Children with autism face waits of between six and 28 months for an assessment in Hertfordshire

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Children in Herts may have to wait between six and 28 months to receive an autism assessment – depending on where they live in the county.

That was the assessment delivered to members of the county’s Health and Wellbeing Board by the Hertfordshire All Age Autism Partnership Board on Wednesday (October 17).

Board member Melanie Peeke – who works for the support charity ADD-Vance and whose own 15-year-old daughter has autism – says the system is too slow and can be discriminatory.

While her own experience was “positive” she says in other cases autism can be missed because behaviour can be wrongly put down to bad parenting or poor experiences.

She said: “When we went through the diagnosis process 13 years ago we waited 26 months – and it hasn’t improved much. There is some progress in this area but it has been painfully slow.”

Melanie said that she had been able to act as an advocate for her daughter and received the support she needed.

But she says other families have not had such a good experience.

She highlighted one child who was being diagnosed at 15, who had been excluded from school because she couldn’t cope with the sensory demands.

Kathryn Magson, chief executive of Herts Valleys CCG, said that there was a huge workforce shortage in this area.

And she said the reason behind many of the delays in the diagnosis of conditions such as autism and ADHD was the workforce.

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