Social Communication and Autism Assessment Service (SCAAS)

Our team is made up of clinical psychologists, paediatricians, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists. We offer assessment of social communication to understand if a child is on the Autism Spectrum. As part of this assessment we may identify other differences in a child’s presentation (such as Developmental Language Disorder or ADHD), however we only accept referrals for children where the primary question is around possible Autism. Assessments are tailored for each child. Some limited post diagnostic support is offered to families, typically in the form of a group.

We accept referrals for children aged from birth to 11 years of age, registered with a Gloucestershire GP. Referrals are accepted from any professional who knows the child well, however we cannot accept referrals from parents or self-referrals.

What are the signs of autism in children?

Signs of autism in younger children can include:

  • not responding to their name
  • avoiding eye contact
  • not smiling when you smile at them
  • getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound
  • repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body
  • not talking as much as other children
  • repeating the same phrases

Signs in older children can include:

  • not seeming to understand what others are thinking or feeling
  • finding it hard to say how they feel
  • liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes
  • having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities
  • getting very upset if you ask them to do something
  • finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on their own
  • taking things very literally – for example, they may not understand phrases like “break a leg”
Making a referral

Referrals can be made to SCAAS by any concerned Health, Education or Social Care professional who knows the child well including Early Years Professionals, Health Visitors, SENCOs and GPs. The referrer’s observations of the child are an important part of the referral information needed. Additional information will be requested from parents.

There is no requirement for specialist education professional assessment (Educational Psychologist/Advisory Teacher) prior to referral.  If an assessment has already been undertaken, the report should be shared with SCAAS.

Pre-Referral Process

Before making a referral please do the following:

  • Discuss your thoughts and concerns with the child’s parent(s) and/or carer
  • If the parent(s) do not agree with a referral being made, continue to monitor and support the child through the Graduated Pathway’* as required
  • If the parent(s) support a referral to SCAAS, discuss the child with the other professionals who are involved and place the child on the Graduated Pathway to ensure that they have appropriate support in place. If the child is 5 or younger and has language needs please consider a referral to speech and language therapy with details of your concerns around the child’s language
  • If all professionals and parent(s) agree a referral to SCAAS is required, complete the referral process and support the parent(s) with completing the family information form (see below)
  • Email the referral form to and include the following:
    • MyPlan/MyPlan+ or EHCP (or equivalent). We would expect all children to be on the Graduated Pathway prior to referral. This should have been discussed during a professionals’ meeting held before the referral. If a child is not accessing education, please contact SCAAS to discuss
    • SENCO/Teacher reports if in a setting
    • Therapy reports (if involved)
    • Reports from Educational Psychology/Advisory Teaching Service if available

*The Graduated Pathway is Gloucestershire’s response to ensuring Early Help is available to all children, young people and their families with additional needs, whether these are educational, social or emotional needs or a disability. You can read more about it here: Graduated Pathway of Early Help and Support FAQs | Glosfamilies Directory

*Referrals will only be accepted with the Family information form and an education information form (unless the child is home schooled).* 

This video will explain the referral process further:

How long might it be before I hear back about a referral?

It will be up to two months until we make our first contact. There is a significant wait for assessment, due to a combination of the need to understand the child’s presentation across contexts and the current high demand for assessments.

When the child has been discussed at our Multi-disciplinary team meeting we will write to the family and referrer to explain what will happen next and, where possible, anticipated timeframes. The graduated pathway will continue to offer monitoring and support whilst the child is await further assessment through our service.

Contact Us

If you are worried about your child but unable to follow the process above for some reason, you are welcome to contact the team to discuss your child further.


Call: 01452 895290

Write to us at SCAAS, Rikenel, Gloucester, GL1 1LY

Unfortunately, due to administrative pressures we are unable to respond to queries about the position of specific children on our waiting list. SCAAS is not a risk management service so is not able to prioritise children based on escalating need. If your child’s mental health, behaviour or educational situation is escalating please contact the relevant service for support with this. Support through the graduated pathway, including requesting an EHCP, is not reliant on a diagnostic assessment.

Other Support

  • SENDIASS provides information, advice and support on matters relating to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities
  • Gloucestershire Parent Carer Forum,  is a Parent Carer led organisation which brings together families of disabled children.  The Forum offers opportunities for families to meet (online and in person) for social and peer to peer support whilst gathering their feedback on services.  The Forum can also signpost you to local support groups and activities for your child.
  • Family Information Service (FIS) provides a wide range of advice on things like family support, education, childcare and activities either on the directory  or you can contact them on 01452 427 362 or email
  • Children and Families Front Door, if support is needed from Gloucestershire County Council services call 01452 42 65 65 or email