Wordsfirst Autism

From September 2023, Words First will be offering a robust Autism Diagnostic Clinic following the NICE guidelines. Our clinical specialist Speech and Language Therapist (Chevonne) has teamed up with Jessica Wilson (Occupational Therapist) and Paediatrician Dr Ranjini Mohan. If you’re worried about your child’s social communication and / or believe they may be on the Autism Spectrum, our ADOS clinic has been designed to give families the dedicated time and space to explore the possibility of a diagnosis. Together with Dr Mohan (who delivers her assessment online), Chevonne and Jess conduct a thorough assessment of your child / young person to come to a consensus about whether your child may or may not have Autism Spectrum Condition.

The SaLT and OT assessments are conducted at the Kids First centre in Kenley (CR8 5BY) and take between 2-3.5 hours. You will meet with Dr Mohan online. Following the assessment, you will receive a detailed report within 3-4 weeks and of course, you will receive ongoing care from our SaLT and OT team as needed.

Our Autism Diagnostic clinic has been created to support you and your child on this challenging journey and we believe that we will uncover your child’s many strengths along the way.

Please contact h.heerey@wordsfirst.uk to find our more information.

Chevonne du Plessis

Clinical Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
B. SLHT, MSc in SLP, PGDip in Dev. Neuroscience & Psychopathology

Hello, my name is Chevonne. I studied at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and completed my bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language & Hearing Therapy in 2013. While working full-time in hospitals and special needs schools, I also completed my MSc degree in Speech-Language Pathology (cum laude) at the University of Cape Town before moving to the UK in 2019. In 2020, I completed my PG Diploma in Developmental Neuroscience & Psychopathology (with distinction) from University College London.

I work as a clinical specialist Speech and Language Therapist in two schools, focusing on supporting students with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. I also have a special interest in neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I am currently the Words First Clinical Specialist for ADHD and run the ADHD Pathway to develop other therapists’ knowledge and skills in this area.

In addition, I am the Speech and Language Therapist at our Words First Autism Diagnostic Clinics, having completed my ADOS-2 training in July 2021. I work collaboratively with a Paediatrician and Occupational Therapist to offer monthly diagnostic clinics at our private clinic in Kenley. I enjoy working within a multidisciplinary team to explore various perspectives and factors that influence a child’s access to learning, communication and social interaction, aiming to help each child and every family to find the right support at the right time.

Dr Ranjini Mohan

Consultant Paediatrician- General Paediatrics and Neurodevelopmental Paediatrics

Hello, my name is Ranjini. I trained in one of the top institutions in India, St. John’s Medical College Hospital, graduating with merit in MBBS (undergraduate) in 1999. I then completed my internship in India, before completing my postgraduation in the UK, training and working in paediatrics since 2000.

I developed a special interest in endocrinology, working at the adolescent part of Great Ormond Street Hospital, at UCLH. I have published research articles on various topics in the Archives of Diseases of Childhood and presented a paper at New York as a trainee on growth hormone in achondroplasia, and published in hot topics in Current Diabetes Reviews. I have presented with merit at Royal Society of Medicine.

I worked with the eating disorders team at Oxford health as a paediatrician for a few years, before joining Warwick hospital as a community paediatrician, as I realized that a lot of feeding difficulties were a result of undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder. My current interest is in all aspects of autism and I have been a part of the ARFID pathway being developed in Warwickshire. I have worked with children with autism for the last few years, dealing with associated medical problems like gut issues, sleep and restrictive eating etc.

I continue to work as a general paediatrician within the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (Paediatrics) at the Horton Hospital.

Jess Wilson

Occupational Therapist- Special Schools and Neurodevelopment
BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy

My name is Jess, and I work as an Occupational Therapist at Words First. I completed my Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 2019. Following my graduation, I gained valuable experience working at a hospital in South Africa for a year before relocating to the United Kingdom in 2021.

I work as an Occupational Therapist in a special needs school in London to support children with diverse needs. I work alongside several other healthcare professionals to provide holistic and child-centred care to the students. Working in this environment has helped to develop my passion and interest in the areas of Sensory Integration, as well as different neurodevelopmental conditions, such as Autism Spectrum Conditions. The experience I have gained working in such a setting has shaped my view that every child is unique and has individual needs, interests, and potential, which I believe are all important factors to acknowledge when assessing and working with any children.

I also work as part of a multidisciplinary team at our Words First Autism Diagnostic Clinics, alongside a Speech and Language Therapist and a Paediatrician. These clinics run monthly at Kids First, a private clinic located in Kenley. I completed my ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) training in July 2023, further enhancing my assessment skills and ability to contribute to a thorough understanding of individuals’ strengths and challenges. My overarching aim in all aspects of my work is to foster independence, well-being, and active participation in meaningful daily activities.