Its been reported in the last couple of days that NHS referrals for assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may cease in South West London.
Children will only be considered for a referral to check for autism if they have an additional mental health condition that requires treatment, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or depression.
The decision would affect children in five London Boroughs. At a recent speech and language conference I attended only twenty miles away from London, autism was reported to be the most complex element affecting speech development and gives professionals the biggest headache of all childhood communication disabilities. Simply by a health authority ignoring a child and their difficulties the childs problems will not go away and only worsen without adequate recognition and support.
Repeatedly we as parents are told that early intervention is crucial with both autism and communication difficulties and without this intervention there will no doubt be a detrimental effect on the child, the family, the school, as well as the wider circle. In addition to this there is a high risk is that the child could develop mental health issues which could further debilitate them for the rest of their lives.
We are yet to see whether this decision would be followed through by government. However, as a parent who is painfully aware that a diagnosis is the only way to receive what little support and understanding there is out there for children on the autism spectrum.
The idea of removing a diagnosis from children who need the same help as Dylan is quite frankly appalling.