Families in Dorset are finding difficulties gaining support in mainstream schools for their autistic child. Assessment times can be up to 18 months and, from the time of assessment, it can be over two years before a clinical psychologist is seen. Dorset has cut funding for SEN and a child who has has 25 hours support previously is now getting two 20 minute sensory breaks a day. I wonder if this problem varies in different areas of the country?
Just about every aspect of autism assessment and support seems to be a post-code lottery, from what I've seen over the last few years, on various forums with members all around the UK. I think there are definitely "black-spots", though; Bradford/Airedale, where I am, and neighbouring Calderdale have also been singled out in a couple of reports recently as failing autistic people particularly badly. I know a couple here who were told that their son couldn't have an assessment because the team simply could not take any more referrals. This same team diagnosed me, and last I know of, had two part-time staff doing assessments for the whole district, with a two year backlog, and cannot offer any post-diagnosis support at all. Local authority funding was slashed very severely at the start of this tax year, too, leading to the loss of several non-profit support providers, and similar reductions in SEN provision to what you are seeing in Dorset.
Unfortunately treatment and diagnosis of just about anything are dependent on where you live this can especially be true when you live in rural areas between hospital trusts I find half the service gets sent to one awful hospital while some gets sent to a great one the same distance the other direction! It just seems to depend on who refers you