carer(s), school or other setting and any other professionals involved.

What is autism?

Autism is a word that describes part of the natural variation in how humans think and understand the world. Another word for variation is diversity. Many people have heard of the word biodiversity – this is the variation in living things (e.g. plants and animals).

We know that our world and its environment is strongest when there is a great variety of plant and animal life – biodiversity is important for the survival of our world.  We also know that different plants and animals have different needs.  If they don’t have access to the things they need to thrive, they can struggle to grow and develop properly.

Take trees for example:

  Willows grow best near water.

  Palm trees prefer dry soil.

 Pine trees need sunshine.

 Maples don’t mind shade.

The human world is very similar – we have great variety in how our brains work, our interests, skills and abilities. Variation in how brains work is called neurodiversity.

Some people have brains that encourage them to seek move their bodies in physical ways, want to meet lots of new people and go new places.

Other people might enjoy familiar places and people, love solving maths problems or creating artwork.

The human world is much stronger when we have diversity. Different brains contribute enormously to the world and help humans to be better at problem solving, coming up with new ideas and adapting to different challenges.

Autism is one kind of neurodiversity. Autistic people share some similarities in how their brains work.

For example, autistic people are often different from other people their age in:

  • how they enjoy spending time with other people (e.g. enjoying their own company more than others their age, or having to work harder than other people to make new friends)
  • how they prefer to communicate (e.g. some people prefer not to use words, others might love to talk at length about their hobby)
  • having to work harder to imagine and react to other people’s feelings or attitudes
  • often enjoying familiar surroundings and patterns more than seeking out new experiences
  • having special interests/ hobbies and great attention to detail
  • experiencing certain sensations as overwhelmingly terrible or lovely (e.g. disliking loud noises or loving bright lights)

Just like trees, humans need an environment that suits their unique needs in order to thrive. Autistic people have the right to adjustments to take into account their strengths and the challenges they face growing up a world that’s made for the majority.


Autism Assessment appointments in Harrogate are usually at the Child Development Centre.

This is the address:

Child Development Centre,

Wing F, 207,

Harrogate District Hospital,

Lancaster Park Road,



Hambleton & Richmondshire

Autism Assessment appointments in Hambleton and Richmondshire are usually at the Friarage Hospital Children’s Outpatients Department.

This is the address:

The Friarage
North Yorkshire

Key staff

Dr Beth Billington: Team Lead and Clinical Psychologist

Helen Cairns: Speech and Language Therapist

Laura Edwards: Speech and Language Therapist

Sophie Finch: Speech and Language Therapist

Hayley Hartley: Assistant Psychologist

Dr Ewan McNeill: Clinical Psychologist

Rachel Molyneux: Case Coordinator

Jill Oliver: Speech and Language Therapist

Ali Pritchard: Clinical Psychologist

Susan Saunders: Occupational Therapist

Sharon White: Speech and Language Therapist

Muhammed Ali: Assistant Psychologist
Sarah Barrett: Admin Co-ordinator Vicky McDonald: Deputy Admin Team Lead

Autism Assessment Service Pathway

Useful links: Assessment

Consent and Parent Questionnaire (We will give you the password to open and complete this file when we confirm the referral has been accepted)

Professional’s Questionnaire

Pre-Assessment Information Leaflet

Useful links: Information and Support – Autism

Up to date information on local services for children and young people is available on the North Yorkshire CCG website:

Introductory video to autism: Amazing Things Happen! – YouTube

Introductory video to autism – the Neurobears:

National Autistic Society:

Daisy Chain National Autism Support Helpline:

Useful links: Information and Support – Emotional Wellbeing

Information on children and young people’s mental health services in North Yorkshire is available on The Go-To website This includes links to a marketplace of services ( and needs based guidance for professionals (

CAMHS resources and downloads:

Useful links: Information and Support – SEND & Education

The North Yorkshire SEND information Support Service:

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS) KIDS SENDIASS have developed resources providing information and advice for parents, carers, professionals, and young people.

Useful links: Information and Support – Activities of daily living

Carer’s Resource: ‘Finding help and advice can be confusing and overwhelming.  At Carers’ Resource, we provide emotional and practical support to parent carers. We listen and understand. We can help you find the information you need. We are here for a friendly chat and to help you navigate your parent carer journey.’ Harrogate: 01423 500555

POSCH is a free service for families with special/additional needs children. POSCH offers a ‘listening ear’ and safe space for families through support groups and parent to parent connections. Website:

The HDFT Children’s Health Services App is available to download free to your smartphone via the Google Store or Apple App Store.. It is a useful resource for information on local services for children and young people.

The Sleep Charity:

‘Options Autism’ provides help sheets on things such as helping with teeth brushing, creating mealtime independence etc: