New autism centre aims to reduce diagnosis times

Caudwell International Children Centre will provide autism diagnoses within six weeks

Learning disability nurses will have a vital role in a new £18 million autism centre which aims to reduce diagnosis times for families.

Caudwell International Children’s Centre in North Staffordshire

The new Caudwell International Children’s Centre at Keele University in North Staffordshire opened earlier this month.

It combines assessment, diagnosis, family support and autism research in one facility, and aims to provide families with an autism diagnosis in six weeks from initial referral.

Current NHS guidelines say children should receive an assessment in three months.

Placements for nursing students

The centre's multidisciplinary team includes two learning disability nurses: the autism service’s registered manager Julie Harding and family support lead Paul McIlroy.

Nursing students from Keele University will also undertake placements at the centre.

The centre will accept referrals from any health, education or social care professional for children aged 4-11.

Financial support 

Families can receive financial support from charity Caudwell Children to access the service if they have a joint annual income of less than £45,000.

The centre’s construction was partly funded by businessman and founder of Caudwell Children, John Caudwell.

Gold standard care

Caudwell Children’s director of clinical services and research Matthew Johnson said the centre also aims to improve how children receive care.

‘Our objective is to provide a gold standard clinical service and the required evidence base for autism interventions to eventually enter mainstream healthcare, giving families a brighter future following diagnosis,’ he said.

Further information

Caudwell Children

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