I'm sure I will get around more to describing the diagnosis process soon, but today I feel compelled to write about the sheer number of different people involved in helping us find L's diagnosis and to support us now that we have.
To be honest, we saw so many different people, often in the middle of the day whilst I took a few short moments off from work, that I didn't remember who was who, or more importantly where they were from and what they were doing there.
Just as a list, to demonstrate what I mean, we had meetings with the following people:
- School (Teachers, Head Teacher, Special needs coordinator, not her real title!)
- GPs (our Gp, and a local child specialist GP)
- Children's Hospital (2 different consultant specialists, nurses - who constantly mis pronounced L's name - autism specialists, assessors)
- Parent Partnership, often at the school but sometimes at home
- Educational psychologist, also at school
- Educational support - usually from the council, to support L in the early days by giving him special time and attention
- The Autistic Spectrum Disorder panel - we never actually met them as a panel, but I'm sure some of them we have seen
- Family Services - probably the most helpful, Kath has been very kind in guiding us through the process and maze of people, again based at the Children's Hospital.
So, all in all, probably at least 14 people - I'm pretty sure all were women too, come on men, don't you care? - in a little over a year, all doing different things with different agendas. Some tried to help us, some tried to help L, some tried to diagnose him, others tried to manage him.
So a word to anyone starting this journey yourself, keep a little notebook just to keep track of who's who - having the right person to speak to when you have a quesiton, or don't have the letter you need, or need to rearrange an appointment, or just need to say hello to without forgetting their name - would be my tip of the day.