Hello, I'm hoping someone will be able to give me some advice. My son is 4.8, I've long suspected he is on the autistic spectrum. He is currently being assessed for EHCP and also by community paediatrics. He has seen the paediatrician,SLT and OT as well as the local authority's EP. So far I have received three reports that sound like they are about different children and offer no conclusive diagnosis. The doctor, who met my son once for half an hour, no parental/nursery questionnaires etc. ruled out ASD and basically concluded that all his difficulties area result of his speech and language difficulties. Whilst he does have significant S&L issues he also has a lots of sensory issues that impact on day to day life far more. He does not have relationships with his peers at nursery and when they try and play with him he often has serious meltdowns, he is also incredibly inflexible. The SLT and OT wrote a joint report for the LA, which was far better and described his needs far better, within this it says he has Sensory Processing Disorder and severely disordered speech production. The EP report states that he has complex learning difficulties as a result of S&L and sensory issues. She also reports that his non verbal reasoning is low average and verbal is borderline. Part of the problem is that my son absolutely loves going to appointments, and is at his best in them. He is able to communicate fairly well with adults particularly in this environment. He has good eye contact (though developed this late). He is on a reduced timetable at nursery and has 1-2-1 support. I feel like the paediatrician did not take into account any of the serious difficulties that were not apparent in that one meeting. Is it really possible for him to rule out ASD on one appointment? All the reports so far have said that he will need a high level of support, so I'm not sure what difference a clear diagnosis will make. I am due to see the paediatrician again soon, so should I be pushing for a diagnosis or just get on with what we have?
For us the ASD dx has been really important, but, before challenging or pushing for it I would consider:
- often after autism is diagnosed everything gets attributed to the autism and you won't get any further assessments or interventions, especially SALT. For example my ds won't be assessed for dyspraxia as he already has an ASD dx.
- however, there are autism specific services that can often only be accessed with a formal dx, for example, our local children's autism outreach team who do loads of fab activities and support.
Maybe have a look at what local services there are and what you're most likely to need/use and work from there.
The paed shouldnt really be dismissing Asd without doing any proper assessments! I would request a multi disiplinery team assessment at your nearest child development centre! They will have SALT, OT, Pead and possibly a clinical psych as well!
I'm currently looking at schools and have my fingers crossed for a speech and language school. If the school or LA don't agree then I'm worried that we won't find a school that will meet his sensory needs.
I've just managed to make an appointment with the paediatrician on the 27th. Gives me some time to think about what's best.