May 30, 2018, GetWestLondon: Children are waiting over a year for an autism diagnosis in Westminster https://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/children-waiting-over-year-autism-14725207 Children are waiting over a year for an autism diagnosis in the London borough of Westminster . The figures are set against a backdrop of what are thought to be even longer waiting times around the United Kingdom, while advocacy groups wait for the Government to fulfil its pledge to start publishing the figures…. A report to its health and wellbeing board tabled on Thursday (May 24) warned there will be a growth of demand for autism support services. The board heard that more support needed to be offered to families to help them find services to help them while they waited. In 2015, the National Autistic Society (NAS) launched its Autism Diagnosis Crisis campaign, calling for the Government to reduce waiting times…. A study of just over 1,000 parents nationwide in 2012 found they reported waiting 3.6 years, on average, for an autism diagnosis from the first time they approached health professionals with worries. The waiting time parents reported waiting four years for an Asperger's diagnosis. Half of all respondents to a NAS survey said getting a diagnosis took a long time and was stressful. One in 10 said they ended up paying for a private diagnosis. … It highlighted waiting times for referral to autism diagnosis of over a year in 2017/18 in south Westminster for children aged over 4.5 years, and 41 weeks for those referred in central and north Westminster. The waiting lists included referrals from parts of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham too. Hammersmith and Fulham has now exited the triborough shared social services arrangement. The report said referrals to the Child Development service's Autism pathway increased by 80% since 2012/13. However there had been little increase in service capacity in the last ten years to keep pace with demand, it added. Nearly a fifth of Westminster school pupils are recorded as having special educational needs, amounting to 3,641 pupils. There tended to be significantly more boys than girls in Westminster affected by autism spectrum disorders, in line with London and the UK. The report noted diagnosis delays could cause stress to families. While they were able to obtain services while they waited, it suggested more support could be offered to them during that time. There are 559 children and young people aged 0-25 registered with their GP with autism in the borough, but the report noted this was said to be an undercount. It warned if pace continued in line with population growth, the rates of autism would generate "a larger absolute burden on the national and local health economy."