Stage 1 of the autism assessment is where you are seen by a pediatrician who then refers you on to the next stage if they agree with the concerns and think that an autism diagnosis is necessary.
We got referred to stage two the third week of December which was when Dylan turned three. Unfortunately they cannot refer you to stage two until the child is three, which has made this a very long and drawn out process for us because Dylan’s autism has been so obvious since a very young age. Thankfully though for the stage two we only had to wait a few weeks.
I had heard about the stage two assessment from other people who had already done it and I was very nervous, I was expecting to leave in tears.
Basically its a parent only interview to get as much information about your child from birth to now. All the milestones they hit and which ones they struggled to reach or have yet to reach.
When we went in and as we were sitting waiting I was getting so anxious, and was really worrying about Dylan. When you go to this appointment you are not allowed to bring your child with you so I really struggled leaving Dylan. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have left him with someone bar my husband.
After a few comments made after we got back, I wont be leaving him with them again.
A lady then came to get us from the waiting room and she was very friendly and calming. She told us all about what would be happening and why we were there etc and asked us if we were happy to start and away we went.
At the start she asked us a lot about how Dylan was as a baby, how was the pregnancy, birth, what was he like, did he sleep well, did he hit his milestones for walking, smiling, laughing and what was he like when we weaned him. As I was answering them I was thinking to myself how obvious it was even from such a young age that Dylan was autistic, he smiled & laughed very late, weaning was hell food it still a huge issue with Dylan, I can’t remember how he slept.. but I think it was ok..I can’t remember being too exhausted? (haha!)
She then went on to ask us about how he is now, how he communicates, copes with change, diet, behaviour, friendships, understanding, dislikes and all that type of thing and after all the questions about his struggles etc. and then to end the bit about his development she then asked about his strengths too and his like.
I’ll not answer these all for you.. otherwise this blog post will end up extremely long.
Obviously it isn’t easy at all especially on the mind and your mental state to be constantly thinking about all of the negative things, what your child cannot do and what they really struggle with but I think that I now know that you have to give all this information and think about it that I have grown a little harder shell when being asked and I just answer it the best I can because I know I have too to ensure that he gets the help and care he requires and deserves.
She then asks about your mental health and if anyone in your family has any mental health issues, diagnosis etc and then after that she just has a little chat.
She told us that usually they ask how you will feel if your child does not get a diagnosis but she said that she wouldn’t bother asking us that questions because it is very obvious that he is autistic. She asked us how we think we will feel when we do get the official diagnosis and I think I am going to struggle.
I worked in a special needs school with many kids who have autism when I was younger and many who I have encountered think that this will make it very easy for me to accept and to just carry on with. They seem to forget that these children I worked with, they weren’t my own. I went home at the end of the day and so did they, I wasn’t emotionally connected to them like I am Dylan, my own son. Personally, I think it makes it a lot harder for me. I have experienced how autism affects children as they grow up, I know the struggles and what the future may bring.
We now have another 6-9 month wait for when they will see Dylan and give us an official diagnosis and get it over and done with then onto the next hurdle.
The lady wrote at the top of our one that we will take any cancellations and we just want to get the official diagnosis over and done with so that we can move onto the next part of the greving process.