We had to go private to get autism diagnosis says mum

UNHAPPY: Lisa Embrey-Donaghy and her son Aden who has autism.
UNHAPPY: Lisa Embrey-Donaghy and her son Aden who has autism.

A Sudbury mother has claimed that educational support for her son was not forthcoming until a six-year battle for diagnosis was ended by going private.

Last week the Free Press told how Bures resident Lorraine Woodhouse had been fighting for her son Luke to be given a diagnosis that he was on the autistic spectrum to get extra educational support.

Since then, Sudbury mum-of -three Lisa Embrey-Donaghy has told the Free Press about the long battle she has faced to get her two sons diagnosed and the continued battle to get the education she feels they require.

After issues were first spotted with Aden, who is now nine, when he was at nursery, Mrs Embrey-Donaghy decided to take her son to the local GP.

Aden was referred to the Child Development Centre in Bury St Edmunds where doctors said they felt he may have had attention deficit disorder (ADD), however, they could not come to a conclusion.

Unhappy with this, she took Aden to Colchester Hospital where he was diagnosed with ADD.

“The autism symptoms started when he was given medication for the ADD,” Mrs Embrey-Donaghy said.

Not given an assessment used to diagnose autism which she felt was necessary, Miss Embrey-Donaghy was forced to go private and pay for the test which led to diagnosis.

Her youngest son Seth faced similar issues.

The seven-year-old was not given a diagnosis by the Child Development Centre, Mrs Embrey-Donaghy saying “they basically thought he was lazy”.

Again seeking a second opinion Seth was referred to Colchester where he scored “off the charts” on the same assessment, leading, Mrs Embrey-Donaghy said, to an almost instant diagnosis.

Like with Luke Woodhouse, Mrs Embrey-Donaghy says the diagnosis is the ticket to the support that the children need in school, both boys going to Woodhall Primary School in Sudbury.

“They have definitely been more supportive since the diagnosis,” Mrs Woodhouse said.

Mr Nic Smith-Howell, Associate Director of Integrated Community Paediatric Services at Suffolk Community Healthcare said: “There are a number of assessments used to reach a diagnosis and in most cases assessment will involve a number of professionals.

“Cases where difficulties could fall in the category of autism or ADHD the process can be more complex.

“I would encourage the parent to contact me directly.”