Here are some of the difficulties that parents experience considering or getting a diagnosis of autism.

  • Many people find it difficult to come to terms with the possibility or reality of an autism spectrum diagnosis somewhere along the line.
  • When a child has a relatively subtle version of Asperger’s Syndrome it is more difficult to spot the signs – for parents and professionals alike.
  • Getting a diagnosis of autism often seems to be difficult.      Professionals may try to fob you off to begin with suggesting that things might sort themselves out – perhaps partly because they do not see your child at home.       Parents often find waiting lists frustrating.

There are several Facebook autistic support groups that parents can turn to.    The private ones are more specific.    Only members can see what is on them.    For example:

– Our own GAIN support

– Larger Sleaford based Rainbow stars

– Also a UK groupnew

NICE guidelines

This National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence NICE webpage sets out clinical guidance for England in detail.     It should be followed by local councils, such as Lincolnshire, and doctors.     It covers recognising, referring and diagnosing autism in children and young people from birth to 19 years of age.     Click icon to browse.     

UK based Living autism provides some handy highlights that might help to cut through some of the detail.

The basis for deciding whether someone is autistic can be found in a large document known as ICD-10 for short.      See profiles & criteria


The National Autistic Society has a page about diagnosis for children.      Click icon on the left to view. 

As well as recommending a GP appointment, they suggest making an appointment with your health visitor about referring a young child for an autism assessment.      Health visitors work with families of children up to five years old.new

  How to get diagnosed

The NHS has a clear and straight-forward page about getting a diagnosis for someone with signs of autism.     Click icon to see.      It sets out a comprehensive list of people to talk to about a referral:new

  • a GP
  • a health visitor (for children under 5)
  • any other health professional you or your child see, such as another doctor or therapist
  • special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) staff at your child’s school

Different for Girls

Here is a readable explanation in Child mind institute as to why autism is missed in girls more often than boys.      In brief, girls do not fit autistic stereotypes and they mask symptoms better than boys do.    Click icon for article.      For a more analytical presentation see an article in Psychology today.

Private diagnosis

Special needs jungle has published an answer to a question from IPSEA.
Q    Can my local authority refuse to accept a private diagnosis? 
A     There is no basis in law for the local authority to reject a professional report simply because it was privately obtained.    Click icon to see your options if they do,  though.

 The autism pathway

Ambitious about autism has produced a toolkit called Right from the start to take parents of small children through their autism journey.     It starts from wondering whether a child might have autism, through diagnosis, to supporting a child who is on the autistic spectrum.      Click icon to find out more.

Requesting an autism assessment may require some preparation and school may play a significant role in this.      Click icon to get a clearer picture of how school can help with diagnosis.

A diagnostic mystery

This article starts with Jayne.    She is described as having severe and sustained impairment in social interaction, but without the clinically significant delay in language acquisition characteristic of autism; also distinctive is the presence of restrictive, highly idiosyncratic interests.      The article goes on to discuss diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s syndrome.

After diagnosis

The National autistic society has produced a guide for parents and carers of a child after diagnosis.    It highlights things to consider and provides several web links.    Click icon to browse.

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