Should My Child Get an Autism Assessment?
We work with families every day, whose child requires speech and language support and the question of Autism has been floating around, sometimes for several months, sometimes only recently. Parents themselves might already be questioning whether their child may be neurodiverse, but are unsure about assessment; whether they should do it, what it might affect and so on. We discuss this as part of our support on a frequent basis, so we thought even more families might find it useful to have a quick list of the most salient things we find might be of consideration when thinking about an Autism assessment:
1. It can help to clarify your child’s needs and ways of learning
People on the spectrum have different ways of learning new skills, i.e. they may engage in more rote learning, they may find it easier to process auditory information when not processing visual information as well and therefore may give reduced eye contact, etc. By understanding whether your child utilises these ways of learning and development, we can tailor our support to better fit in within this model. Assessment can also give an indication of difficulty areas that are common for children with Autism which can inform therapy. Likewise, if no ‘diagnosis’ is made, we can provide therapy with a more traditional approach.
2. You get a “why”
If you’ve ever thought “why is he doing that?” or “why is this challenging for her?” then getting an Autism assessment can help to clarify your own mind and see your child in a new light. As we always wish to advocate, Autism is not a manifestation of something “wrong”, but of something “different”, so finding this out can make a lot of curious areas suddenly make sense.
3. You can be part of a community and gain additional support
The neurodiverse community is a wonderful place to be and if your child is found to have Autism, it can help them to form an identity within this group of amazing people. There are many groups and resources out there that you could also access for support.
4. Funding and formal supports may be an easier path to navigate
Although a diagnosis is just a name, it can help when navigating through all the red tape, information and choices that come along with finding the right supports and being able to access them on a regular basis.
5. It can be costly and time-consuming
It is important that we include all the things to consider when going down this road, including the practical side of things. There are many options out there in terms of getting an assessment. Private assessments can be expensive, while the public system may have significant waiting times. The assessments themselves also tend to take a couple of hours all up.
These are all valuable points to think about. The most important thing is that the presence or absence of a diagnosis does not change who your child is as a person; it simply lets us understand them better. Especially in terms of therapy, any good professional will evaluate everything they know about the child, not just a label, and goals will be constructed based on what is going to be the most beneficial for your child; what is going to make the most difference for them in their life.
Assessment is a personal choice, but the decision to celebrate our children for who they are is something that is made regardless.