"Neil Gordon has been working with my son for several months and has taught us something new every week. My son is aged 3, has ASD and was non verbal and lost in his own world when we first visited Speech House. Neil initially taught him how to communicate with PECS which transformed his life and gave him a means of communication. Following on from this, Neil has taught my son how to verbally request things, how to enjoy playing with others and how to engage in imaginary play."
- Naomi, Mum of two, West Sussex
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of lifelong conditions that impact on how a person communicates with and relates to other people.
Getting an early diagnosis of ASD can be a good thing in that it may help you to understand some of the difficulties your child is experiencing and may help you to access the support you need in helping your child.
Our assessments are delivered using the 'Gold Standard' ADI and ADOS instruments. Following your assessment a report will be provided detailing our findings of your child's strengths and needs and the support they need.
If an ASD is diagnosed we will provide recommendations of which interventions are most likely to improve the management of your child. We are also able to provide a post diagnostic follow-up service in any of the following areas.
Speech and Language Therapy
Parental Support / Parenting advice
Managing Challenging Behaviours
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr Sarah James
Sarah has worked as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist for 16 years both in the NHS and privately specialising in Learning Disabilities and Neurodevelopmental Child Psychiatry. Prior to this she has experience in Adult Psychiatry, Paediatrics and General Practice. Sarah works effectively and holistically with a wide range of mental health difficulties in children and young people.
Sarah is able to undertake mental health assessments of children over seven for a full range of childhood emotional and behavioural problems. She also works with adolescent depression and anxiety and has a special interest in neurodevelopmental disorders including Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Intellectual Disability (ID), Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Tics and Tourette’s Syndrome and other complex developmental difficulties in childhood. NICE compliant multidisciplinary assessments for Autistic Spectrum Disorder can be undertaken (Sarah is ADI 3DI and ADOS trained). Sarah also works with young people and their families with a variety of anxiety and mood disorders. She is holistic in her approach and management including pharmacotherapy as required. Sarah offers ASD multidisciplinary assessments for children over 11 who are usually high functioning children/teenagers.
As well as her Psychiatry training, Sarah has a BSc in Psychology, a Diploma in Child Health (DCH) (paediatric developmental) and a Diploma in Family Therapy. Sarah is experienced in safeguarding issues and complex case management.
Sarah works in the NHS for Sussex partnership in a CAMHS learning disability team. She has a private practice for 7-18 year olds based at: www.elysiumhealthcare.co.uk/locations/brighton-hove-clinic
Making Sense of It – Psychology Services for children, families and Schools.
Dr Bligh and Dr Tilley have established Making Sense of it as a partnership providing psychological services to children, families and schools in the Sussex area. They are both passionate about supporting children to live fulfilling lives. At the heart of their practice, they believe in the importance of relationships and working with the whole family or network surrounding a child. They both have significant experience working with children and adolescents with autism, learning disabilities and other neurodevelopmental conditions, in NHS settings. Dr Tilley and Dr Bligh are both trained in the use of the ADOS-2, a widely used observational assessment which contributes towards an ASD diagnosis. Alongside this, they both have significant experience working therapeutically with children with autism and their families post diagnosis. They have learnt through their practice that providing the right support as early as possible is essential.
Dr Jodie Tilley (C. Psychol AFBPsS) Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Dr Jodie Tilley is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS). Dr Tilley has over 15 years of clinical experience within the NHS including over 10 years post-qualification experience of working with children, adolescents and their families. She holds a First Class Degree in Applied Psychology and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, which covered a range of psychological disorders, therapeutic models and training in working with people across the life span. Dr Tilley has specialised with children and young people, and values working with the whole family and wider system when supporting children.
Since qualifying in 2006, Dr Tilley has worked within the NHS supporting children and families with a range of emotional and behavioural difficulties. This has included working for 6 years within a specialist service for children with autism and learning disabilities who were experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties. This involved working with families to support them with understanding and managing challenging behaviour, supporting children with autistic spectrum conditions and other neurodevelopmental conditions and providing consultation and training within education settings and social services. Dr Tilley has also specialised in working with children and adolescents who are in foster care, residential care or have been adopted. This has included working with a range of difficulties, including the impact of trauma on children’s development, attachment relationships and emotional well-being.
