Assessment and diagnosis in children with neurodevelopmental problems


Event type Conference

Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N76PA

This conference focusses on assessment and diagnosis in children with neurodevelopmental problems, and is delivered by ACAMH’s Neurodevelopmental Special Interest Group (SIG).

Neurodevelopmental disorders are a neglected area of mental health practice, little mentioned in recent government policy documents. The evidence base is strong in theory but often hard to put into practice at the front line. This conference looks at addressing this.

About the day

There is growing professional recognition that neurodevelopmental conditions are both common, and intimately inter-connected. There is therefore a need for local services to integrate their approach and services to provide holistic, comprehensive neurodevelopmental assessment to a large number of children in their local population. This is challenging enough in any financial climate, but with severe funding constraints in place it becomes a significant difficulty. On top of that, there is professional and wider societal debate about how we should be assessing, and specifically about the value of diagnosis.

By bringing together experts from paediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, education, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy, this conference tackles these problems head-on, in a collaborative multi-professional day of challenging talks and open discussion.

Key takeaways

  • How to structure assessment so that it can be targeted at the right children, and available to all who would benefit
  • How to integrate assessment across health and education effectively and efficiently.
  • Have an understanding of the rationale, limitations and usefulness of diagnosis in neurodevelopmental difficulties.
  • Understand how to integrate neurodevelopmental assessment with assessment of vulnerability or mental health difficulties
  • Learn about new ways of framing and diagnosing difficulties in this are.

Who is it for

This day would be beneficial to those who work in a health setting, such as CAMHS professionals, Paediatricians, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and General Practioners. Additionally, those that work in the education sector, including; educational psychologists, SENCOs, hospital school staff, and those that work with children affected with mental health issues who are looking to update their skills and knowledge on this subject.


08.30  Registration

09.00  Introduction: Can we deliver neurodevelopmental assessment to all the children and young
people who need it? How? Dr. Max Davie

09.30  The Journey: How can we make the family’s journey through assessment easier and less
stressful? Mary Busk
How can we integrate assessment across education, health and social care? Amanda LeComber

10.30 Coffee break

11:00 Disentangling diagnosis
Why diagnose? Why refrain from diagnosing? Dr. Mark Lovell
When does needs assessment end and diagnosis begin? Sally Payne
How does diagnosis and formulation fit together- when do you choose which? Dr. Lauren Breese

Panel Q&A facilitated by Dr. Max Davie

12.30 Lunch

13.30 Workshop sessions (choice of 2 from 3)
a) Getting neurodevelopmental assessment right in socially vulnerable kids. Led by Dr. Carmen Pinto
b) Integrating mental health and neurodevelopmental assessments. Led by Dr. Ann Oszividjian
c) Managing diagnosis: multiplicity removal, grey areas Led by Dr. Mark Lovell
Coffee between workshop sessions

15.15 Closing plenary
Developmental language disorder: how will the new kid on the block fit in? Professor Courtenay Norbury

16.00 Faculty Q&A
Facilitated by Dr Max Davie, with Mary Busk, Dr Lauren Breese, Amanda LeComber, Courtenay Norbury, Dr Mark Lovell, and Sally Payne


This includes and ACAMH CPD certificate, which is emailed to you after attending the event, plus lunch and refreshments throughout the day.

The events we organise are not profit-making, many are subsidised through our other commercial activities, without which they would not be able to run. As a charity, any surplus that we make is invested back into the business to benefit our Members and the sector. Members get a discounted rate and we hope you consider joining.

ACAMH Publications / Digital Members £52.50
ACAMH Members (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze) £99
Neurodevelopmental SIG Members £129

Non-member: £149

About the speakers

Mary Busk
Mary Busk

Mary is a Family Carer Advisers in the Improving Health and Quality Team, part of the Learning Disability Programme for NHS England. Mary is also involved with the CYP part of the Transforming Care programme. Mary previously co-founded the National Network of Parent Carer Forums and was the Steering Group member for London.

Dr Lauren Breese
Lauren is a Senior Clinical Psychologist experienced in assessment, formulation and evidence-based psychological intervention working one to one with children, adolescents and adults, as well as with families, organisations and systems. She is experienced in using CBT and systemic family therapy, as well as mindfulness, ACT, CFT and DBT. Lauren has specialist experience in working with children, adolescents and adults with a neurodevelopmental disorder (ASD, ADHD, ID) and co-morbid mental health problems and/ or behavioural disorder.

Dr. Max Davie
Dr. Max Davie

Max is a Consultant Community Paediatrician, working in Lambeth as part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust Community services. He has a special interest in the assessment and diagnosis of neurodevelopmental conditions in school-age children, and in the mental health of paediatric patients more generally. He is the convenor of the Paediatric Mental Health Association. He is involved with the RCPCH MindEd and disability e-portal projects.

Dr Ann Ozsivadjian
Ann is Principal Clinical Psychologist at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Guy’s and Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. She trained in clinical psychology at Oxford and has worked in the Complex Paediatric Neurodevelopmental Disability Service at the Children’s Neurosciences Centre, Evelina Children’s Hospital (Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust) for 14 years since qualification. Her
clinical and research interests include assessment and treatment of mental health difficulties in ASD, and cognitive pathways to anxiety in ASD.

Dr. Sally Payne
Dr. Sally Payne

Sally is an experienced Paediatric Occupational Therapist with a demonstrated history of working in community healthcare settings. A skilled clinician, Sally is also skilled in research, leadership, teaching and writing for academic and practitioner journals. Strong healthcare services professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy focusing on the lived experience of adolescents with DCD/dyspraxia from Coventry University.

Amanda Lecomber
Amanda Lecomber

Amanda has over 17 years experience as a qualified teacher. She was a class teacher in a large primary school in South London, before becoming the Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator. She then worked for Worcestershire Learning and Behaviour Support Team as an Outreach Behaviour Support Teacher. In 2007, Amanda moved to Kent and worked as a Specialist Teacher for the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service. She currently works in Hampshire on a school based Wellbeing and Mental Health project. Amanda has extensive experience of working in schools and supporting staff to identify needs and barriers to learning. She has a particular interest in ADHD, having been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult.

Dr. Mark Lovell
Dr. Mark Lovell

Mark is a dual trained Consultant Child and Adolescent Learning Disability Psychiatrist working for 1 of the UK’s largest LD CAMHS teams. He works for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) and covers the South Tees area along with a multidisciplinary team. He is a member of the Child and Adolescent Intellectual Disability Psychiatry Network (CAIDPN) and has particular
interests in Autism and Challenging Behaviour within the context of Intellectual Disabilities.

Professor Courtenay Norbury
Professor Courtenay Norbury

Courtenay is Professor of Developmental Disorders of Language and Communication at Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London. Her current research focuses on language disorders and how language interacts with other aspects of development. She is leading SCALES, a population study of language development and disorder from school entry. She is also a founding member of the RADLD campaign.

Dr. Carmen Pinto
Carmen is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with the Conduct Problems Service and the Adoption and Fostering Service. She also works for the Children & Adolescent Looked-After Service, part of Lambeth Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Her post combines her two interests of attachment and CBT and she went on to sit a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) in CBT
for Children and Adolescents at the Institute of Psychiatry.