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Mum waits 3 years for autism diagnosis for child - yet transgender diagnosis took a few months.

(57 Posts)
SocialConnection Wed 15-Jul-20 01:04:47

This poor mother's at her wits end over NHS autism services failure to support her child - while the gender services took a few months to diagnose child as transgender and treat via Zoom.

Those who have children with autism might recognise the characteristics described here?

(Sorry it's from the Mainly Fail)

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8523349/A-gender-clinic-agreed-help-boy-admits-change-mind.html

OP’s posts: |
Smallsteps88 Wed 15-Jul-20 01:13:51

It worries me that a woman who would encourage the transitioning of a 9 year old child, including legally changing their name, is being trusted with other people’s children.

Aesopfable Wed 15-Jul-20 01:24:07

It seems like her mum is reluctant to Dexter to return to Talia. But even more worrying is her attitude to puberty blockers:

Mienna was resigned to the fact that hormone blockers — which can be taken from the age of ten — would be available to Dexter to spare him the agony of an unwanted puberty

Which the article describes as:

^ Children can request puberty blockers before they hit puberty.^

They are said to give children ‘breathing space’ to decide if they wish to be a different gender, by preventing changes to their body such as their voice getting deeper or breasts growing.

If they then decide they want to, at 16 they can begin the physical transition from male to female, or female to male, using the ‘cross-sex’ hormones oestrogen or testosterone.

They can also change their mind and come off the hormone-blockers before reaching a further stage, at which time puberty would happen normally.

OldQueen1969 Wed 15-Jul-20 01:37:12

Oh ye Gods and little fishes.

Yes I clicked and read, despite being aware of the shortcomings of the DM, and being slightly tipsy in charge of a laptop.

So please forgive me for possible hyperbole but honestly, I took a couple of months I'm back on the hamster wheel.

It seems every time I dive in, fresh horror waves itself in my face and reminds me how ephemeral old certainties have become.

In what world is this in any way acceptable? Any of it?

That poor kid. Their poor parents. Casualties to ideologies.

What happened to "do no harm"?

"Best interests of the child" ...... when did that get so warped?

Honestly it feels like I'm drowning, and every time I come up for air water-boarding happens.

Yes, I could "step away" - but if we all do that what happens?

Again, apologies for the ramble. No constructive words other than the usual......

ContentiousOne Wed 15-Jul-20 01:40:12

My kid got a GD diagnosis in one session with a psychiatrist. So, 1.5 hrs.

Psych told me the diagnosis is 'low hanging fruit'.

OldCrone Wed 15-Jul-20 02:34:41

Worryingly, recently Dexter has started to show signs that he may be less sure about his gender identity than he used to be. The announcement came one night in February 2019. ‘He was so upset as he said, “I think I want to be a girl. I don’t know. I’m confused.”

Of course this poor child is confused. Being told by supposedly responsible adults that whether you are a boy or a girl is a matter of choice. And why is it 'worrying' if a girl decides she is a girl after all?

TheSingingKettle49 Wed 15-Jul-20 05:57:07

When the child said she was a boy why didn’t they continue with you’re a girl but you can dress as you like and call yourself what you like, but you ARE a girl? It’s obvious that puberty is going to be very difficult for this child but now it will be 10 times worse because they’ve been led to believe they’re a boy. The parents and the NHS have really failed the poor kid.

EdgeOfACoin Wed 15-Jul-20 06:56:27

She recalls the first time Dexter professed doubts about being a boy, in early 2019. ‘He was very distressed. He said he felt he wanted to be a girl but was embarrassed.′

'He said, “The problem is I’m older now and everyone will ask questions. It’s not the same as when I went from Talia to Dexter, because I was little,”’ says Mienna. ‘I was heartbroken. My biggest fear is that having said he’s Dexter, he feels trapped in this situation.

‘I told him I’d love and support him whatever and make the ride as smooth as possible, but it’s going to be bumpy, isn’t it?’

So now that the trans train is in motion, having been 'affirmed' as Dexter their whole life, the child is now scared and embarrassed to backtrack? And their name has been changed by deed poll to something they chose when they were 5?

That poor kid.