Dr Tilley continues to work part-time in the NHS alongside her private practice at Making Sense of It - Psychology Services for children, families and schools.
Dr Helena Bligh (C. Psychol AFBPsS) Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Dr Helena Bligh is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist specialising in working with children and adolescents. She has twenty years clinical experience working both in the NHS and private settings. Dr Bligh has extensive clinical experience in assessment and therapeutic interventions with children, young people and their families, having worked in education, health and care settings. She has over ten years experience working in a specialist NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS, Sussex Partnership Foundation NHS Trust), supporting children with autism and learning disabilities who present with emotional and behavioural challenges. She regularly enjoys the opportunity to consult with, and offer training to, residential and education teams. Dr Bligh is passionate about working with systems, networks and directly with children and families to achieve the best possible outcomes for young people. She is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist, and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, and has Practitioner status with the Health Professions Council. Dr Bligh works part-time within the NHS alongside her private practice 'Making Sense of It'.
Jigsaw Occuational Therapy
Founded in 2010, by Vicky Ruffle, Jigsaw Occupational Therapy Limited is a specialist provider for children and young people living in the South East of England. They possess a dedicated assessment and sensory integration therapy centre, the first and only one of its kind in Sussex, equipped to provide a high level of service.
Jigsaw Occupational Therapy was set up in order to offer more effective and personalised assessment and therapy specifically designed around each individual child and young person's needs.
Now a family company, they work with children and young people experiencing a wide array of profound and multiple disabilities. Some of these conditions include; cerebral palsy, autism and Asperger's syndrome, sensory processing disorders, acquired brain injuries, motor coordination difficulties and learning disabilities.
Both Vicky and Vanessa Southgate are trained Sensory Integration practitioners and have a wealth of experience working and knowledge to impart to families, schools and professionals.
Vicky Ruffle, Consultant Occupational Therapist
Founder of Jigsaw Occupational Therapy and practising Occupational Therapist, Vicky Ruffle graduated from the University of Southampton in 2002 with a BSc Hons in Occupational Therapy. Since 2003, she has been providing specialised assessment and therapy in the area of paediatrics and is an Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner and holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Sensory Integration.
Vicky has a depth of experience and skills providing assessment and therapy for children and young people who have profound and multiple disabilities, specialising in acquired brain injuries, setting up a service and facilitating children to access their education either in mainstream and special needs schools, in particular a school for children with autism, Asperger's and dyslexia.
Vanessa Southgate, Consultant Occupational Therapist
Vanessa Southgate qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2000 with a post-graduate diploma from the University of Brighton and is an Advanced Sensory Integration practitioner.
Vanessa has gained experience working in a variety of settings. Starting out in adult social services and moving to a lone Occupational Therapist role in a large Community Mental Health Team. Vanessa obtained vast experience of working with people with learning difficulties at a college with a high proportion of students diagnosed with autism. Vanessa is skilled in assessment and treatment of children and young people with sensory integration difficulties.
