Today we meet with the paediatrician for the second time. Following the last visit where he was ‘too young’, we have few expectations that a diagnosis will be made. Last night I was reading Tony Attwood’s book on Aspergers and he writes that, although there are developments in pre-school assessment, such diagnoses usually happen later in a child’s life (usually following intervention by school). I have also spoken to Autism Outreach, who said much the same thing.
So why is a diagnosis so important? Are we getting ahead of ourselves and trying to label him with a condition when it might just be delayed development?
A diagnosis, and the support that results from it, is important to us for a number of reasons. Number one, we want to understand and be able to support our son. Who knows if he is autistic? I have my doubts every day. But if we don’t know, we can’t begin to move forward in the right direction. Also, knowing that he isn’t autistic would enable us to seek answers as to what might be at the root of his difficulties.
Secondly, without a diagnosis, getting further support seems difficult. We feel like we have fallen in the gap between the Specialist Early Years Service and primary school. The ‘wait and see’ attitude is not going to help B’s transition to primary school. I don’t need them to find out he can’t cope, I need to be able to tell them in advance. I need to be able to support my case with evidence and I need the agencies working alongside me that will make it happen. My fear is that B will not last a week in primary school without things going wrong for him. This is not just an over protective parent talking. B’s nursery are finding him increasingly difficult to meet his needs; they have requested that Specialist Early Years revisit him to help. What’s it going to be like in a Reception class with a much lower ratio of support?
It is our intention to meet with B’s intended primary and discuss with them his needs and how they can be met, regardless of today’s outcome. I really do believe he will cope only with some one to one support. For that to happen he will need a statement and to get a statement he will need a diagnosis, or further assessment or Ed Psych involvement.
I must be realistic about this. These things take time and, understandably, are not to be rushed into. I doubt whether much will happen today but at least we, as parents, are continuing to push, and to get from the system what support we can.