CHILDREN are waiting up to six months for autism assessments and eight months for an ADHD diagnosis following an unprecedented rise in referrals.
Between January and August this year, 568 children were referred for neurodevelopmental assessments – 184 for autism and 385 for ADHD.
This compares to 80 for autism and 51 for ADHD three years ago, and 140 and 192 respectively for 2021.
Rachel Tippett, founder of ADHD Jersey, said: “I’m hearing from parents who are waiting extreme amounts of time.”
She said she was contacted “every single day” by people concerned about younger and older children and adults, adding that an undiagnosed neurodivergent condition could have a huge impact.
“We have 50-year-olds in tears because they never felt like they were understood or that they belonged,” she said.
Speaking recently to the Jersey Youth Parliament, Assistant Children’s and Education Minister Louise Doublet said the increase in waiting times had been caused by “massive numbers of children who need referrals”.
She added: “We have launched a new neurodevelopmental service this year, so it’s more co-ordinated.
‘Currently the waiting time for… autism is six months and for ADHD, it is eight months.
‘I do share the concerns about the length of time that children are waiting to have these assessments.’
One member of JYP said she was facing at least a nine-month wait for an autism assessment.
She said: “It can take ages for assessments for disabilities such as autism or ADHD.
“In my personal experience, I was told around April this year that I would have to wait until next January at a minimum for my autism assessment.
“One of my friends also had to wait two years for theirs.”
She added: “These wait times are getting atrocious. There are so many young Islanders like myself who are still on this ever-growing wait list for autism and ADHD assessments.
“The support provided by these appointments can sometimes be vital and it is not getting to those who need it fast enough.”