How do I use the tool for my child or young person?
If you think your child or young person may be showing signs of autism, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), Dyspraxia, or other neuro-developmental needs, you can request the ND profiling tool to be completed.
This will be done jointly with a trained professional alongside your child or young person if appropriate and your family. Usually these are people who work with children or young people, so you are encouraged to speak to your health visitor, nursery, school or college to request a profile in the first instance.
The Tool has been informed by past research, clinical best practice and coproduction with local young people and parents, and professionals. (see research section).
How will the pathway work?
You will use the 9 area of the profile to build a personalised strength and differences profile for the young person and support structures. This will help everyone understand the language being used and will involve a wide range of individual who is involved in the child’s life. Importantly, this tool is far more flexible than the current pathway, as you’ll be able to track any changes that the child/young person may face. Additionally, a quick and easy to read visual guide of where they currently stand, and how that changes over the months.
Each member MUST work together in co-production with each other to build the profile This includes the child, the parent and the lead professional and/or teacher. This will lead to the most effective outcomes, and greater satisfaction and wellbeing. Everyone’s voice needs to be heard and respected.
Building a Main profile
Referring to the main profiling tool, you will see 9 lines, each with the headings on the left-hand side in grey boxes which area of the subsection they represent.
The intention is that people using this tool will mark off with a cross where they decide that child lays on the spectrum, with any crosses closer to the left-hand side indicating lower ability, and crosses on the right-hand side indicating a higher ability.
Before you start using the Profiling Tool, there are some other things you will want to discuss that relate the child/young person before any decision are made on where you are going to place them on the neurodiversity subsections. These are:
As is well known, poor diet and sleeping cross over with some of the neurodiversity spectrums.
Masking is when a neurodivergent person tries to cover up their traits by copying the behaviours of people who are not neurodivergent. Masking may be seen as a way for some neurodivergent people to fit in socially, avoid being stigmatized, or feel more accepted.
It’s important to have the correct amount of sleep to build up enough energy for the day’s activities. Sleep is vital to children’s health, wellbeing, learning and development.
It is well documented that neurodivergent people have significantly different sensory experiences than neuro-typical individuals which include both hyper and hypo sensitivities. In the context of eating, this means being sensitive to how foods look, smell, taste & feel. Interoception (awareness of internal states) is another key factor to consider as it enables the recognition of hunger and the sense of feeling full.
In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly we also recommend conversations around:
- childhood experiences
- bladder and bowel difficulties
- vision and hearing
The experiences we have early in our lives and particularly in our early childhoods have a huge impact on how we grow and develop, our physical and mental health, and our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Two important factors to think about when considering our mental wellbeing, are the quality of our attachment relationships and our experience of Adverse Childhood Experiences ACEs. Please see the Childhood Experiences section for more information
Bladder and bowel difficulties
Children with rigidities, anxiety, or sensory preferences may develop a pattern of retaining their poos (known as stool withholding) and their wees. This eventually lessens the neural signals to the brain which indicate the sensation for needing the toilet, and this puts children at a greater risk of having bladder and bowel dysfunction. – Please see the Bladder and Bowel section for more information.
Vision and hearing
Make sure you have had your child’s vision and hearing checked to make sure they don’t have any problems. They should have a school screening for both in Year 1 but you can request a test at any time- Please see the Vision and Hearing section for more information.
How often should the profile be reviewed?
It is entirely up to you how often you review the profile. Someone familiar with you child could review profiles with you on a termly basis, to identify if your child has responded positively to the interventions and support made available.
The Neurodiversity profile does have the ability to show improvements over time.