In our experience, taking time to fully understand a young person and their family helps us to achieve the best outcomes. And so each MSA journey starts with a detailed assessment of the needs a young person may have.
Once a young person has been referred to us, we will consider the most comfortable setting to meet them and their family. Initial appointments can occur at home, in schools, or at our centre in the New Forest. The first appointment often takes the form of an informal discussion with parents to understand key areas of need. This helps us to establish which other members of the MSA team might need to be involved.
In our professional experience assessment phases can be frustrating for families who feel that 'help hasn't started'. With this in mind we ensure that appropriate interventions are introduced as soon as possible alongside the assessment work. This can, for example, take the form of teachers starting to teach, or the provision of strategies known to reduce anxiety being provided by our therapeutic team.
Following assessment we develop a bespoke intervention plan to fit a child's individual needs. No two plans are the same but examples of what we might recommend are outlined below.
Each MSA plan is managed by a lead practitioner, who co-ordinates all aspects of the education and therapeutic work. Specific evidence based outcome measures are used to monitor progress and the effectiveness of the interventions delivered by our team.
Further details of the therapy and education options we might suggest following assessment are described in the pages within this section.
'Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.' Henry Ford
Ros Urwin, Consultant Occupational Therapist (OT) heads up our team of OT's. Together they can help with a range of difficulties which impact on a young person's ability to participate in learning and everyday life. These include:
OT interventions can include:
Occupational Therapy can be undertaken at Beck Farm in our Sensory Integration space or in the young person's home, school or college.
Our occupational therapists work closely with schools and parents to ensure therapeutic strategies are used in all settings.
In our experience young people with ASD and related conditions, may experience significant difficulties accessing education and acquiring life skills.
In order to tackle these difficulties we offer a range of educational based interventions and outreach opportunities:
MSA can provide psychiatric assessment, diagnosis and treatment for a range of difficulties young people may experience including:
A baseline psychiatric assessment takes into account information from parents, the young person, teachers, the MSA team and professionals who have previously worked with the young person and their family.
Additional assessments may also be required including school observations (to assess a child's behaviour in a classroom setting), and cognitive testing to aid understanding of a young person's learning style and ability.
Treatment options can include:
All interventions are tailored to a young person's unique circumstances and often involve family based approaches and liaison with schools and colleges. This ensures effective strategies can be implemented across a range of environments.
Throughout all of our work we aim to support parents and carers. This can take the form of:
Autism Diagnostic services
MSA can offer different Autism diagnostic pathways.
Dr Macdiarmid and Sandy Teal are trained to undertake Autism diagnostic assessments using standardised tools including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2 (ADOS 2) and 3Di.
Alternatively, we can undertake an assessment for symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder during the initial MSA assessment. This can help to ascertain whether the formal diagnostic service is further required and support a young person and their family in the interim.
Although we can offer diagnostic assessments we prefer to do this alongside therapeutic and educational interventions.
Speech and Language therapy
We work closely with independent speech and language therapists who can identify and meet the full range of communication needs a young person with ASD may present with.
Our Professional Network
Following assessment, we recognise some areas of need may not be met by the MSA team. In these circumstances we can call on our wider professional network and arrange for a young person to receive the required support and treatment.