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Donna talks about her experiences of getting a diagnosis
for her two children with autism.
There are a number of reasons why getting a diagnosis can be
Because of improvements in science and medicine, there may be a
belief that doctors can always find out why something has happened
to your child. Sometimes this isn't the case and this can be
If your child is under five years of age, a health visitor may
be a vital source of support. Many parents discuss their concerns
about their child's development with their health visitor
Often, the first point of contact for parents with concerns
about their child will be their general practitioner (GP).
Your GP may refer your child to a paediatrician - who
specialises in conditions affecting children.
They, in turn, may contact a specialist (also called
consultant), who may look at a particular area of the body or a
particular group of conditions.
professionals may be involved in helping to assess your child
and how well can they cope with certain activities. For
Our guide Concerned about
your child [PDF] lists the professionals who may be able
to help you if your child has problems with:
You may suspect a particular type of condition, so you could ask
for a referral to a specialist service (for example for metabolic
disorders). If you want to do this, it is helpful to take a list of
all the ways your child is affected along to the appointment to
explain why the referral is needed.
If you think your child may benefit from a particular assessment
or testing, then discuss this with your medical professional. If
you find reliable evidence to support this bring a copy a long to
your appointment to show the doctor.
If it is suspected that the cause of your child's difficulties
is genetic, then your GP or paediatrician may refer to a genetics
service, which is based at a regional genetics centre.
Visit our page about health services to find out what you
and your child are entitled to. The page has information about NHS services in
the UK that you might find useful, including child development
teams and community dentists.
We talked to Adam Shaw, Consultant in Clinical Genetics at Guy's
Hospital and he answered common questions that parents have when
visiting a genetic service.
We've split this into three short podcasts:
If you feel strongly that all ways of getting a diagnosis have
not been explored, you may be able to get a second opinion.
You can go back to your GP and ask them to refer you to a
different specialist. Try to avoid being confrontational, but be
firm. Take along the list of things your child finds difficult and
also explain the reason you are asking for the referral, giving
examples if possible.
If you would like a second opinion after receiving advice from
your GP, you can ask them to refer you to another GP at the same,
or a different practice.
when your child does not have a diagnosis.