Step-Children - Worried and under-informed

Hello everyone,

To start I would like to say I am not trying to undermine anyone that I am discussing, however I do have to disclose some information - not personal - that does give a back story to the reason I am posting.

I am engaged to a soldier, he has an ex and three children. One of which his ex 'claims' has autism. And is working with the school on this, as my fiancé has contact with the school they have told him through email that they are doing nothing to support a diagnosis of that as they have never been informed that he is autistic. I mention that my fiance is a soldier because he is actually deployed and cannot contact the doctors to find out if his son has actually been diagnosed with autism as his ex only ever says autism but never specifies where he is on the spectrum and when he brings it up she blocks him and doesn't allow him to talk to them and hasn't for months now. We were going to wait until he is back to speak to the doctors however she is now saying that the youngest is now also autistic. Again blocked before he can ask any more questions. All three live in England with their mother and we are currently based in Scotland - while he is deployed. 

Please note I use the word 'claim' because nothing either of the boys have done when we have them would point to this after reading countless forms and NHS websites. I legally cannot do anything as I do not have parental responsibility being only engaged to their father. 

So what I want to ask, now that you know a little history;

  • What is the process of diagnosing a child(5) and possibly a toddler(2) with autism in England?
  • What evidence would his ex have been supplied to let her inform his school etc. that he is autistic? Assuming she can't just turn up one day and say ...'oh buy the way..'
  • Can someone, in plain English, explain if either of them can be diagnosed as just autistic or is that just an overall term for the many individual diagnoses? e.g Asperger's?(apologises if spelt wrong) 
  • Can my fiance, their biological father, with parental responsibility and named on all three of their birth certificates, get a copy of any documentation? If so, how?
  • And any other information you think might be helpful.

Please again note that I am not trying to bad mouth their mother, I have never questioned her parenting ability nor her love of her children and I'm still not. They are her children and I would never try to change that. However the picking and choosing of information she shares needs to stop because if they are somewhere on the spectrum we need to know so that when we have them we are not doing anything we shouldn't and causing unnecessary stress for the boys. Because of her picking and choosing I would love to know if there was a way that the doctors that have diagnosed the boys can share this information with their father so he isn't missing anything.

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  • Hi NAS37177,

    Endymion has given a lot of good advice to which I would just add:

    If you want to learn more about the process of diagnosing a child with autism, you might want to have a look at our 'Diagnosis for children' page here on the site -

    With regards to the school, the best person to talk to is probably the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), which I believe all schools are required to have, and who oversees special education needs in general. If they require evidence of an ASD diagnosis, a letter from your GP or from the doctor or doctors who did the autism assessment ought to be sufficient.

    Best wishes,

    Ross - mod

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