Please cut and paste this letter to Panorama (firstname.lastname@example.org):
To whom it may concern,
I keep seeing reports in the press (either on television or in newspapers) about Autism. Most of them are either tiny little windows into a handful of families' experiences, or are unsubstantiated articles on possible factors that may cause Autism.
I would really like to see a report on why it takes so long for children affected by ASD to get the help that they need?
It is a well known fact that Early Intervention is crucial to an Autistic child's development. Early Intervention is defined as being before the child turns three. The way the system is set up here is that doctors are reluctant to begin diagnosing a child under the age of two or three.
Even if I was convinced that at one year old, my child was showing signs of autism, and I referred that child to a doctor to be evaluated, it would still take 18 months for the diagnosis to come through. That takes us up to 2.5 years old. After that, it would take a further 6.5 months for the Statement of Special Educational needs to come through (assuming the parents and LEA agree on the first draft of the Statement, which is rarely the case).
The best case scenario (an impossible one for reasons I have already stated), is that the earliest a child can get the help they need is at 3.5 years old.
Early Intervention is always missed in the UK, unless the parents go private.
It would be really wonderful to see this issue addressed.