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(UK) Some kids wait 5 yrs for ASD diagnosis; increased demand is blamed

June 1, 2018, UK GetWestLondon: Parents endure up to five year wait for autism diagnosis nationwide according to Hillingdon Manor School founder https://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/west-london-news/parents-endure-up-five-year-14734322 Parents are complaining of waiting as long as five years for an autism diagnosis for their child, and are grappling with a "postcode lottery", according to the advocate mum behind Hillingdon Manor School . The concerns were revived after Westminster's local authorities published its waiting lists on May 24, finding families in the central London borough were waiting as long as a year for diagnosis, despite waiting time guidelines of three months. A North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commission (NWLCCC) Groups spokeswoman said while the waiting times were "longer than we would like," it was lower than the average national waiting time average estimated by a parent-reported survey at 3.6 years. … There were complex reasons for the delays, including increased demand for the assessment which had increased "significantly" in the last few years due to wider awareness about autism, the NWLCCC spokeswoman said. More families may believe their children are on the spectrum. Healthcare professionals were also more knowledgeable and better trained to detect the signs…. After Anna Kennedy's two sons were turned away from mainstream education, she and her husband re-mortgaged their house to open Hillingdon Manor, a specialist school for pupils living with autism spectrum disorders. The school began with 19 pupils in 1999. Now her boys are adults it hosts about 190 students. Hillingdon Manor provides education, specialist therapies and psychological treatment for young people aged 3 to 19, many of whom also have learning difficulties like dyslexia…. On Thursday (May 31) she asked her social media followers how long they had waited for their child to receive a diagnosis and was flooded with hundreds of messages from frustrated parents. They told of waiting times from anywhere between months to seven years. … I have had 200 messages since 6pm yesterday across #socialmedia about waiting for #autism diagnosis Our #charity submitted results of survey 2000 replies submitted to #DeptofHealth in 2013 Feels like #groundhogday parents sharing same concerns and wait times poss slightly worse!... Waiting a long time for a diagnosis meant a window for early intervention could be missed, Kennedy said. "It has an impact on the child, it has an impact on the school, which doesn't know what they are dealing with. It has an impact on the siblings, and obviously the family." While some parents she encountered over her years campaigned did avoid seeking a "label", others told her of being dismissed. Some were told their children had behavioural issues or that their parenting was poor, but then a diagnosis came many years down the track, she said. One of Kennedy's sons was diagnosed by health professionals at four, but the family was not informed and only learned about it by accident at school when he was seven. "That was obviously very stressful." A National Autism Society (NAS) survey found one in 10 parents said they ended up paying for a private diagnosis. …