WannabeJolie Wed 15-Jul-20 07:09:35

This is so sad. Both my daughters have autism and one I’m watching closely so she doesn’t get drawn into this whole gender thing as she wears boys clothing, likes her hair short and really isn’t liking her body changing. I’m so aware that it would be easy being autistic to be told she’s actually transgender. I know another mum whose son is in his teens and they feel he’s transgender and they want to help him explore his “female gender identity”. There are probably so many kids crying out for an autism diagnosis but instead they end up at Tavistock.

Oblomov20 Wed 15-Jul-20 07:14:50

Good God. What a mess. This is such an awful case.

rogdmum Wed 15-Jul-20 09:33:43

Most young children will desist by puberty and the Tavi knows this so why don’t they use watchful waiting with therapeutic support? It sounds as though this mother hasn’t been pushing it herself, that she’s been conflicted and trying to do what is best for her child as guided by the Tavi.

The disconnect between autism diagnosis and gender dysphoria diagnosis is appalling. My daughter is older (15), but as soon as her GP heard “gender issues” she refused to refer my daughter (then 14) for an autism diagnosis and instead put her straight on the waiting list for GIDS.

IT MAKES NO SENSE.

NonHypotheticalLurkingParent Wed 15-Jul-20 09:51:33

I have every sympathy with the mother regarding getting help. The decoupling of gender dysphoria from mental health will have exacerbated their problems. Any distress from gender dysphoria will be dealt with by the Tavistock as not in the remit of NHS mental health trusts. Any non transgender issues Dexter has will be addressed by the normal NHS time scale - super slow.

In my view the Tavistock should have it’s own autism assessment team, not refer back to local services who don’t provide gender services. The Tavistock should be investigating the prevalence of ASD traits themselves, not just thinking it’s an interesting phenomenon.

There’s a few interesting snippets from that article - where the mum was surprised the local mental health team had no record of Dexter being born a girl. This is where activism has got us. An important facet of a child’s history is erased because noting they’d been born a different sex is transphobic. The mum sounds so confused by it all.

At the moment I’m finding it hard to be reasonable. We’ve been through 4 years of gender dysphoria (now resolved) and are still waiting for an autism assessment - 7 years after first asking. We’re told traits are due to different conditions, she’ll grow out of them, she makes eye contact, etc, etc, etc. We’ve had two suicide attempts, one very recently. Since her attempt right at the beginning of lockdown, she has not seen any mental heath professional. This is the reality of bog standard mental health provision in the UK.

EmbarrassingAdmissions Wed 15-Jul-20 10:02:49

the Tavistock should have it’s own autism assessment team, not refer back to local services who don’t provide gender services. The Tavistock should be investigating the prevalence of ASD traits themselves, not just thinking it’s an interesting phenomenon.

I strongly agree. The Tavistock is letting down some service users in a way that will probably cost some of their units their existence at some point. (Apologies the repeated 'some' but I couldn't come up with another way to express it.)

Family friends are dealing with a teen who socially transitioned to an NB with a different presentation to birth sex and was planning for a full transition. It seems to have been very mixed up with problems at school, difficulty socialising, and retreating into the arms of the YouTube family that encouraged transitioning. The lockdown has nudged the family towards recognising that gender identity is masking other profound MH issues for which comparatively little assistance is available.

SocialConnection Wed 15-Jul-20 10:02:51

The note that the mother is not 'allowed' by her child to recycle cardboard speaks volumes.

OP’s posts: |
xsquared Wed 15-Jul-20 10:06:54

Does anyone who work for the NHS know why transgender treatment take priority?

I was having a conversation with a surgeon friend of mine the other day who mentioned this, but I didn't get to find out how they take priority over someone who needs treatment for obesity for example.

gardenbird48 Wed 15-Jul-20 10:07:55

I'm intrigued by the sentence at the end of the article, it appears to summarise the headline?
A gender clinic has agreed to help this boy even though he admits he may still change his mind
that seems to imply that if he was uncertain about being transgender they might have decided not to help him? I may have read that wrong.

There has been quite a lot of media attention on this family over the years and during their appearance on This Morning she mentioned that he liked 'superhero' outfits 'boys clothes' which are more comfortable and practical - which, if he is autistic with enormous sensory issues, could explain a lot. She seems quite glamorous in her pics so if her style was reflected in her choice of girls clothes for her child, they might well have been very uncomfortable to an autistic child. I am not autistic but I remember refusing to wear certain designs of knickers, polo necks and dresses purely because of the discomfort.

