The purpose of the multidisciplinary assessment, is to determine the specific areas where a child may require support. The paediatricians will advise on those areas where your child would benefit from in-depth assessment and subsequent diagnosis, by our team of experts. This will be followed by recommendations on therapies and educational scaffolding, as appropriate.
The Child and Family Practice was established in 1994 by Dr Arnon Bentovim, on his retirement as Consultant in Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health, at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. Key to Dr Bentovim’s plan, was the creation of a multidisciplinary assessment team of specialist clinicians.
Professor Ricky Richardson joined the Child and Family Practice at Dr Bentovim’s invitation putting the principles into practice. Professor Richardson has been associated with Great Ormond Street since 1978. He continues to practice there, as a consultant neurodevelopmental paediatrician and is also Visiting Professor of e-Health at Imperial College, London.
In November 2019, Dr Ben Ko joined the team as a neurodevelopmental paediatrician. Dr Ko has a an extensive clinical portfolio in the field of neurodisability and child development, covering physical disabilities, learning difficulties, autism, developmental coordination disorder (dyspraxia), and the full range of developmental disorders. He is recognised as a national expert on Special Education Needs and has written national advice and guidance on the subject.
When a child is presenting with traits that may suggest autism, specialist diagnostic testing may be recommended. This is generally conducted by two clinicians, in order to validate the diagnosis.
The psychiatric team comprises Dr Roger Kennedy (lead), Dr Rakendu Suren and Dr Zaib Davids, providing a child and adolescent psychiatric assessment of children and families. This focuses on looking at issues of diagnosis, treatment and management. If appropriate, therapeutic support or follow up are offered as part of the service.
It is particularly important to have a psychiatric view of a child, especially when looking at possible diagnosis of Autism, ADHD and depression; in these cases, medication may be necessary.
The psychometric cognitive skills assessments are carried out by a team of clinical, educational and neuropsychologists, led by Dr Sue Harrison. Additional members are Dr Ruth Erskine, Dr Justine McCarthy-Woods, Dr Angela Simcox, Julia Avnon and Dr Rachael McCarthy.
The role of the Psychologist, is to assess a child’s cognitive ability, using internationally recognised tests of intellectual ability and academic achievement, such as the Wechsler Scales. The assessments look at thinking skills to discover how children learn and to identify what might be impacting on learning. They can establish level of intellectual ability and identify whether specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, processing or memory problems are present.
A detailed report of the assessment findings is provided which includes recommendations that are tailored to the child or young person’s specific needs.
Psychoanalytic & Psychotherapy
The psycho-emotional assessment is undertaken by a team of child & adolescent psychotherapists, and family & systemic therapists, led by Donnette Neil. Adam Duncan, Marigemma Rocco-Briggs and Lesley Maroni Child are adolescent psychotherapists, with Reenee Singh and Annie Flower managing family & systemic matters.
The role of the child & adolescent psychotherapist is to undertake a qualitative assessment of the patient’s state of mind.
A developmental history is taken in order to evaluate current difficulties and make a prognosis for future development. The clinician will spend time observing first-hand, how a child functions in a semi-structured setting. The clinician is also trained to listen closely and observe how the child plays as part of the overall assessment. A description of the child’s current emotional state and areas of emotional strengths and vulnerabilities will be provided; these factors are key to a child’s ability to maintain healthy relationships and/or access education. Where appropriate, a psychotherapist will make recommendations for treatment that may include individual psychotherapy, family-systemic therapy or supportive parent work.
Therapists providing family & systemic support, observe family patterns, interactions and relationships, as these may contribute to the patient’s difficulties. Further information on what is involved, will be provided by Donnette Neil.
Speech and Language Therapy
The team is led by Ruth Jacobs MSc MRCSLT and additional members are Philip Robinson BSc MRCSLT, Jenn Warwick MSc MRCSLT and Suada Dika BSc MRCSLT
Patients are seen for evaluation and advice regarding:
• Speech/Language Delay
• Speech-sound production difficulties
• Developmental Language Disorder
• Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
• Dysfluency (Stammering / Stuttering / Cluttering)
• Disorders of social communication
• Higher-order language difficulty
• Difficulties with oral and written comprehension or expression
• Selective Mutism
Follow-up treatment is offered at the practice whenever possible, in conjunction with a home-based or school-based programme. In some circumstances, an onward referral may be recommended.
We are always happy to discuss parental concerns.
Physiotherapy / Occupational Therapy
Led by Laura Irwin and additional member Nila Lakhani. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy services address concerns relating to:
• Motor skills
• Visual perception
• Sensory processing skills
• Attention control
• Self -care skills ( dressing, using cutlery, toileting)
• Organisational skills
Following an assessment, the physiotherapist/occupational therapists use carefully selected activities to help children develop the motor, sensory, perceptual and organisational skills they need to be independent in everyday activities of self- care, play and schoolwork.
The sensory integration section of the MDA is based at Hopscotch Children’s Therapy Centre.. It is headed by Dimitrios Mylonadis, a leader in the field of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).
Sensory integration is a neurobiological process that organises sensations from the body and the environment and lays down the foundation for the development of motor skills, learning and behavioural organisation. Dimitrios’ therapy team specialise in the assessment of sensory processing issues, in children with a range of neurodevelopmental difficulties (such as autism, dyspraxia and ADHD). The assessment covers the following areas: the child’s sensory systems, modulation/ arousal, motor planning, praxis, adaptive behaviours and functional skills. Ongoing therapy is available at Hopscotch.
The four consultants on the educational team are Christine Leslie (lead), Faye Aspill, Pat Griffin and Kate King. All have a wealth of school-based experience. One of the neurodevelopmental paediatricians will advise you to contact us, should educational input be required. This includes advice on putting into place accommodations for educational scaffolding in a child’s current school, or advising on a more appropriate school setting.
We work closely with our clinical colleagues and base our recommendations on the evidence of their assessment, together with our knowledge and experience of working in, and liaising with, schools.
As soon as you contact us, you will be linked to one of the educational consultants, who will send you a sheet of detailed information, further explaining the procedure. This will be helpful when booking your clinical appointments, as your educational consultation should be the last one before your feedback summary.
How to Book an Appointment for an MDA
Cathy O’Dowd (firstname.lastname@example.org) arranges Professor Richardson’s appointments, and Wendy Jenkins (email@example.com) arranges appointments for Dr Ben Ko. These doctors will advise you who else your child is recommended to see for a specialist consultation.
Each section of the multidisciplinary assessment team is headed by the lead consultant who is responsible for the assessment for the child.
You will see these names at the bottom of the initial paediatric summary, with contact details.
Cognitive Skills Assessment
Speech & Language
Educational (School & Learning Support)
Dr Roger Kennedy
Dr Sue Harrison