Fife's Neurodevelopmental Assessment Pathway for children and young people

If you’re worried about your child’s development – try not panic. All children develop differently, and differences do not always have to be a problem. However, if you do have concerns, please contact your child’s teacher or guidance teacher at school or talk to your child’s health visitor if your child is not yet at school.

Many children and young people, including those with neurodevelopmental differences, get all the help and support they need from their parents/carers, wider family, school, and community. In Fife, support is based on need, not on having a diagnosis.Your child should have access to the support they need, if you and the people working with your child think they may be useful.

Neurodevelopmental Assessment

If a child is developing differently, in a way that is causing them significant difficulties, then you and the professional(s) working with your child might think a referral for a neurodevelopmental assessment would be helpful. This process involves families, schools and professionals working collaboratively to gather assessment information about a child over a period of time. The aim is to understand how your child is developing in more detail.

Children and young people should have access to a range supports, prior to a referral for specialist neurodevelopmental assessment being made. A support plan should include strategies that can be put in place in school and at home and/or supports that you or your child can access outside of school.

The process of assessment can take time. The process to support your child includes providing information on what the need may be, how the child/young person is responding to supports, and what helps on a day-to-day basis. These are important considerations when considering whether there is a need for a neurodevelopmental assessment.

Neurodevelopmental assessment can be useful when it’s not clear what a child’s difficulties are, or when people have tried different supports and strategies for some time and your child is still experiencing difficulties which might be caused by an underlying neurodevelopmental difference. However, it is important to know that it won’t change a child’s difficulties, or what supports are available to them in school.

Receiving a Neurodevelopmental Disorder diagnosis

Sometimes, a child referred for a neurodevelopmental assessment may get a diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disorder. A diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disorder is a quick and easy way of describing a few of the most common ways children can develop differently. It also identifies the kinds of strategies that might help. Some examples of this are:

This can help people quickly and easily understand the sorts of strengths and difficulties your child may have.

Following specialist neurodevelopmental assessment, not all children will get a diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disorder. Not all children will need one either. The most important part of supporting anyone is understanding their individual strengths and difficulties and finding the right way to help them achieve their potential. Supports and strategies can be put in place regardless of whether a child has a diagnosis of a specific condition or not.

NHS Fife and Fife Council Education and Children’s Services are working together to ensure everyone understands how children and young people can develop differently, and help families link with services that can support them. For more information about our sources of support, go to Neurodevelopmental support available section of this website.

Fife's Neurodevelopmental Pathway Project

A number of schools in West Fife (Calaiswood School, Woodmill HS and associated primary schools and St Columba’s RCHS and cluster primaries) are currently taking part in The Fife Neurodevelopmental Pathway Pilot. This is a multi-agency, single point of access pathway, to assess children where there are concerns about neurodevelopment. Referral forms for this pathway can only be submitted by schools.

For schools not taking part in The Fife Neurodevelopmental Pathway Pilot, separate assessment pathways for different neurodevelopmental conditions still exist. For example, the Autism Assessment Pathway (AAP) and the ADHD assessment pathway. Referral forms to this pathway can be submitted by a range of professionals.

If you have concerns about a child or young person’s neurodevelopment and would like more information on what to do next, please contact your child’s school or health visitor.