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Does my son need a diagnosis of Learning Difficulties as well as ASD?

(17 Posts)
LegoLady95 Mon 14-Nov-16 13:40:11

My son is 9 and has a diagnosis of Severe ASD. He is practically non-verbal and has attended a special school since reception. He is currently working at P3 level in all areas, with a prediction of P4 by end of key stage (year 6). He was diagnosed at 2yr6m.
It is clear that he has severe learning difficulties in addition to Autism. I'm wondering whether I need to have this formally diagnosed, or is that not necessary given his age and P levels, as well as reports from school which refer to 'severe learning dificulties'.
Are there any circumstances where not having an official diagnosis of Learning Difficulties would prevent him accessing something? I guess I'm thinking into the future as he gets older.
Many thanks

zzzzz Mon 14-Nov-16 13:47:33

What do you mean by "learning difficulties"?
(Nb not snotty ? What I mean is autism with verbal communication difficulties is inevitably going to be a barrier to learning in a non autistic verbal world, or do you think there is more to it than that?)

LIZS Mon 14-Nov-16 14:01:33

If he is struggling academically then a diagnosis might help him access support towards achieving at an appropriate level. Has he been evaluated by an Ed Psych to see what impact his asd might have on his learning and whether there are any other SpLD involved?

LegoLady95 Mon 14-Nov-16 14:04:37

I agree it is inevitable in some cases, but I know that learning difficulties is a specific diagnosis. For example, my son's school will only admit pupils with a diagnosis of ASD. I guess I'm worried that he could be refused access to a school or day centre etc. when older because he doesn't have a diagnosis of Learning Difficulties.

lougle Mon 14-Nov-16 14:05:43

I think that whether your DS has ASD that is a barrier to learning or ASD plus learning difficulties is irrelevant and with a cognitive profile that is so far behind average, it isn't necessary to have an official 'SLD' label.

I think if there was any doubt as to his ability to function at a particular level, them the additional SLD label might be useful.

LegoLady95 Mon 14-Nov-16 14:12:39

Thanks for the replies. He was seen by an ed psych during diagnosis, but he was only 2 at the time. He isn't ever going to achieve academically at anywhere near average (he is expected to be at pre-reception age achievement when he finishes primary).
His school is excellent, perhaps I should ask them. I would only want to push for an additional diagnosis if I thought not having it could be a barrier in the future.

LegoLady95 Mon 14-Nov-16 14:23:10

Thanks Lougle, I have to agree. Nobody could deny how behind he is. I will ask school for their opinion too.

PolterGoose Mon 14-Nov-16 14:33:51

I think you're talking about learning disability more than learning difficulty.

Learning disability (I prefer 'intellectual disability' as a description as it links more neatly to IQ which is the measure used to determine level of learning disability, and stops the confusion with learning difficulty) usually means IQ under 70/75ish. IMHO it is very useful to have this recorded because it can be used as a criterion for accessing certain supports later as an adult.

A learning difficulty would usually mean something like dyslexia when there's no intellectual disability, just specific barriers to learning.

LegoLady95 Mon 14-Nov-16 15:02:39

I hadn't really thought about a distinction between learning difficulties and learning disabilities, but yes, his IQ would certainly be low (not sure it could actually be measured).
You've mentioned exactly what I am concerned about - the lack of that specific diagnosis which may be a criterion for services, particularly as an adult. I also don't want to waste anybody's time (mine included) or resources pursuing a diagnosis that is glaringly obvious if it isn't necessary.

PolterGoose Mon 14-Nov-16 15:07:01

I don't think it's a diagnosis as such, but it sounds like an EP assessment which either records an IQ score, or a best guess if he isn't testable, could be helpful.

zzzzz Mon 14-Nov-16 15:07:40

Should you want a diagnosis of IQ under 70, it is incredibly easy to achieve if you have verbal communication difficulties so I doubt it would be a particularly arduous assessment. Even IQ tests that are supposed to be designed for non verbal people are in my experience heavily reliant on language if not speech.

LegoLady95 Mon 14-Nov-16 15:20:02

Very helpful, thank you. I will speak to school about getting his IQ recorded (he sees various specialists through school - SALT etc., I'm sure Ed psych are available too).

Ineedmorepatience Mon 14-Nov-16 17:50:36

I agree with what others have said, I know someone who has been having a terrible time trying to get her son the support he needs because he doesnt fit into the boxes that the NHS/LA like.

In my authority if you have Asd you cannot access CAMHS but if you have a learning disability they have their own mental health team! Its such a mess!

I would get everything clarified that can possibly clarified before your journey into adult services begins!

Good luck flowers

LegoLady95 Mon 14-Nov-16 20:19:24

Hopefully EHCP'S will help a bit with this as they bring everything together. My son hasn't transitioned from a statement yet.

I will definitely look into getting learning disabilities recorded somewhere.

SexDrugsAndSausageRoll Mon 14-Nov-16 20:46:17

My sister didn't need it until adulthood then we found having an IQ under 70 was an easy pass to housing support and social workers or clubs without lots of other hoops..

Ironically her IQ is clearly way higher (can map read/ write a letter etc) but the score is due to her inability to process language or articulate her understanding.

zzzzz Mon 14-Nov-16 21:02:23

Ironically her IQ is clearly way higher (can map read/ write a letter etc) but the score is due to her inability to process language or articulate her understanding.
smile This is exactly my understanding of how things can be managed. Nice to hear from someone who's done it flowers

SexDrugsAndSausageRoll Mon 14-Nov-16 22:09:18

She's older so went pillar to post with everything from bi polar to ld over the years. Took until past 20 to get to the bottom of it all. So it really was needed as a quick fix to support.

It was also an advantage in a weird way with PIP when it came in. Impossible to trip up in interview nor could she follow a string of tasks. Cut the interview dead a bit from what I can gather. Got it awarded.

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