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Diagnosis and Care Pathway

Where can I get help?

If you have autism, or someone you know has autism, you can find information here about how you can get a diagnosis, and what happens next.  This is called the Diagnosis and Care Pathway, and is for all people with autism, including Asperger Syndrome, in Cornwall.

There are a variety of options depending on the age of the person, and any other conditions that they also have, eg learning disability, mental health needs.  

You can view the basic information as a diagram if you find it easier to understand.  

Diagnostic services for children and adults

To find out more about getting a diagnosis of autism for you, or someone you know. 


If you think your child may have autism, the Cornwall Foundation NHS Trust (CFT) offer a diagnosis service for children. See the CFT Autism Spectrum Disorders Assessment Team webpage for more information.


If you are or you know someone who is an adult who has a severe learning disability and may have autism, and is under the care of CFT, they are able to offer a diagnostic service. See the CFT Adult LD Service webpage for more information.

If you are or you know someone who is an adult who has a severe / enduring mental health need and may have autism, CFT offer a diagnostic service. See the CFT Community Mental Health Service webpage for more information.

If you are or know someone who is an adult who may have autism but does not have a learning disability or a mental health need, Outlook South offer a diagnostic service. See the Outlook South West website for more information. 

For information on where to get support following diagnosis, please see Care and support services for children and adults below.

Social care assessments for children and adults

Information about social care assessments, and how to arrange one, for yourself or someone you know. 

What is a Social Care Assessment?

A care assessment is a chance for us to look at your social care needs and work with you to find out which services will best help you to live independently.  There is no charge for a care assessment.

Social care needs are:

  • Making sure you eat well
  • Looking after yourself
  • Help with day to day living
  • Emotional wellbeing and mental health
  • Supporting your family and friends to care for you

People's needs are categorised into one of 4 bands of risk to independence and wellbeing: critical, substantial, moderate or low. The Council will provide or arrange for services for people assessed in the critical and substantial bands, but not for those in the moderate and low bands. For more information please see the Eligibility Criteria webpage.


Cornwall Council Disabled Children and Therapy Service is the specialist and statutory social care service that carries out social care assessments and provides services to children and young people with disabilities, including autism. Information can be found on the Children and Young People with Disabilities webpage.

Young People in Transition

Transitions Services currently have a countywide team that work with young people and their families that are going through the transition to adulthood. Transitions can be an anxious time for young people and their parents/carers. They may be unsure about what to expect and what help may be available in order to plan for the future. Information about moving from children’s services to adult services can be found on the Transition to Adulthood webpage. 


Cornwall Council Learning Disability Service carries out social care assessments for adults with autism and a learning disability, and also for adults with autism that do not have a learning disability or mental health need. Information on making a referral can be found on the Access Service webpage.

You will need to tell the Access worker that you have autism and would like to request a social care assessment. The Access worker will ask you some questions to find out what you need and how best you can be helped. If your needs are identified as low or moderate, i.e. you need just a little help to manage at home, the Access worker may offer you some advice and/or signpost you towards a voluntary or community based service. If the Access worker thinks your needs are a substantial or critical risk to your independence and wellbeing, they will arrange for someone to assess your needs in more detail, and help you to work out what support and assistance you need.

CFT undertake social care assessments for adults with autism and severe/ enduring mental health needs. See the CFT Community Mental Health Service website for more information.

Education support services for children and young people

The services listed here offer support both to parents whose children have a diagnosis, and those who don't.  They can support your child through the disagnosis process, and offer advice in managing your child's behaviour, working with early years settings and schools, etc, and signpost to other services as appropriate. 

Children aged under 4

If you think your 0-4 year old is showing behaviours that may indicate autism, go to the Early Years Inclusion Service Autism Support Worker webpage for information on support and interventions.

Children of school age

If you think your 4-16 year old may have autism, go to the Autism Spectrum Team webpage for information on getting support with their educational needs.

Young people aged 13-25 (Transition)

Young people with autism aged between 13 and 19, or in some cases aged up to 25, will receive support to transition between children's services and adults' services. Careers Southwest can help people to plan the support they need when in education and employment. Have a look at the Careers Southwest website for more information.

Care and support services for children and adults

More information about care and support services for people with autism.

Children and young people

The Family Information Service Directory provides information on services and events for children and young people and their parents / carers.


The Cornwall Community Directory provides information on adult social care, health and other support services, events and activities in Cornwall.


The National Autistic Society Autism Service Directory provides information on services and support for people with autism, their families and people who work with them throughout the UK.