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Being tested for ASD - is it true that you have to wait till they're 9?

(58 Posts)
Psipssina Fri 05-Jun-15 14:16:27

Ds2 has some traits that I associate with the possibility of an ASD and I asked the SENCO recently if we could have him assessed, and if so how.

She said they don't generally do it until the child is 9. He is nearly 8.

She said the only way to do it sooner would be to take him to the GP and ask to be referred for assessment at the hospital.

I'm concerned that this might make him feel as though he has something wrong with him, though of course the school process might do that too.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the best thing to do? He has been a little 'different' since he was a baby and scored a few red flags on the M-CHAT, which our HV told me not to worry about.

He is very anxious, generally, has a stammer, is shy, and the way he moves is unusual. He has already had a bit of bullying at his primary.

I suppose I'm worried he may suffer more, socially and with his anxiety, if he isn't diagnosed before long, that's assuming these issues are caused by what I suspect and not something else.

He's not in a desperate situation - he is anxious though and also seems to be very bright (completing a times tables sheet well before the rest of the class, and 100% correct - not having really learned them yet AFAIK, he just figures them out). I don't know if it would change anything to have a DX in any case?

Thank you for any thoughts.

PolterGoose Fri 05-Jun-15 16:26:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Psipssina Fri 05-Jun-15 16:36:14

Thanks so much. I think she was talking about referring him to the educational psychologist? I'm not sure.

I'm glad diagnosis has helped your ds. I'm still not sure whether to wait and go through the school route or take him to the GP now and ask to be referred (apparently it takes a really long time, but I don't know if that is the same both ways?)

QueenYnci Fri 05-Jun-15 16:49:00

My DS was diagnosed at 4 but although it was highlighted by the nursery we had to get a referral through the GP for the assessment. The GP was very sceptical about referring at such a young age but according to the consultant at the hospital it's not that unusual now.

We had to wait a few months for the appointment (I know he was in reception by the time we had the assessments) which was two full-morning assessments two weeks apart then a wait of a week for the results.

Psipssina Fri 05-Jun-15 16:55:56

Thank you, that is really useful. I will try and discuss it with ds and see how he feels about it. Maybe we can go from there.

PolterGoose Fri 05-Jun-15 16:56:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LineRunner Fri 05-Jun-15 16:57:17

It is so incredibly complicated it makes me want to scream.

When I met OH his youngest DC had what OH thought was a diagnosis of ASD. Turns out that he didn't. Thanks to some excellent advice from MNers on the special needs boards here, we finally fathomed that his son had a CAMHS assessment of ASD traits (which they didn't do till he was 11).

The CAMHS assessment was arranged by OH's son's new special school. It was/is NOT a formal diagnosis, but the school didn't tell OH that, nor did any other professional. In fact the word 'diagnosis' appeared in Local Authority notes - imagine OH's confusion. It's very unfair.

And nor does the school seem to particularly focus on the assessment during his Individual Education Plan meetings confused preferring instead to talk about anxiety and additional needs (which would be great if they didn't keep causing DC anxiety by constantly changing his timetable, tutors and travel arrangements).

OH's son is 14 now. He wouldn't cooperate with a formal diagnosis now.

It was a hell of a learning curve.

PolterGoose Fri 05-Jun-15 17:01:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

youarekiddingme Fri 05-Jun-15 17:02:11

It can be diagnosed at any age. My DS was 8 when referred to Camhs and 10 when diagnosed.
We'd discussed how many asd traits he had throughout his schooling before this.

It's diagnosed through Camhs or developmental paediatrician. Different PCTs have different pathways but the assessments are generally standard - eg there are various different assessments and they'll do the appropriate ones for their service/ the child.

MrsDeVere Fri 05-Jun-15 17:05:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

puddock Fri 05-Jun-15 17:05:40

I believe (at least in my local health authority) the diagnostic process is different for under 8s and over 8s. Our route was HV referral to community pediatrician who arranged a multidisciplinary assessment, with paediatrician and SaLT, and input from the school SENCO since DS was then in reception. GPs should be able to refer in the same way as our HV did. It's my understanding that referrals via CAHMS are harder to come by and take longer, but that may be specific to where you are. The NAS helplines may have some advice for you, I've found them good.

