Services

Assessment of Cognitive Abilities & Educational Skills:

Children develop at very different rates and this process is not linear. However, there may be times when the child's limitations become more pronounced and concerning, which may precipitate an assessment.
Academic underachievement has significant long term implications, including the way a child perceives themselves. This is often carried into adulthood. This process can be interrupted.
Educational and neuropsychological assessment involves administering a series of standardised tests that measure the performance of different areas of the brain. The results are considered in the context of a child's behaviour, history and the presenting questions. Through looking at the pattern of results and how the young person responds to tasks in the context of other information gathered, it is possible to understand areas of limitation that contribute to or create particular difficulties.
The assessment process allows a detailed understanding of a child's strengths and weaknesses, which makes it possible to develop an intervention plan that is personalised and based on what the research tells us works.
Understanding the pattern of results can be a powerful way of understanding difficulties whilst also enabling a young person's true academic potential and emotional well-being to be promoted. The assessment process will always aim to enhance a parents' capacity to respond to their child's developmental and related emotional needs.
Depending on the questions raised, testing considers overall intellectual ability, visual-perceptual skills, ability to coordinate vision with movement, motor coordination, receptive and expressive language skills, learning and memory, planning, organisational skills together with attention. An assessment of educational skills (literacy and numeracy) is always included to identify academic progress, together with any areas of weakness.
Lucy is a certified assessor of the Qb, which is a highly sensitive measure of attention control.

Assessment of Social Communication & Autism Spectrum Conditions:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. Symptoms of ASD are often apparent early in a child's life. Symptoms exist on a continuum, with milder idiosyncrasies existing alongside more impairing presentations of the condition.
ASD is a lifelong neurodevelopment condition. It is very commonly under-recognised in adolescents, particularly able females. A significant portion of children referred to our assessment clinic also have unrecognised learning difficulties and co-occurring conditions. The identification of these is critical to a child's longer-term prognosis and emotional well-being. Obtaining a detailed ASD assessment enables parents and others to be able to support a child better. It can clarify whether any additional support or resources are required.
Lucy jointly runs the assessment service with Professor David Skuse (About Prof David Skuse). They specialise in the multi-disciplinary assessment of social communication difficulties in young people with typical-range or high intelligence, using internationally regarded standardised measures.
Both Dr Lucy and Prof David are internationally renowned clinicians, both of whom are involved in research into ASD.
An multi-disciplinary assessment confirms whether a diagnosis is appropriate and enables the level of severity to be established with detailed precision. It may offer an explanation for the difficulties the child may be experiencing. The evaluation always provides detailed information to help plan the most appropriate care, education and longer term support.
Assessment measures used include the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2), which consists of standard activities to be administered with the child. This enables key social behaviours appropriate for different developmental levels and chronological ages to be elicited and observed. The tasks vary according to the level of expressed language and may encompass imitation play, playing with balloons and bubbles to creative play and conversational components for older children. The results are quantified via diagnostic algorithms.
A cognitive and educational assessment is always administered to the child at the same time as the ADOS-2 to ascertain the child's developmental progress and academic attainment. This enables areas of strength and resilience, together with any areas of further limitation to be identified. An evaluation of ADHD is always included.
The 3DI assessment is a computerised clinical diagnostic instrument that is used with the child's parents. It is a very detailed interview which focuses on reciprocal social interaction, communication and language, restricted and repetitive behaviour, stereotyped interests and sensory sensitivities.
The assessment always includes comprehensive liaison with the child's nursery or school, which encompasses the child's teacher completing a series of standardised measures, which are integrated into the assessment results and clinical decisions.
Our evidence-based service considers suspected chromosomal abnormalities, gene disorders including fragile X and 22q deletion.
An evaluation of ADHD is always included.
We may suggest additional assessment from a reputable speech and language therapist and occupational therapist, whilst also providing recommendations for future management and treatment.
This diagnostic assessment service is available to families within the UK and internationally, with referrals commonly accepted from Embassies.

