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Does my child have autism?

Does my child have autism?

Published at 4:09pm 13th August 2018. (Updated at 4:08pm 14th August 2018)

Evolve Psychology Promoted by
Evolve Psychology

Over 1 in 100 people are on the autistic spectrum, but can an official diagnosis make a difference?

Over 700,000 people are on the autistic spectrum in the UK.

It is not something you grow out of and is not always obvious.

Autism is more common in boys than in girls. 

What is autism?

As explained by clinical psychologist Dr Laura Powling from Evolve Psychology autism is...

"A lifelong neurodevelopmental condition which is characterised by difficulties with social interactions, social communication and quite restricted patterns of interests, behaviours and activities, and there can often be some sensory difficulties."

Boy about aged 11 looking fed up out of a rainy window

Should I get my child assessed for autism?

There are pros and cons of an official autism diagnosis. It's a very personal decision.

A positive diagnosis of autism can result in better educational support. Whilst current regulations mean all students should receive necessary support, from nurseries to universities the chances of receiving increased funding or assistance are higher post-diagnosis.

Local parent Emma, Mum of 6 year old Archie struggled to get an official autism diagnosis, but now that has happened says:

"You want them to achieve the best and without the diagnosis we were unable to get his educational health care plan (EHCP) which is the support he needs in school. Now he has the one-to-one, she can relay things in terms he can understand and at his pace... now he's able to join in PE, he's able to sit in his lessons, and more importantly if he needs some time out there is an adult there now who can take him out of the classroom and give him his movement breaks."

However for some, it is also important to consider that this is a life-long diagnosis. There is no cure and individuals do not grow out of it

Being diagnosed can inhibit certain career choices, for the armed forces and police, for example. 

Some parents believe that as long as the child / young person gets sufficient support, there is no need for a "label"

Childs hands with building blocks and toys

How does an assessment work at Evolve Psychology?

Every autism assessment at Evolve Psychology on Victoria Avenue in Harrogate begins with a screening in which the impact of a diagnosis will be discussed. This can involve the child or adult in question, and parents or carers. 

The  autism assessment process at Evolve Psychology then takes form in several parts including play observation, school / work observation and conversations with teachers / employers, parents and carers discussion, and a variety of assessment methods recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence. 

It involves expertise from clinical psychologists, speech and language therapists and psychiatrists

The team at Evolve Psychology are recommending local parents or carers who are concerned or interested in an autism assessment to get in touch - no pressure, no obligation. 

Beth Parsons talked to Clinical Psychologist Dr Laura Powling from Evolve Psychology and local Mum Emma about autism, what a diagnosis means and how the assessment process works on the Stray FM Health and Wellbeing Show:

More health and wellbeing stories from Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale.