The Autism Diagnosis Process – Part 1

I didn’t know how helpful a post like this might be until I started scouring the net looking for one of the same nature, but to no avail. Therefore I thought I’d share our process so that anybody, like me, who was looking for more information on the matter might have some sort of reference point to start off with.

So… We have only recently begun the process of diagnosis. It’s been quite a lengthy wait, even getting to this first stage, so here is my first piece of crucial advice…

Be prepared for a wait.

We have had concerns about Matthews development from quite early on, but regardless of that you still have to go through the proper protocols in order to bring it to the attention of the correct medical professional. Between the time we realised there was a problem to getting to the stage we are at right now was approximately 1 year. This seems like such a long time to wait, however in between this time we have had a lot of support and early intervention from Matthews medical team. 

Matthew was referred to Occupational Therapy, Speech & Language Therapy and a ‘Special Needs’ Toddler group which he attends  weekly. All three of these services work closely together in helping Matthew, as well as communicating often with each other to make sure all of the information regarding him is as comprehensive and up to date as possible. 

The next step was one that each of his therapists and early childhood assistants had to take within his therapy sessions and group environment…

Matthew was closely monitored and assessed on an informal basis within each of these services. Speech & Language Therapy then scheduled Matthews ‘First Clinic’ appointment.

Each of the following were looked at:

  1. Language skills.
  2. Communication skills.
  3. Eating, Drinking & Swallowing skills. 

At this appointment the therapist spent some one to one time with Matthew, analysing how he played and communicated. This is where the therapist established the real problems and developmental difficulties Matthew was having.

The next step from here is:

More waiting.

After the initial appointment, the Speech & Language Therapist produced a report detailing everything discussed at the appointment and more importantly their professional opinion. At this point, if they feel it is necessary to progress further, they will forward on their report to a Community Paediatrician who will then arrange the actual diagnosis assessment. 

This is where we are at the minute. Matthew has been referred and now we just have to wait. 

It has been difficult up to this point, but regardless of how slowly it is, we are at least moving forward. 

My husband and  I have spoken at length about what this diagnosis means for us. We obviously would be overjoyed if it was just developmental delays and everything all worked out in the end. However, if it is what we believe and our son is Autistic, the only thing that matters is that we have a clear and concise diagnosis so that we can manage his condition the best way we can, and give him the fullest life possible. The rest doesn’t matter… he will always be my beautiful, clever boy. 

I will of course keep my blog updated with each stage of diagnosis, and hope that it proves helpful for those going through the same thing. 

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