Autism diagnosis, and then what?
Then what indeed! Nothing, is usually the case, there’s the diagnosis, get on with it! Not terribly helpful if you don’t have the first clue as how to best help the person with the diagnosis, or indeed, are the diagnosed. It’s bad enough an adult receiving a diagnosis and being left to ‘get on with it’, but, when it’s a child of school age, that really doesn’t cut it.
I’m not knocking the NHS, they do the best they can with extremely limited resources but there does need to be easier and better access to whatever help is available. I set up Autism One on One as an additional opportunity for people on the spectrum and their parents, friends etc…..to be able to come together and share knowledge and experiences that might help others and to gain support themselves as well. The group works extremely well but we’re limited as to how many people we can reach, and therefore, help.
A child with a diagnosis of Autism may be doing well in school and coping with the day to day demands without requiring any extra support, but there are some who don’t cope as well and need some kind of intervention. The support they need may be minimal but would make all the difference in the world to them, and, if nothing else, lower their anxiety to a more reasonable level.
Knowing how best to help them reach their full potential needs assessment from a professional who can then guide the school as to what strategies to implement to best help the child. The problem with this is that these assessments are not always forthcoming without a little ‘pushing’ from the parents. It was a Speech and Language assessment that alerted us to the extent to which Nikita was struggling and led to her obtaining a statement which allowed her to maximise her potential at a brilliant Special School. The school were amazing and enabled Nikita to grow in confidence, as well as educationally, so that at the age of 16 she was able to start mainstream college. Something we never dreamt would be possible.
Personally, I feel the education system in a lot of countries is failing a huge proportion of brilliant kids due the teaching methods, one size does not fit all and the main learning styles need to be catered for from the youngest age possible. This makes total sense and would enable every student to fulfil their potential, as Einstein is credited as saying:
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.
The exact same thing is true of people everywhere and judging all kids on the same teaching and exam structure is designed so that a huge proportion will fail….how terribly sad….all of that superb potential squandered. Some may eventually find themselves and be a great success in life but many won’t if they don’t get the support they need whilst they are young.
So, parents of children with autism, or any other special need come to that, the bad news is that you have to fight to get what’s best for your child. The good news is that once they receive the help they need, they can fly high and reach the stars.
Let’s fight for a better deal for our kids.