SPARC can accept referrals from any of the 14 local authorities within the West Midlands but the referral has to be agreed by the GP and the funding has to be agreed by the local commissioner.
SPARC brings together a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and therapists to provide expert diagnosis and assessment of needs.
SPARC is for people 16+ who think they might have autism or Asperger syndrome and who are experiencing significant difficulties in their lives.
The NICE guideline and the Adult Autism strategy recognise that there is a shortage of diagnostic assessment services for adults and recommend a team-based approach drawing on a range of professions and skills.
The team aims get a detailed understanding ahead of the assessment by sending out specially developed questionnaires for the person referred to fill in – or for someone who knows the person well to complete on his or her behalf.
The person attends SPARC on their own and ideally with a relative, friend or support worker. The assessment usually takes about three hours. Sometimes, the adult is seen again for another session.
The SPARC team produces a draft report which goes to the person referred, for checking and comment. The final report is then produced and sent to person, the GP and the Commissioner who funded the assessment.
SPARC provides a diagnostic assessment and, where possible, signposting to local services. The Local Authority and GP remain responsible for continuing care and medical advice.
Each Local Authority has a single person in charge of making the referrals. This person will send referral forms to GPs and review the returned forms, and will then decide which cases to refer to SPARC.
The GP is responsible for primary care, and needs to take account of the SPARC assessment in providing ongoing care.
SPARC has no funds of its own, and does not have the resources to see people without funding.
SPARC’s multi-disciplinary team includes, as appropriate, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational and speech & language therapists and other specialties as needed. SPARC can also work with social workers and community care nurses.
SPARC’s Professional Standards Committee monitors the work of the clinicians and can call in referees as appropriate. The Professional Standards Committee is responsible for approving any clinician or health professional working for SPARC.
SPARC is a company limited by guarantee (SPARC AUTISM, company number 8414424) established for charitable purposes, and is registered as a charity.