Social Development Clinic

The Social Development Clinic is located in the Harrington Building of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and is part of the Outpatient CAMHS.

The Social Development Clinic is a specialist referral service for the assessment and treatment of children with complex developmental disorders involving social impairment. This includes autism spectrum disorder but also problems of autism-like syndromes related to other specific genetic, neurodevelopmental and attachment disorders.

It serves as one of the specialist referral services within the National Autism Plan for Children but has a national profile in addition in specialising in these wider impairments of social development using the same rigorous techniques.

Our expert team includes consultant child and adolescent psychiatrists, a consultant clinical psychologist, an occupational therapist, a speech and language therapist and a nurse specialist with ASD experience.

This is an academically orientated clinic with a remit to develop, implement and disseminate new evidenced-based methods of assessment and intervention in severe and complex disorders of social development in childhood. Members of the Clinic are involved in primary research in both assessment and treatment in this specialist area. Our clinical work in the SDC informs our research work and in turn the results of research are implemented back into the clinic.

Families are seen for concentrated one or two day assessments plus feedback sessions; there are school based observations as necessary. Treatment is offered in a number of cases in discussion with local services.  A consultation service to colleagues is provided.

The clinic produces a detailed multidisciplinary assessment report for families and professionals. This is discussed personally with families at clinic follow up. Further follow up can be provided with telephone consultation, school visits, clinic visits or shared care models with local services.

Service user and professional feedback is obtained for every referral. Results of satisfaction audits have been positive and have informed further improvements to the service.

Referral process 

Referrals are accepted from GPs, community mental health teams and paediatricians.
Referrals are accepted in writing, by hard copy, fax or email. Informal enquiries are welcome. Please see the referral check list for more details.

What conditions do we see?

Children with complex developmental disorders involving social impairment.  This includes autism spectrum disorder, but also problems of autism-like syndromes related to other specific genetic, neurodevelopmental, and attachment disorders.

What treatments do we offer?

The assessment package will include a combination of the following appropriate to the case:

Family Developmental History Interview

Various symptom specific questionnaires

Structured interview for autism history

Clinical mental state examination

ADOS examination

MCAS examination

Physical examination

Psychometric Assessment

Social Cognition Tasks

Social Understanding Interview


Speech and Language Assessment CELF

Pragmatics Assessment

Sensory Profile

ABC Movement Assessment

COSA interview

Other specific OT assessments

Handwriting assessment

Parent questionnaires and specialist interviews

Manchester Inventory Playground Observation (MIPO)

Where will my child receive treatment?

Assessments and treatment are undertaken in the clinic.  If clinically indicated,  some elements of assessment and treatment may be undertaken in the home or school.

Welcome to the Harrington Building