Neurodevelopmental Specialist Service

The Neurodevelopmental Specialist Service (NeSS) brings together our previous adult autism and adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) services into one combined service.

We provide:

  • diagnostic assessments for autism and ADHD
  • support to understand the conditions
  • short-term support for issues related to autism or ADHD
  • medication to treat ADHD, which will then be managed by your GP
  • advice and signposting to additional support including mental health services if needed

We do not offer support for other mental health issues that can often go alongside autism and ADHD; these should be referred to mental health services.

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition impacting on two key areas of life:

  • Social communication and interaction - difficulty forming social relationships, difficulty making social conversation (‘small talk’), difficulty using and understanding social cues (such as eye contact, gesture, turn taking), difficulty taking another person’s perspective (known as ‘theory of mind’).
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities - difficulty responding to changes or coping with new situations, preferring routine, difficulty planning ahead or predicting what might happen next, engaging in repetitive behaviours (such as finger flicking), having very strong interests.

Many autistic people also experience sensory differences and can feel over (hyper) and under (hypo) stimulated within their environment. This can relate to stimuli such as light, sound, taste, smell, touch, and balance, and can significantly impact on the person’s functioning and wellbeing. Around 1% of the UK population is on the autism spectrum, that’s around 700,000. Autism cuts across all ages, ability levels, race, sex and gender, and none of these should be a barrier to accessing diagnostic assessment or support.

What is ADHD?

ADHD - Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition that includes symptoms such as:

  • Inattention - difficulty concentrating for very long or finishing a task, disorganised, easily distracted, forgetful, unable to listen when people are talking.
  • Hyperactivity - fidgety, unable to sit still, talking excessively, always on the go.
  • Impulsivity - acting quickly without thinking about the consequences, interrupting other people, difficulty waiting turn.

Most people can have these sorts of difficulties at times, but for individuals with ADHD, the symptoms are there most of the time and can seriously affect their everyday life.

Around 2.5% of the UK adult population have ADHD.

The impact of living with ADHD can include:

  • Difficulties reaching educational potential
  • Difficulties sustaining employment
  • Stress in personal relationships and friendships
  • Offending behaviours
  • Substance misuse
  • Additional mental health issues


The diagnosis of ADHD

Symptoms similar to ADHD can be very common and can overlap with other difficulties. To meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD, the person:

  • Must meet the DSM 5 clinical criteria of inattention and / or hyperactivity-impulsivity
  • Have experienced these symptoms during childhood and adult life, across different settings in their life (such as home, school, university, work, with friends and family)
  • Experience impairment due to the ADHD symptoms such as impacting on their education, work, family, friendships and relationships, and self-esteem

Accessing our services

Please note: Due to long waiting times and high demand, we are not able to accept requests to expedite or prioritise any assessments. All referrals will be processed in the order in which they arrived at NeSS. This includes referrals for Trust staff.


Referrals into our service

GPs and any health professional from within Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust can refer to our service.

We are unable to accept self referrals, referrals from third sector organisations or referrals for residents outside of Nottinghamshire.

Those who may be eligible to use our service include:

  • Adults aged 18 years of above with, or suspected of having, autism and/or ADHD and associated impairment
  • Adults aged 18 years or above with an ADHD diagnosis who require ADHD medication treatment initiation or review
  • Living within Nottingham City or Nottinghamshire County
  • Do not have an intellectual disability (these referrals should be made to the Intellectual Disability SPA)
  • Do not have an additional mental illness (these referrals should be made to the Locality Mental Health Team)

Contact and find us

Neurodevelopmental Specialist Service
The Pines, Highbury Hospital

The service phone line is open 10am - 2pm Monday to Friday. If you are unable to call during these hours please email the service using the address below.
Tel: 0115 956 0893

If you wish to change or cancel an appointment please call the above number during the hours listed. If unable to contact the serice please email with your name and the date and time of your appointment.


Service opening hours

Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

Help in a crisis

If you are in a crisis, please call the Trusts 24 hour a day 7 days a week crisis line on 0808 196 3779.

Useful resources




  • AADD UK (a help and support website for adults with ADHD) -
  • ADDiSS (information and support about ADHD) -
  • The ADHD Foundation (an information and support organisation for people with ADHD and their families) -



Information for health professionals

Neurodevelopmental Specialist Service
The Pines, Highbury Hospital

Tel: 0115 956 0893


How to refer someone to this service

GPs can refer using our referral form available within all practices across the county.

Notts Healthcare staff, please refer to the staff intranet where you can find the full referral criteria and referral form.


What to expect following a referral

All referrals will be reviewed by our clinical team. Once accepted referrals will be acknowledged in writing to the referrer and client. The client will then be sent opt-in pre-screening questionnaires to complete and return. If these are not returned the referral will not be processed. Opt-in questionnaires will be reviewed to consider suitability for assessment. If so, the client will then be offered a screening assessment with a clinician. Following screening a decision will then be made with the client about further assessment and / or support within the service.


Service lead

Sandra Hayes



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