Don't cut vital autism diagnosis services for children

  • by: Frances D
  • recipient: South West London Collaborative Commissioning Group

You're at school. You don't know what to say when other kids speak to you, and so they laugh. Sounds are painfully loud, light is too bright, and your chair is too hard. You're overwhelmed with anger and fear. Your teacher asks you to do your work. You don't know why, but you can't. You feel so stupid. 

Autism is an entire state of being, and is not a minor condition even if a child is relatively 'functional'. It means struggling with social norms, sensory input and mood regulation. Anyone with autism can benefit immeasurably from understanding how their mind works. Yet NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in south-west London are considering proposals to cut autism diagnosis services for children.

The National Autistic Society have spoken out against the cuts: "This will leave many local children without access to a diagnosis and unable to access the specialist support they desperately need. We believe this goes against CCGs' legal duty.'' Every autistic child deserves the opportunity to flourish according to their own strengths, not be left to struggle with their differences.

Your teacher gently reminds you to put your earplugs in if things are too noisy. She gives you an encouraging thumbs up and you respond. You sit on your cushioned seat, and begin to write about your special interest. You feel happy, and proud of your project. It's been so much easier since you got your diagnosis.

The Clinical Commisioning group haven't reached their decision - there's still time. Please sign this petition and help us fight to keep child autism diagnosis services open.
Update #1about a year ago
Great news! Thanks to pressure from the public and various autism organisations, the autism diagnostic services for children in South West London are safe. The clinical commisioning groups responsible for the services have not only halted their plans to cut them, they have also promised to consult autistic people and their advocates about future changes to the services - and say that children from across the spectrum will continue to receive the services they need. Thanks for your support!
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