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How is autism diagnosed?

(18 Posts)
SwayingBranches Tue 28-Jan-14 10:44:22

After finally admitting ds2 probably has autism, what can I expect? ds is 2 years 3 months old.

I'm taking him to the doctors tomorrow to ask for a referral. I'm taking with me the m-chat checklist I printed out of which he has a risk score of 16, including failing 5 of the critical questions, it says on it failing two critical or three in total means a child needs to be assessed. Our childminder says she also thinks it probably is and will write a report if necessary.

So what happens after that? Who is it he sees? Is it questions/observations? How often? I suppose length of time is going to vary by area? I feel absolutely clueless.

zzzzz Tue 28-Jan-14 10:58:39

This is what happened for us but it changes from area to area and we have yet to receive dx (though ds is very severely effected just not text book).

Hearing test at hospital.
Eye test at hospital.
SALT assessment once in office, once at home.
Appointment with paediatrician booked in for assessment at specialist assessment centre for two days.
At assessment centre saw clinical psychologist (detailed history), Music Therapist, specialist nursery nurse, and played in special needs nursery being observed/videoed.
Then everyone writes reports and they meet and discuss argue about the dx.

I think it should take about 6 months.

PolterGoose Tue 28-Jan-14 11:00:11

It does vary hugely. By area and age too I think. My ds was initially seen by a paed registrar, who referred him on to OT and SALT, OT referred ds on to physio who then referred him to orthotics, then we went back to see the paed consultant who carried out ADOS (one of the autism diagnostic tools) and using the results of all the other professionals (ed psych had previously seen ds too) and the ADOS and her observations, he got his dx. Whole process was probably around 18m or more.

It will be a combination of lots of questions of you about his development and behaviours, some observation and some focused activities. None of it was unpleasant for ds at all, but some appointments were very boring for him. I deliberately didn't take toys and books as I wanted them to see him as he is IYSWIM?

chocnomore Tue 28-Jan-14 11:02:56

we were referred from GP to developmental paed. We saw the paed a couple of times and a SALT as well. It was then decided to put DD on a list for the ADOS and DD was diagnosed through the ADOS. it took 9 months from seeing the paed for the first time to getting the dx.

SwayingBranches Tue 28-Jan-14 11:13:52

We took him at the end of December for a referral for a hearing test as we were "sure" it was this and he'd get grommets and it would sort everything out. Though we haven't had a letter yet. I was going to wait until we'd been to that, but I can't. Besides, I really don't know how on earth they're going to get him to co-operate in any way for a hearing test.

So it looks to be lots of visits to different things and lots of months then! I guess I just want it to be quick so I can say this is the reason for X instead of feeling like a bad parent with a naughty child sad

Really appreciate the answers.

PolterGoose Tue 28-Jan-14 11:16:47

I know, the shift for me post dx was huge, ds hadn't changed but having formal acknowledgment that he is officially atypical was quite liberating.

mymatemax Tue 28-Jan-14 11:30:31

here, pre school children are referred to a child development centre at the hospital where they have a block of assessment sessions involving a multi disciplinary team. At the end of the sessions you have a feedback meeting & if appropriate dx is given. Ds2 also had disco assessment & a home visit before CDC assessment as had pre existing dx.

zzzzz Tue 28-Jan-14 11:32:10

The key for me is "how would you create a child like ds". The issues are too extreme to be caused by anything any average family is doing.

Children don't get language disorders from watching too much telly, or drinking fruit shoots. They not eat a very small selection of what heir siblings eat. It would take an evil genius and endless effort for bad to create ds's issues.

SwayingBranches Tue 28-Jan-14 11:32:26

I can imagine that.

SwayingBranches Tue 28-Jan-14 11:32:52

About it being liberating

SwayingBranches Tue 28-Jan-14 11:41:39

zzzzz You are so right. We're not doing anything differently than with ds1, in fact I felt we were doing better since we'd already had a child and weren't so clueless! And ds2 also has his big brother interacting with him.

SwayingBranches Wed 29-Jan-14 12:06:15

Saw doc today, didn't realise she was the child development doctor. Anyway, no argument, he has been referred to paediatrician. She even kept my mchat checklist print out which I had used a highlighter on. Organised, me! She's going to attach to letter to paediatrician.

zzzzz Wed 29-Jan-14 12:12:54

Well done swaying send some organisational vibes this way. My life is a mire this week.

PolterGoose Wed 29-Jan-14 12:14:53

That sounds really good, let's hope you don't have to wait long smile

Do keep a diary so you don't forget stuff

SwayingBranches Wed 29-Jan-14 12:26:40

I thought I had it all sorted in my head but I babbled here there and everywhere so a diary is a good idea - or a bullet point Word doc or a PowerPoint presentation wink

I'm not usually good at being organised. All this going on and ds1 leaves for France at 3am Friday with school. Have I even made a packing list, not at all!

I feel weirdly giddy but also really exhausted.

PolterGoose Wed 29-Jan-14 12:47:16

I'm sure you'll get the packing done smile

Giddy and exhausted is a good description, I feel like that most of the time grin

(((hugs)))

brew and cake

SwayingBranches Thu 30-Jan-14 00:44:25

Here I am with insomnia. Need time to process things and it's my only people free time today. At least I'm finally doing the list for ds1's trip and I imagine I'll get it packed shortly.

I felt so relieved for a few hours and now, I don't know. It's so uncertain how he'll develop. Though I had more patience with him today. He just needs time to process things. Like a nappy change, he understands when it's time for one and will either come willingly, or throw himself down on the floor, wail for a bit, and then grudgingly drag himself over like one of those cartoons of a man in a desert pulling himself to an oasis. But tell him it's nappy change and then pick him up will result in a big tantrum and possibly kicking the crap out of you if you attempt to do anything. And the five minutes it took for me to cajole him to walk after he got out of the pushchair felt like me being a good parent. But then I think, there isn't always time to patiently tell him and wait for him to decide to walk...

Rambling on I know.

claw2 Thu 30-Jan-14 08:07:31

At age 2, ds was initially referred to community pead and SALT. Paed then referred to OT. We then had 6 monthly follow up appointments with Paed and weekly input from OT. Follow up appointments in nursery from SALT. This area were very bad with professionals communicating, making follow up appointments or doing what they should. I had to make a complaint.

By age 5 ds had started school and his difficulties quickly became more obvious. Following my complaint, ds was assessed in school by specialist ASD SALT who suspected ASD and referred to Paed in our borough, as we had moved house by then.

Ds was seen by specialist Paed, who was part of the CDC and a 'team' including SALT and EP and ASD specialist. Ds was assessed by specialist SALT in February and history taken from me. Follow up appointment in June where he was assessed again by SALT, which was observed by EP and ASD Specialist. He received his dx same day. So from start to finish by a team who knew what they were doing it took 5 months.

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