Speech and Language Therapists
Speech House was established in 2012 with the intention of developing a company that was dedicated to providing high quality evidence based assessment and therapeutic interventions for children and young people with a range of complex speech, language and communication needs as well as eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties. This has led to the development of an Autism Clinic to support children and their families through what can be a challenging time. To ensure that every child gets the best possible support we have created strong professional relationships with like-minded clinicians to create a specialist multidisciplinary team. We have sought the expertise of Dr Sarah Jane (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist) and Dr (Paediatrician), both highly respected in their fields, who have years of ASD diagnostic experience. This will ensure that all of the evidence and assessment finding are expertly brought together and that any diagnosis is considered in line with the most recent evidence base and ASD diagnostic guidelines. As we are dedicated to providing a ‘Gold Standard’ service we also want to make sure that our Autism Clinic is not just about the diagnostic process but also about how the child and their family are supported following the assessment. This is why we have teamed up with, and are thrilled to be working closely with, Jigsaw OT (for their expertise in working with children with a range of physical and sensory needs including their specialist knowledge of Sensory Integration Therapy) and Making Sense of It (for their specialist knowledge of ASD, Attachment Disorders, learning disabilities and other neurodevelopmental conditions). We also have a core team of SLTs who all have years of experience supporting multidisciplinary ASD diagnostic clinics and working directly with children and young people with ASD both in the NHS and privately. Collectively we aim to offer children and their families a tailored assessment and evidence based therapeutic intervention from a core team of professionals all committed to providing high quality support for this client group. We aim to become a leading independent multidisciplinary ASD team setting high standards of ASD diagnostic assessment and post assessment support to the children and their families by establishing a ‘Gold Standard’ ASD care pathway (as recommended in the NICE Guidelines). We aim to work in partnership with local NHS Services to ensure that all children receive the support they need in a timely manner without unnecessary duplication of assessment or input, ensuring that the child always remains at the centre of the process.
Neil Gordon, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Since graduating in 2008 Neil has been working with children who have a range of complex speech, language and communication difficulties in clinic settings, Nurseries and Schools. For the last 5 years Neil has been supporting multidisciplinary ASD diagnostic clinics within the NHS and has been administering ADOS-2 assessments for nearly 3 years with a range of children between 3-11 years of age. Neil has set up ‘ADOS Reliability Meetings’ within his NHS role to ensure that all clinicians administering ADOS-2 assessments have access to a shared learning forum where their ability to accurately gather evidence and score an ADOS can be kept up to date and in line with other clinicians/colleagues. This is something that all clinicians working within the Speech House ASD diagnostic pathway will be expected to access to continue to ensure their administration and scoring remains ‘reliable’. Neil continues to work in the NHS alongside his work with Speech House.
Karen Gregg, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Karen has over 15 years experience of working directly with children of all ages on the Autistic Spectrum. She has worked with these children in a variety of settings, including their own homes, nurseries and schools (mainstream and specialist) and child development centres. She worked for 18 months in a multi-disciplinary team, supporting families of children with Learning Disabilities and challenging behaviour (the majority of whom had Autism) and she was also an integral part of a pre-school Autism diagnostic team in West Sussex for 5 years.
Lucy Magrin, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Founder of Speech House Ltd and practicing Speech and Language therapist, Lucy has over 13 years experience of working with children and young adults who have a range of speech, language and communication difficulties.
Lucy has worked directly with children and young adults on the Autistic spectrum and in a range of settings including residential homes, special schools, nurseries and in a child development centre. In her previous NHS role, Lucy supported paediatricians within a Multidisciplinary ASD Diagnostic clinic and became ADOS trained in 2014.
Esther Hiley, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
Having previously been part of the multidisciplinary team for diagnosing Autism in her last two posts, Esther specialises in Autism Spectrum Disorders and associated neurodisabilities, as well as preschool aged children.
A firm believer that communication is a human right and that struggling with it can be very debilitating, Esther is dedicated to improving people's quality of life by helping them to communicate to their full potential. She is inspired by the variety of her work and the significant positive impact that speech therapy can make.
We specialise in post diagnostic support:
Social Skills Training
Support with managing challenging behaviour
Recognising and managing emotions
Understanding sleep disturbance
Working with restricted diets
Visual timetables and communication
Managing social relationships
Functional and Life Skills
"Speech House has been marvellous, from the moment I contacted the team they have been efficient, and incredibly professional in identifying what support would help my child. We have experienced excellent communication from Neil Gordon, the therapist working with my child, and he has structured the education and coaching so that we too can support the learning. This work has started to make a real impact on how my child functions in social situations. It is a long road, but one that is being eased with Speech House's assistance. We thoroughly recommend Lucy and her team."
- Debbie, West Sussex
For autism assessment in Worthing, call Speech House Ltd on:
07867 482 258