The BC Autism Assessment Network team at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children (SHHC) used family and clinician feedback to adapt an arena assessment model of care that trained speech language pathologists (SLPs) to provide developmental assessments.  Using a team approach, SLPs worked alongside Developmental Pediatricians to provide more timely autism assessments for children under 36 months. The outcomes included reduced wait times from first assessment to diagnosis (8 weeks to 2 weeks) and overall number of visits (from 4 to 2), increasing patient safety and supporting families in accessing intervention resources in a timelier manner. This model of care also reduced assessment costs for children less than 36 months and freed up psychology resources to be redirected to older children awaiting psychology assessments, reducing their assessment wait times. Identifying a non-psychologist-required developmental assessment tool and training SLPs to provide developmental assessments enabled SLPs to develop new skills and an expanded scope of practice. The adapted arena assessment model is now a standard pathway at SHHC for any pre-Kindergarten child (exception: children who present with complex developmental profiles or with concerns about intellectual disability).  Many families now receive a diagnosis on the same-day or within-one-week of the assessment. The arena model maintains best practice of assessing autism using a multidisciplinary team while streamlining the assessment process for the family so that children and families receive timely care, increasing patient safety and family supports. The results are high satisfaction outcomes from families and clinicians and increased team dialogue and trust.

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