I completely agree with PolterGoose, if there's a diagnosis to be made and you and your son want to proceed with an assessment, getting it completed before the transition to secondary school would be the best thing.

orangepudding Fri 05-Jun-15 17:07:02

As there are concerns it's worth asking the GP for a referal. It will probably take over a year to get a diagnosis if he does indeed have ASD. The waiting list in my county is so long that I took DS for a private assesment, worth every penny for us!

DixieNormas Fri 05-Jun-15 17:07:46

We are undergoing diagnosis with ds4 atm. He is 2.4

Fairylea Fri 05-Jun-15 17:08:29

My ds is undergoing assessment for autism. He is 3 next week. I went to the gp and got a referral to the community paediatrician. I'd go to your gp.

LineRunner Fri 05-Jun-15 17:09:15

Absolutely, PolterGoose.

I'd also like to add that we learned more in a month from reading MN than OH had ever been told by all the professionals in his child's life. I don't post much on some boards but read them avidly!

Psipssina Fri 05-Jun-15 17:14:46

Thanks all for the information. Really helpful.

I am seeing the HV about ds3 (2y review) in a few weeks - do you think she would be able to refer my (by then) 8yo? Or should we go to the GP? I'm a bit worried the GP will dismiss my concerns.

The thing is, Ds copes well in school, has no disruptive or emotional behaviours, he's quiet and he has friends but I worry about him later on in life. He doesn't really like to deviate from his routines, he is obsessive about certain subjects and often talks for ages and ages without allowing anyone else to get a word in. He also has some tics and as I said, the stammer.

I think a Dx would help him long term, just for his own reference.

I didn't know I could get a private assessment, that is worth looking into I think.

Thanks again.

123Jump Fri 05-Jun-15 17:16:32

My DS was diagnosed aged 4. He was originally referred to an eating clinic as his diet is so poor. The Consultant there told me he had Autism and started the diagnosis process.
A different Consultant, who runs a large Food Refusal Clinic recently told me that most children with Aspergers are diagnosed/start diagnosis when they attend clinics re:food issues. So I presume theses children would often be younger than 9.

ItsNotAsPerfectAsItSeems Fri 05-Jun-15 17:20:41

An Ed Psych cannot diagnose asd either. Only a paed or a clinical psych can diagnose asd. The senco or Ed psych can agree there are traits but it still needs to go down the medical route for diagnosis.

It is often really useful for children who fall in that grey area or are relatively high functioning to get a diagnosis in place before secondary school. Often children cops reasonable well at primary then dissolve at secondary. If your DS is already showing signs of anxiety then I'd speak to your GP and ask for a referral. Good luck

ItsNotAsPerfectAsItSeems Fri 05-Jun-15 17:22:52

Sorry, started typing that a while ago. Xposts with everyone else.

insanityscatching Fri 05-Jun-15 17:24:08

Ds and dd were both with diagnoses before they were three. They'd also both been assessed by an ed psych too by then.
If you want an assessment for ASD ask your GP for a referral. To get an ed psych assessment is not always easy as schools tend to have either a set number of visits or hours and tend to use these on the most difficult children. However it would be easier to push for one if your ds had already been referred for a health assessment.
Diagnosis doesn't change your child but it does signpost the resources and support he might need in order to achieve his potential. Good luck.

Psipssina Fri 05-Jun-15 17:25:13

Oh God I don't like the idea of him dissolving sad

Sometimes I look at him and think he's just a normal kid, I'm being silly, then I look at those websites that say 'signs your child has an ASD' and he ticks almost every single box.

I don't understand why the HV didn't think it worth worrying about when he failed to point at all, at anything, until he was about 2 or 3, spoke very little (though he could), often went quiet and stared at the wall, refusing to speak to anyone, I can't remember all the other stuff he did.

LineRunner Fri 05-Jun-15 17:26:59

Itsnotasperfect This is my understanding, too. There are professionals who can make assessments of traits; and then there are the professionals who can make a formal diagnosis.

And sometimes school staff and others are less than forthcoming about the difference.

PolterGoose Fri 05-Jun-15 17:31:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Psipssina Fri 05-Jun-15 17:33:59

Oh wow, that's a great idea - I thought he had grown out of the stammer but it is back with a vengeance lately.

I think the Senco said something about cahms, I'm sure she did, if the GP isn't sure whom to refer to, what should I say?

Definitely SALT but who else? Or will the GP definitely know?

Btw school does not have concerns - well none they have communicated to me. But he's only been there a term.

PolterGoose Fri 05-Jun-15 17:38:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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