Every few years Autism Diagnosis is in the news and across the media once again during this last week here we go again…..

 

I have campaigned for many years on autism diagnosis and the importance of early intervention. Promises are made, however, very little action.

 

As the founder of #autism services throughout the years and my Charity AnnaKennedyonline I am flooded with messages across social media and through the charity about wait times for an assessment for an autism diagnosis from families concerned about their loved ones.

 

Parents are complaining of waiting between two and five years for a diagnosis for their child, and it is very much a “postcode lottery”, I read an article that in central London families were waiting over a year for just a referral diagnosis appointment, despite waiting time guidelines of three months.

The Government has yet to complete past Health Secretaries vow to look at starting to officially record the figures.

 

I was told that their were complex reasons for the delays, including increased demand for the assessment which had increased “significantly” in the last few years and now delays because of covid over and a wider awareness about autism due to well known personalities speaking up across the media.

 

More families may believe their children are on the spectrum also due to charities like my charity AnnaKennedyonline forging ahead to raise awareness and acceptance.

The access to special needs services, which includes an educational psychologist’s report and a limited amount of free speech and language therapy on the NHS, appeared to be a “post code lottery.”

 

Not all local authorities, health or education services provided equally strong support according to the parents that I speak to.

 

Waiting a long time for a diagnosis in my opinion means a window for early intervention could be missed..

 

“It has an impact on the child, it has an impact on the school, which doesn’t know what they are dealing with. It has an impact on the siblings, and obviously the family.”

 

While some parents I speak to over the years during my campaigning avoid seeking a “label”, others speak to me of being dismissed.

 

We need to do better!

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