Treading Water | 18 Months Awaiting Autism Diagnosis

When we first saw Sonny’s paediatrician, we were told the waiting list for Autism diagnosis was roughly one year.

…One whole year? In the grand scheme of things, that’s not too bad.

A year went by and we were told the waiting list is roughly 12 to 18 months long. We should have a formal diagnosis for Sonny by time he finishes Reception or the start of Year 1 at the very latest.

18 months in and we were still without a date for diagnosis. It’s quite hard to describe just how agonising that wait is.

…Picture The Scene…

You’re stuck in the middle of the ocean, no boat and no oars. There’s nothing around you to hold on to, there’s no one to guide you and there’s nothing in the distance signposting help nearby.

It becomes a relentless routine of trial and error. You swim in one direction hoping that this might be the route that takes you to land. You got it wrong. There’s nothing but ocean every which way you turn and when you’re not swimming, you’re treading water. All your energy spent trying to keep your head above the surface.

You’ve been swimming for so long and heaven knows you’re tired.



Your body aches to the bone and you feel hopeless and helpless and completely alone in your journey. Then something amazing happens, just what you’ve been waiting for. You find a little boat. You sit in your little boat and look back on how long you have struggled. Don’t dwell now! You’ve just been given a glimmer of hope and all you need now is your paddles.

Getting a date for Sonnys Autism assessment was a huge relief. It was like climbing aboard my own little boat. Exhausted but I finally felt like we were getting somewhere…

…Life has this habit of throwing me that curveball and I catch it every damn time.

Over 18 months waiting for Sonnys assessment and then THE morning of the appointment they call…

“Hello is that Sonnys mum? I’m very sorry, I’m afraid your appointment this afternoon at CDAC was booked in error. Unfortunately the person you need to see is on annual leave. I will call them tomorrow and make sure you’re booked in for the next available appointment.”

I could have cried. So much preparation went into today, reports to gather, arrangements to be made. So much was riding on an Autism diagnosis.

‘…I’ve been swimming for so long!’

With our plans changed, we had a peaceful day at home instead. Zachary counted the pennies in our tin and we had just enough for an icecream from Franco, (who just so happens to stop outside our front door, I’m never sure if this is a good or a bad thing!)

We sat on the front door step and waited for Franco’s ice-cream van to arrive. The sun was shining, it warmed my skin and my smile. For the first time since I got that phone call this morning, I felt like I could breathe.

I’m not giving up now, not ever.

I’m sitting firmly in my boat and I’m ready to chase up another appointment tomorrow.




Spectrum Sunday

About the Author

Posted by

Mum of three young boys. Sharing our family journey to an Autism and ADHD diagnosis.


Autism, Milestones


It’s so unfair, what they put already stressed and tired parents through. Hopefully you’ll be at the top of the list and get a cancelled appointment so you don’t have to wait as long now. It still shouldn’t happen though 😦

Liked by 1 person

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