Neuro-developmental pathway

Referrals onto the neurodevelopmental pathway are assessed by a multi-professional team as part of the Children's Services Single Point of Access (SPOA). This pathway is currently only open to children under six years' old (please see the COVID-19 neurodevelopment pathway update below). Learn more by viewing our neurodevelopmental pathway leaflet and our journey plan. There is also a glossary explaining the agencies and teams involved in the pathway.

Referrals are accepted from health, social care, educational or third sector professionals. To make a referral, please download and complete the forms below. Please supply as much information as possible so that we can ensure that the assessment is carried out by the most appropriate professional(s). Referrals will not be processed without the completed questionnaires. Please send all forms together.

Forms to download and complete
  1. Single Point of Access referral form - this form also has links to the questionnaires below, which also need to be completed.
  2. Parent/carer questionnaire 
  3. Teacher questionnaire - nursery/primary school questionnaire - if in a nursery or school setting. 
Returning the completed forms

The completed forms to be sent to:


If you need to discuss a new or existing referral, the SPOA Administrator can be contacted on 0300 7900 264.

South Derbyshire and Derby City Neurodevelopmental Assessment Pathway update:

The Neurodevelopmental assessment pathway is currently the referral pathway into specialist health services for children and young people with suspected Autism (ASD) and/or ADHD. The specialist health services include: Paediatricians, Children's Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy and in a small number of cases, CAMHS. These services are provided by three different NHS Trusts: Derbyshire Healthcare (DHCFT), University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB) and Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS).

Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs) are not reliant on a Neurodevelopmental diagnosis or an appointment with health professionals.

The reasons why we have made the decision to temporarily close the Neurodevelopmental diagnostic pathway

In April this year the three providers met to consider the current waiting list which was nearly 1,000 children and young people. In addition due to the COVID 19 and lockdown pandemic NHS staff were redeployed to other settings/ services and at this time NHS England guidance did not enable the face to face appointment that is required as part of the assessment. Therefore the difficult decision was made to close the neurodevelopmental pathway to any new referrals. This enabled the providers to prioritise the children already waiting to be seen and assessed to progress their assessment as far as possible, to work with our colleagues in the Local Authority and Education, to develop a graduated response (where different help is available tailored to your child’s needs) to children presenting with neurodevelopmental (ASD and / OR ADHD) concerns and to help manage the increasing demand for assessment for diagnosis. 

What services continued to be provided during the first wave of the COVID 19 pandemic (March to September):

The neurodevelopmental pathway remained open for children with special needs who needed to see a Paediatrician and also for children and young people whose mental health and emotional wellbeing had deteriorated and needed to be seen urgently by CAMHS and by the CAMHS Rise Service based at Royal Derby Hospital.

Children and young people who were on the waiting list continued to be assessed using telephone and video platforms and where necessary face to face appointments or consultations.

What other services are being provided now (from September):

  • Health visitor services for the under fives - you can attend a child health clinic, you do not need to make an appointment. They can offer advice on your child’s development; offer parent / carer support and have links with other professionals.
  • The first point of contact for any parent concerned about their child’s special educational needs is the child or young person’s school, college or nursery. All have a SEND lead and they will support parents, and coordinate support with the local authority and relevant health professionals. For access to independent information and advice, parents can visit
  • GP services
  • Children under six years' old requiring an assessment for autism can be referred to the Paediatricians via the single point of access - details on this page, see above.

This is recognising that families will be at the start of their journey and an assessment will form part of a joint support package for the family whilst their child is at an early age.

Please note that for children under six years of age the parent questionnaire needs to be completed. 
Also, the school concerns questionnaires which are attached to the SPOA referral also need to be completed if the child is attending an educational placement. (Vanderbilt questionnaires are not required for this age group). 

This information is really important and without these forms the referral cannot be processed and will be returned to the referrer.

Due to pressures within the system the difficult decision has been made to not open the neurodevelopmental pathway for children and young people aged 6 years old and over who request an assessment for ADHD or Autism at this time. This is due to increasing demand over the past 3 years across all three Health Providers involved in the neurodevelopmental assessment pathway delivery (UHDB, DCHS and DHCFT). Due to the limited clinical time available we need to ensure that we maximise the benefit to children and families through the support to schools and families the assessment pathway provides.

As NHS services resume seeing patients we are constantly reminded of the COVID19 risks associated with increased face to face contact. As a system we can assure you that all of our services and clinics are reviewed regularly to ensure that they are Covid19 safe and that staff will be wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in accordance with the clinical setting. 

The health providers have also started to use online video platforms and telephone consultations to improve access to services.

Our plans moving forward

We are working very closely with the commissioners, the Local Authority, Education and other specialist health providers and parent/carer representatives to review the pathway. This includes: a whole system review, the graduated response to Special Educational Need and Disability (SEND) requirements (i.e. support pre/during/post pathway) and a review of the single point of access to improve the efficiency and quality of the referral process. 

We will post a further update on this web site at the end of November.

Useful Contacts:
Derby City Council Local Offer -

Derbyshire County Council Local Offer -!/directory

If a parent / carer / professional is concerned you should seek advice from your child’s education provider.

If you child is not in education you can contact the health visiting service (if your child is under five) or your GP.

Who made the decision to suspend the ND Pathway?

Following COVID-19 guidance on critical service provision from National Health Service England, the mutual decision was made by Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton and Derbyshire Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to temporarily suspend the ND Pathway.

Why has the ND Pathway been suspended?

The ND Pathway has been suspended due to the impact of COVID-19 on acute and community essential services within Derby City and Derbyshire. NHS England gave clear indication of the critical essential services that would be delivered during this time.

When will the ND Pathway resume?

During this period of uncertainty, we currently cannot advise a timescale for the pathway resuming. Please be aware that updates on the position of the ND Pathway will be available on the link:

Will referrals that have already been accepted be affected?

Children with referrals that have been triaged by the ND Pathway will still be offered their assessments, but there are expected to be delays in waiting times due to the clinical restraints that have arisen from the COVID-19 situation.

My referral has been rejected due to the pathway suspension; do I have to resubmit this when the pathway has resumed?

Yes. All referrals that have been rejected at the time of the suspension of the ND Pathway will need to be resubmitted once the pathway has reopened. This is to ensure that we have the most current information available to accurately triage a referral.

What if a referral is not regarding neurodevelopmental concerns?

As per COVID-19 guidance, referrals for other concerns which are not a request for specialist ASD or ADHD assessments are still being triaged and should still be sent via the appropriate pathway.

What support is available in the meantime? 

Building Sound Minds: This service offers one-to-one support, group work, telephone and online support for children and young people aged 0-17 who are experiencing mild to moderate mental health difficulties. 

Kooth: This service offers digital mental health services for children, young people and adults and provides counselling and emotional wellbeing strategies online 

Parent Carers Together:  Representing parents and carers of children and young people aged 0-25 years with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), available within in Derby City. 

SENDIASS: Derby Special Educational Needs & Disability, Information, Advice and Support Service. This organisation provides free, legally based, impartial, confidential and accessible information, advice and support for children, young people and parents/carers, with or without a diagnosis for families in Derbyshire or Derby City.

Early Help Assessment: Parents/carers can liaise with referrers for the possibility of providing an Early Help Assessment (EHA) to identify behavioural support that could be offered.

Local Offer: A hub of information and advice for children and young people from 0 to 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families available in Derby City and Derbyshire: or

Qwell: Online counselling and wellbeing for adults 

COVID-19 Anxiety Help:

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