'You just want what is best for them' - Norwich mother reveals her five-year fight for autism diagnosis for 11-year-old daughter
PUBLISHED: 08:46 28 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:46 28 August 2017
The mother of a "beautiful, bright, and witty" girl from Norwich is hoping her five-year fight to secure an autism diagnosis for her daughter may soon come to an end.
Nicky Rolph, 46, said she first started to notice things were a little bit different with her daughter Ashley when she was just six.
“She didn’t play like other girls her age,” said Miss Rolph, who lives in West Earlham with her daughters, 11-year-old Ashley and Lauren, 14.
“But it was very difficult because you say they’re only 6, and it’s hard to put a finger on it when children develop at different rates. But over time as she’s got bigger, her difficulties have got bigger too.”
Miss Rolph said Ashley has faced countless assessments, hospital visits and referrals. All while struggling with social difficulties - dyslexia, poor fine motor control and battling mental ill health, including attempting to take her own life.
Eventually, the family were told Ashley needed to be seen at a specialist unit, The Lorna Wing Autism Centre, in Bromley.
Ms Rolph said: “The educational psychologist she sees believes an assessment at this centre is vital as she’s incredibly complex. She has also had a six-week assessment by a lady who specialises in autism who has suggested the same.”
But if Ashley, who is about to start secondary school, was placed on a waiting list it could be another two years until she gets an assessment. Miss Rolph is concerned that without an official diagnosis Ashley will not get the support she needs.
“It’s about her education but also we need that support at home, to know what we are doing to look after her is right,” she said. She explained much of the standard assessments were based on research focussed on autism in boys, whereas in girls it presented much differently.
“Everyone who knows her says she’s amazing,” she said. “She loves animals, she loves music, and she loves anything which makes a mess. But she struggles and for a mum that’s so difficult to see.”
Miss Rolph, who works as a pastoral support worker and teaching assistant, is now looking to raise £3,000 so Ashley can be assessed straight way. She added: “You just want what is best for them.”