Social Groups – PEERS®:

UCLA – PEERS®:

Learning social skills is a lifelong journey for all of us, but especially for those with social challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorder. With the appropriate supports, education and practice, it is possible to develop the key skills these young people want and need to navigate relationships, employment, and the world more generally.
Lucy is a passionate believer that it is possible to influence how severe autism and social communication difficulties are and that young people can compensate for their limitations. This has to be done in a certain way over a sustained period for it to be successful.
PEERS® is one of the few programmes that has a strong evidence-base for those with autism spectrum disorder and social struggles. It is also commonly used for young people with attention-deficit, social anxiety and other socioemotional problems. PEERS® has been disseminated to over 40 countries worldwide.
The sessions rest on the basic principle that any complex skill requires instruction and lots of practice, with targeted feedback. Without feedback, it's very easy to end up rehearsing errors rather than skills that work.
The PEERS® Programme emphasises live practice, with continual close guidance from our Speech & Language Therapist and Behavioural Therapist. We help parents to provide effective support for developing social skills outside of sessions to ensure necessary generalisation and transfer of skills.
The programmes use interactive and didactic instruction, plus behavioural rehearsals to promote targeted social skills, together with video demonstrations. A parent is required to support their child though attending a parallel parents group.
  • PEERS® for Adolescents: This is a 16-week evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated tweens and adolescents who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. We divide the age range into two groups (aged 11 to 14 and 15-18).
  • PEERS® for Young Adults: This is a 16-week evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated young adults (18 years and above) who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends, and to develop intimate relationships.

Upcoming Groups:

PEERS® for Young Adolescents (ages 11-15)

Starting early March 2020
16 sessions – Fridays (immediately after school)

PEERS® for Older Adolescents (ages 16-20)

Starting early 2020
16 sessions – Fridays (immediately after school/University)
If you are interested in booking onto any of the programmes, please get in touch and Dr. Lucy or one of her PEERS® colleagues will think with you about whether the programme is a good fit for your family.
Please make contact here if you would like to be told when the next PEERS® group is due to take place.

More detailed information

PEERS® is designed for motivated young people aged 11 and above who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. During each group session they are taught important social skills and they practice these skills in session through role plays, during real play activities (e.g. interactive games) and video analysis. Each week there is an integral 'homework' component in which the young person is asked to practice their new skills.
Parents are taught how to assist their children in making and keeping friends in their separate group session. They are expected to provide feedback to their child through coaching during the weekly socialisation assignments.
The PEERS® programme has been shown to be effective through multiple randomised controlled trials and post-treatment gains have been found after five years following the programme. The research evidence from the programme highlights increased social skills and knowledge, more frequent "get-togethers", improved overall social skills including: cooperation, assertion and responsibility, gains in social responsiveness to others and increased overall social skills.
Topics of Instruction include:
  • How to use appropriate conversational skills
  • How to find common interests by trading information
  • How to appropriately use humour
  • How to enter and exit conversations between peers
  • How to handle rejection, teasing, and bullying
  • How to handle rumours and gossip
  • How to be a good host during get-togethers
  • Making phone calls to friends
  • How to choose appropriate friends
  • Being a good sport
  • How to handle arguments and disagreements
  • Changing a bad reputation
The PEERS® Program for Young Adults also includes skills for:
  • Dating & Romantic Relationships

Parenting for Behavioural Problems, Inattention & ADHD:

For those children who have limitations in their behaviour, sustained attention or have a diagnosis of ADHD, It is possible to learn ways to improve the problems it causes. Lucy is able to offer focused evidence-based information on non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions.
These encompass the use of behavioural parenting strategies using social learning theory, appropriate environmental modifications, reasonable adjustments for school, considering the risks and difficulties attached to pharmacological support.
Even if medicine is considered useful, it is important for parents and teachers to develop core strategies for managing unwanted behaviours linked to ADHD and inattention alongside the medicine. This is the first line treatment recommended by NICE Guidelines, Dept. of Health and offers the best long term outcomes for children and young people with these difficulties.
The sessions are offered to parents of those children Lucy has assessed. It is possible to offer these appointments via conference call and skype, including different international locations, if the child's parents are not in the same place for the appointment time.
In some instances, if a child has co-occurring social communication difficulties alongside the inattention or ADHD, Lucy recommends that a colleague visits the child at home to undertake some social building work alongside the parenting sessions.

Consultations & Long-term Review:

For those children Lucy has assessed, she can offer additional consultations focusing on how to support the child, should additional thinking time be sought for parents and professionals. This may be particularly appropriate as children negotiate transitions in their education and development more generally.
It is typical for Lucy to review a young person's progress through the course of their childhood, through administering additional standardised assessments within agreed timeframes.

Telehealthcare:

For young people located outside London or internationally, Lucy can provide neurodevelopmental expertise using telecommunication technologies. This aims to support children whose parents work within an Embassy or for countries where there is reduced service provision.  Working alongside professionals within the child's school or home to develop key skills in their communication, social interaction, play and education is typical.
For those children Lucy has assessed, a select number of children and parents are supported via international multi-disciplinary teams.