Jan 20, 2023, 24SSPORTS: Perth mom speaks out about ‘ridiculous’ wait time for autism diagnosis https://24ssports.com/perth-mom-speaks-out-about-ridiculous-wait-time-for-autism-diagnosis/
A Perth mother says her family was betrayed by the public health system after being told she would have to wait more than two years for her son to be officially diagnosed with autism….
After struggling with the behavior of her 10-year-old son Christopher over the last few years, Tanya decided to quit her job to work for him full-time.
“This is absolutely ridiculous and so disappointing for us,” she told 7NEWS.com.au. “We need help now, not in two years.”
The letter from Perth Children’s Hospital, seen by 7NEWS.com.au, confirmed her referral to the Child Development Service while also revealing the long wait.
“The approximate waiting time is currently more than 24 months,” the letter said.
“Please note that these waiting times are subject to change and we will contact you as soon as an appointment becomes available.”
“Follow the Grid”
Christopher was first diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, in kindergarten.
Since then, however, his behavior has continued to deteriorate.
Tanya says Christopher’s behavior in particular has gotten “out of control” over the past few years, and she worries about what will happen if he doesn’t get the help he needs soon.
“The other day he threw a toy at my head and made it bleed — it’s not his fault, he just can’t control his anger,” she said….
Tanya added that his school also does not currently have funds to support Christopher in the way he needs it….
How a diagnosis can help
However, consulting psychologist Dianna Kenny says the wait time in Australia highlights a larger problem within the public health system.
“Autism is grossly overdiagnosed in young children,” she told 7NEWS.com.au
“There is no single way to make the diagnosis, so some forms of assessment reach the ‘threshold’ for diagnosis sooner than others.”
Kenny added that the condition “manifests early” and “early intervention can be critical to the child’s developmental trajectory.”
“The intervention has to be quite intense,” she said.
“Once a week or every two weeks with an OT (occupational therapy) is a waste of time and money.”