OVER a hundred children in York are facing lengthy delays to be assessed for autism.
A national charity has warned such delays can be devastating for families, as it emerged families in York are having to wait 35 weeks from referral to a first appointment.
The latest figures showed there were 107 children in York on the waiting list to be assessed, half of which are expected to have a positive diagnosis.
Sarah Lambert, head of policy at the National Autistic Society, said: “An autism diagnosis can be life changing. It can explain years of feeling different and help unlock professional advice and support.
“But, as shown by waiting times in York, far too many autistic people and their families have to wait many months for a diagnosis. Long waits can be devastating - it can put a huge strain on already vulnerable families and mean children go through school without the right support in place, which can affect their long-term prospects.” Between one per cent and 1.5 per cent of the population are estimated to have autism. About 206,000 people live in York which means there are over 2,000 people living in York with autism, either diagnosed or undiagnosed, according to a report due to be presented to the Health and Wellbeing Board on Wednesday.
The report includes recommendations such as the need to look again at how the condition is diagnosed and review the support available.
The report includes the experiences of a York man named as Ronnie, who describes the elation of being diagnosed in his 40s. He said: “Everything finally made sense and I was slowly able to forgive myself for a lifetime of my own perceived failings. Yes, I had been happily married for many years with happy, successful children but I had always struggled with everyday life when others didn’t seem to...Would I rather I’d been diagnosed as a child? Of course. I spent a lot of time wondering what my life would have been like with that knowledge. However, I will be forever grateful for my diagnosis, no matter how late in life it came. I finally know who I am. Autism is part and parcel of who I am."