Children and parents facing autism diagnosis ‘nightmare’

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UKIP North Antrim Assembly candidate, Cllr. Donna Anderson has spoken out about the ‘absolute nightmare’ faced by potentially autistic children and their parents.

Cllr. Anderson, who represents Ballymena Town on Mid & East Antrim Borough Council was responding to a report which reveals that up to 2,079 children are currently awaiting to be diagnosed in regard to the autistic spectrum.

She said: “The waiting list for an autism diagnosis is shocking. Some of those parents are known to me in various areas of Northern Ireland and it is an absolute nightmare playing a waiting game. Meanwhile their child is unable to get the help that they need specific to their individual needs. This in turn puts massive stress and pressure onto the rest of the family living in the house.”

Cllr Anderson highlighted the fact that without an appropriate diagnosis, children with autism cannot be ‘statemented’ for educational purposes.

She added: “The child’s educational/nursery/personal needs are not being met either and can lead to the child having no alternative but to be kept at home and lose out on learning and improvement of social skills. To have a degree of normality and routine which is vital to their well-being is therefore lacking also.”

Offering her support to the numerous children and families who are currently waiting up to 20 months to be diagnosed, she also said: “I would call upon those holding the purse strings in Stormont to start and look after your people, release the money to have these children assessed and help those families living in limbo.”