‘No one wanted to know’ - parents speak out about ‘autism crisis’
- Credit: Archant
Parents of autistic children across Suffolk have shared their frustrations about how long it has taken for their children to be assessed.
This comes in the wake of new NHS data which revealed that waiting times for autism assesments in the county are double the 13 week period they should be.
Jemma Low, 33, is a mum from Ipswich who is still waiting for a definitive diagnosis for her eight-year-old son Thomas.
Miss Low said: "Thomas's first appointment took six months to arrive, the report we got back from the first appointment was that he was most likely on the autistic spectrum.
"We are just waiting and waiting and waiting! We have been told it could take anything between a year to two years for a full diagnosis."
READ MORE: The shocking delays faced by children referred for autism assessment in SuffolkMelanie Lord, 30, started having concerns about her son Harry, now four, when he turned one.
She said: "Finally he was seen at age three-and-a-half and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder just before his fourth birthday."
Miss Lord said: " They say early intervention is key to the development of children with additional needs but no one wanted to know."
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Giving advice to parents that are still waiting for their child to be diagnosed Miss Lord said: "Don't give up hope.
"Keep fighting and don't second doubt yourself, only you know your own child. Fight for what you believe.
"I feel sad for all parents facing this journey as it really can affect you mentally and the child."
Paige Giles a mum from Ipswich described the "extreme stress and depression" she suffered whilst waiting for an autism diagnosis for her eldest son.
She said: "Being told to do a parenting course made me feel it was all my fault and I was the issue."
She praised an autism group at the Willows Children's Centre in the town that has helped support her and her family through the difficult time.
Another mum from Lowestoft has spoken about the three year wait she had for her son Kieran, 13, to be diagnosed.
Clare Cooper, aged 39, said: "It was very frustrating as I couldn't get the help my son needed he has always struggled at school and this made things harder.
It would feel like I was banging my head against a brick wall."