The Cheyne Child Development Service

What to expect when your child is referred 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Social Communication Pathway (SCD)?

The SCD Pathway involves assessment, diagnosis, support and intervention for children referred to the Child Development Service who present with social communication difficulties. We hope to gain an understanding of your child’s strengths and difficulties across three areas: social interaction, social communication and social imagination.

Following the assessment, we will decide if a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will be useful in explaining your child’s pattern of difficulties.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

ASD is a developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Individuals with ASD have difficulties with social interaction, social communication and social imagination.

For more information on ASD visit the National Autistic Society

Why do I need to give consent?

We require consent to ensure that you understand and are happy with why we are assessing your child and what will happen during, and after, the assessment. We also seek consent for us to gain and share information with other agencies (e.g. school) that support you and your child, so we can understand your child’s strengths and difficulties across different contexts.

If you are unsure about giving consent, please contact us to discuss this further as this may impact on whether the assessment goes ahead. 

What assessments may be completed on the SCD Pathway?

Families may be invited to a number of different appointments. We may also liaise with your child’s school/nursery to gain further information. Your child’s assessment will vary depending on their individual needs, which may include:

  • Developmental history: A structured interview with parents about your child asking questions about their birth, development and medical history focussing on communication and social interaction.
  • Structured Diagnostic Interview: A structured interview with parents which asks specific questions about your child’s social communication skills.
  •  Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) assessment: An assessment of your child’s communication skills  may be carried out through a variety of tasks and activities.
  • Autistic Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS): A structured play and question-based assessment completed with your child.
  •  Nursery Questionnaires: To gain additional information about your child within the school/nursery context we will ask a member of staff who knows your child well to complete a series of questionnaires about your child’s social communication, learning and behaviour. 

Who is involved in assessing my child on the SCD Pathway?

  • Paediatrician: A team of Paediatricians with a special interest in Social Communication Disorders
  • Speech and Language therapist: A team of specialist Speech and Language Therapists experienced in the assessment of social communication difficulties.

Are any other agencies involved?

We will normally contact your child's school/ nursery and any other professionals involved in your child’s care. This helps us to get a fuller understanding of their strengths and difficulties across different settings.

Who should I contact for further information?

The SCD Pathway Coordinator is the main point of contact for all queries regarding appointment times, cancellations etc.

Cheyne SCD Coordinator: 020 3315 3153

What will happen after the assessment?

  • A report summarising the assessment findings will be sent out and shared with other agencies with your consent (e.g. Nursery).
  • We will refer your child to other services if required.
  • If your child receives a diagnosis of ASD you will be invited to our post-diagnosis support groups. 

Contact Us

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

Cheyne Child Development Service
Doughty House

Main Reception: 020 3315 6488
SCD Coordinator: 020 3315 3153
Clinical Nurse Specialist: 

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