Home icon

Advice for families

Home icon

Useful information whilst waiting for an assessment

Waiting for an assessment and support can be hard especially when a child has difficulties, which may include challenging behaviour. This can be both draining and demanding for a parent however you know your child best and have probably adopted strategies to help support them. Because parents can play a really important role in helping their child, we have provided some information that may help assist what you are doing already.

  • What you can do

Maintain clear and consistent boundaries so that the child knows what is expected of them and what to expect from you. However, if your child struggles to process information, has a poor attention span or have high energy levels, they could easily become frustrated with the instructions that are given.

  • Top tips
  • Keep instructions simple and specific, breaking them down if needed
  • It is helpful to give any instructions calmly and slowly on what you would like them to do. Ask them to repeat back the instruction to you and repeat back to them if they are unsure.
  • Visual aids can help, for example a simple list of what is required in written or picture form. Placing the list somewhere where it can be seen clearly and easily by the child or young person
  • Make any changes clear to the young person in advance so that they can predict what is going to happen next
  • Break tasks up into smaller clusters with breaks in between to help keep them on task
  • If your child or young person are finding a task difficult to do, acknowledge this and recognise the effort that they are showing, for example ‘I can see that this is difficult for you but I can see how hard you are trying’
  • Praise and acknowledge them for their efforts towards achieving the request and for when they are displaying behaviour that is positive and you would like to see more of
  • Reward systems will help to reinforce praise and is a visual reminder of their efforts
  • Take time to look after yourself, looking after a child with additional needs can be very draining so self-care will help when times are difficult
  • If your child is demonstrating similar behaviour in school, share any successes with them so that they are aware of what helps you as a family
  • Local support

There are local support groups within Oxfordshire that you can access whilst you are waiting for an assessment.

Bicester Autism/ADHD (www.bicesterautismadhd.co.uk)

This is a local support group which consists of parents of special needs children. They meet a few times a month; meetings are very informal. Everyone is welcome whether you have a diagnosis or not. Their aim is to raise awareness and increase understanding in our community.


SHIFT Abingdon (www.shift-abingdon.org.uk)

This is an informal group of parents and carers of children with special needs. It meets in the Corner Suite at Christchurch, Northcourt Road, Abingdon. Going along to a support group may be the last thing on your mind, but they are group of parents facing similar issues. They get together fortnightly in term time to chat about the joys and difficulties of parenting a child with special needs. Some weeks they have visits from professionals and organisations who pop in for an informal chat to give more information about their services. There is always coffee, chat & cake and a friendly welcome.


Support at school

If the SENSS team are not already involved, the school could contact them – there is a wealth of information regarding SEN on the Local Education Authority’s website, and the SENSS team is able to work with all children with social communication difficulties, including those without a diagnosis; contact details can be found on the Oxfordshire County Council website


If the school believe further funding is required to meet your child’s needs, they can start the EHC assessment process without a diagnosis as the behavioural and educational needs are already existent and current legislation highlights how the process should not be delayed whilst waiting for further assessments; part of the process also requires an educational psychologist assessment whilst waiting for the wider neurodevelopmental assessment 

Oxfordshire ADHD protocol

Oxfordshire has developed the ADHD protocol which highlights behavioural management as the first line of treatment for ADHD symptoms; school can follow the framework, if not already doing.

Last updated: 11 October, 2019