Pros and cons of assessment/ benefits of assessment

hi everyone,

i am in need of some help with the diagnose/ don't diagnose question.  I have read a fair few posts about it and still have yet more questions!

My son is 7 and may be high functioning.  He has plenty of traits but I worry that a diagnosis will mean allowances will be made for him which will ultimately make it harder for him as an adult - I want to give him a fair chance and the support he needs to live a happy and independent life as an adult.

i worry that laws about disclosure may change amd that attitudes can change.  I'm not sure a diagnosis will get us any more support or any meaningful information about him that will mean we can support him better at home or school.

Can any anyone tell me what kind of information a diagnosis might give us about our son and what kind of additional support might be available? We live in the Thames Valley.  

We went on the course with our local AS anod we think he is 'borderline' (!). We have worked v hard with boundaries and clear expectations and things are much better at home (we are hoping we are bad parents ha ha...)

my main concern for him at the moment is making and maintaining friendships. 

Thank you!

  • I wish I had had a diagnosis as a kid. It would have saved me a lifetime of stress and anxiety wondering why I had all of these social difficulties. I'm 52 and was diagnosed only recently.

    If you get a diagnosis you can learn coping strategies and be taught social etiquette as it does not come naturally to a persion with ASD.

    I have had to learn all this stuff that hard way over my 52 years on this strange planet.

    Get the diagnosis, you will then know what you are dealing with. Knowledge is power.

  • thanks Paul, it's really helpful to hear another angle.

    i suppose my question really is 'where will he learn the coping strategies and social etiquette?' I suspect it will be via me and some self help books which I can buy anyway (already have 2 on the bedside table...)

    are there special courses available to people with an NHS diagnosis of high functioning ASD that you can't access without the diagnosis, amd if so how likely is he to get a place? He is at a private school, amd I worry that he isn't enough of a problem to other people to get the funding.


  • As I don't have experience of bringing up an autistic child I can't really answer that question.

    There is help available, look around the nas web site for information. I'm sure a moderator can can give you the information you need.

  • I wish I was diagnosed as a kid too. Am now 48 and was only diagnosed when I was 45.  (and being female - no one even thought.....)

    It is the hard way which he will have to learn for himself whether or not you choose to seek assessments. The assessments may not result in what you want anyway. 

    However getting a diagnosis isn't about getting funding. Getting a diagnosis is about being able to getting individual support where he actually needs it. 

  • Thanks for the reply asparagus. I am not wanting a diagnosis - I am wondering about an assessment. Part of that is what difference a diagnosis would make, amd I'm not sure it will make any difference - sorry if I am being really thick but what kind of support would he get With social skills For example? Are there specialist workshops or clubs outside of school that teach these skills to high functioning kids that seem NT? 

    If you had known asd was a possible explanation as a kid and your mum helped you with it, wouldn't your childhood have been v different? What extra help would you have got from outside sources? His school is already supportive of all the children but I fear ASD could be an excuse to lower expectations which would be confusing for him and I don't think (as least whilst he is able to meet NT expectations) that woukd be in his interests. 

    Does that make sense? Maybe I'm not making any sense! 

  • Dear newfoodprocessor, your not being thick, your asking a very valid and important question about your son.

    You have every right to want to know the pro's and con's of an assessment. I have asked the same question about myself so don't worry.

    I was told I would be offered no therapies or aftercare following my assessment, but that i suppose is because I am an adult.

    My reason for wanting to be assessed is purely so i can understand myself better, and confirm what I believe i've always known, that i am just wired slightly differently to NTs.

    Hope this in some way helps, and good luck


  • It does help, thank you Blues.  I think I will call our local CAHMS amd see if they can give me some specifics.

  • Hi newfoodprocessor

    I can very much understand where you are coming from.  My son is 3 and a half years old and has just been assessed.  He was referred by his nursery school for a speech and language assessment, and they believe he may have high functioning autism.

    From our experience alone - and he only had his 'second opinion' last week, an assessment doesn't change anything, except give an option for formal diagnosis.  From the position of being a parent with concerns for how this would impact my child,  I read a quote on another post which summed it up perfectly - 'congratulations your son has autism, don't let the door bang on your way out'.  

    Whilst his speech and language will continue to be assessed, no additional support was given to us as a family. I only found this website through researching for myself and personally would have liked a bit more reassurance and information (which this forum has given me!).

    That said, I am very happy that he will continue to receive support with his communication - he has come on hugely since speech and language have been involved, so perhaps you may want to start by asking for a referral to be seen by a speech and language consultant.  They look at not only the development of speech, but at his whole communication and interaction with others.  He had a hearing test too, to rule out potential hearing loss.  They work alongside his nursery too.  I feel much happier knowing he is being monitored and that his nursery are aware of potential difficulties he may have.

    I hope this helps - sorry it's not much clearer, I'm still trying to work out the next steps for my son and for us as a family!

    All the best and good luck with what you decide!

  • Hi Newfoodprocessor,

    I noticed that Paul64 mentioned contacting one of the moderators for advice. Is there anything you would like to ask specifically, or have your questions been sufficiently answered by our community?