Aesopfable Wed 15-Jul-20 10:32:45

There has been quite a lot of media attention on this family over the years

Hmm.

NonHypotheticalLurkingParent Wed 15-Jul-20 10:51:06

xsquared

Does anyone who work for the NHS know why transgender treatment take priority?

I was having a conversation with a surgeon friend of mine the other day who mentioned this, but I didn't get to find out how they take priority over someone who needs treatment for obesity for example.

It’s not made a priority, it’s happened because of certain factors.

Declassifying gender dysphoria as a mental health issue, means that only specialist services, The Tavistock, can deal with prescribing, etc. GPs can’t prescribe anti-depressants for youth under the age of 17. So Tavistock refer on to endocrinologists for puberty blockers and to psychiatrists for anti-depressants, etc.

Following on from the above - once prescribed anti-depressants, the patient should be reviewed by a psychiatrist until stable. Most local services only have 1 child and adolescent psychiatrist. The referrals back from the Tavistock overwhelm the local services, so patients referred by the GP to CAMHS are facing huge waits. In our area you will only receive intervention if you’re actively suicidal, even then it’s not guaranteed (my daughter’s urgent psychiatrist appointment is not until November, which’ll be 7 months after her recent attempt).

It’s not intentional, it’s just circumstance.

NonHypotheticalLurkingParent Wed 15-Jul-20 11:01:38

^ Did she feel guilt, given that just a year earlier she’d changed Dexter’s name by deed poll, legally validating her son’s decision? ‘I questioned whether it had been the right thing to do,’ she admits, but insists: ‘It was the right thing to do at the time because he was so distressed^

This is an important paragraph. Why, when the child was younger were they not given a cardboard box, that was destined for recycling, to relieve their distress?

Aesopfable Wed 15-Jul-20 11:52:19

Does the child know they cannot actually change sex? That the most they can achieve is a facsimile of the sex they wish to be? It sounds very much like they think they actually have a choice of which sex they want to be.

‘Affirmation’ affirms a lie which young children (and some adults it seems) think is literally true.

LonginesPrime Wed 15-Jul-20 12:38:25

When I hear trans people speak of how they realised growing up that something wasn't right and they felt different from others and struggled to conform to societal expectations, it resonates so strongly with my own experience of trying to conform to neurotypical expectations with an undiagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder.

I wasn't diagnosed as neurodivergent (ADHD) until my late 30s, but I had spent my whole life feeling I didn't fit in and desperately trying to figure out why.

The only reason I never considered gender dysphoria as an explanation was because I've always had a firm belief that gender's a social construct, so that explanation would have made no logical sense to me. But if I had believed that gender was an actual thing, I absolutely would have taken gender dysphoria to be a plausible explanation, because the trans existential experience appears identical to my own.

I don't think many people realise how much neurodivergence can affect people's self-perception and their experience of the world, and I personally believe that this is the reason for many misdiagnoses of gender dysphoria.

IMO, neurodevelopmental disorders should be ruled out as part of a gender dysphoria diagnosis, because ASD and ADHD (and any sensory/executive dysfunction) can have such a significant impact on one's perception and sense of self, along with a lack of awareness on the part of the patient.

SocialConnection Wed 15-Jul-20 13:08:23

Do we feel Tavistock etc MUST include autism expert professionals in their team and a requirement for full assessment as a key part of a young person's diagnosis and care?

OP’s posts: |
ListeningQuietly Wed 15-Jul-20 13:15:41

Interesting set of stories on the Fail today
the one about Hollie Branson "living as a boy" for six years and then deciding she was a girl
with her parents supporting but not intervening
is interesting

Aesopfable Wed 15-Jul-20 13:44:28

But would it actually help having an autism expert on board when even the likes of the National Autistic Society are taken in by genderideology, and when Mermaids promote transitioning as a 'cure'?

TheSingingKettle49 Wed 15-Jul-20 13:52:22

SocialConnection

Do we feel Tavistock etc MUST include autism expert professionals in their team and a requirement for full assessment as a key part of a young person's diagnosis and care?

No, I think the autism assessment should come first and should be wholly independent of the GIDS service, otherwise there will be pressure not to diagnose as autistic to keep the GIDS service going or the people who would be drawn to that role would have an interest in trans so wouldn’t be independent.

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