Margaret Greenwood MP calls for improvements in autism diagnosis

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13 Sep 2017
Margaret Greenwood MP intervened in a debate at Westminster this morning to call for more training for health professionals in dealing with people with autism so that people can be referred for a diagnosis and get the help they need as quickly as possible.

Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“It is vital that people with autism are diagnosed as speedily as possible so that they can get the right help.

“A woman in my constituency wrote to me of how she was diagnosed as autistic in her forties and that it was a life-changing moment, as if a weight had been lifted from her that she'd carried her whole life.

“Children with autism who are not diagnosed and fail to receive proper support may become frustrated, socially isolated and experience difficulties at school.

“It is important that health and education professionals are trained to identify children who may be autistic so they can then be referred for a diagnosis.

“I have also raised with the government the need for Jobcentre staff to be properly trained in recognising the needs of people with autism.

“It is also vital that that once the referral is made, people are not left waiting for long periods for the diagnosis to be carried out.

“The National Institute for Clinical Excellence advises that a diagnosis should be made within 3 months of a referral, but there is evidence that in some cases it can take over two years for a diagnosis to be made.

“Families may be struggling to cope and they should not be left in a state of uncertainty. A speedy diagnosis can enable people with autism to get the support they need."

Margaret Greenwood MP was speaking in a Westminster Hall debate on the waiting time standard for autism diagnosis led by Labour MP for Enfield, Southgate, Bambos Charalambous.