TWO mothers have joined together whilst being 150 miles apart to campaign for earlier autism assessments in children.

Sonya Mallin, from Worthing, and Jess Tomlinson, from Warwickshire have united on a mission to put pressure on the government to alleviate the long waiting lists for autism and ADHD assessments.

The pair met online after Sonya came across Jess' petition for the government to create an emergency fund for ASD (autism) and ADHD assessments, she reached out to her and they began promoting it together.

Sonya, a mother to ten year old twin girls, one of whom is going through an autism assessment, said: “I wish we were an isolated case, but I don’t know any family that has engaged with this process and had a positive experience.

"We have to fight for every scrap of support for our children both before and during diagnosis. At the very least, we should expect the assessment to take #MonthsNotYears.

"Remember that behind every one of these assessments is a child – like my daughter - struggling to find their place in the world. Diagnosis is a vital stage of that child’s journey to understand who they are and to access support. We are failing our children and we must do better."

Both women have united to bring pressure on the government to deal with the current crisis in services charged with assessing children with an autism diagnosis. To alleviate the massive waiting lists for autism and ADHD assessments for children and adults. This would provide resources for local health services to deal with current waiting lists and new patients.

The Argus: Campaign logo for Months Not Years.Campaign logo for Months Not Years.

Jess has three children, two of which are in the process of being diagnosed.

She said: “It’s sad but true that there are thousands of children and their families still stuck in limbo waiting for autism assessments. Every single step of the journey for us has been a fight.

"My two eldest sons are both waiting for assessment. My ten year old has been waiting for three and a half years. Something has gone very wrong here because it was roughly a two year wait when he was added to the list so it has doubled in the time he’s been waiting.

"For my seven year old we have fought for support since 2016. It took until March 2020 to finally get him onto the CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service) waiting list for an assessment."

The mums are also calling on any organisation that comes into contact with children and young people to consider online training so traits of autism can be recognised more quickly in girls to help earlier diagnosis for autism.

Tom Purser, head of guidance, volunteering and campaigns at the National Autistic Society, said: “A diagnosis can be life changing and is vital to getting help and support. But waiting times are still far too long in many parts of the country. Some autistic children and adults are waiting many months or even years for a diagnosis.

"NICE guidance is clear – no-one should wait longer than three months between being referred and first being seen. But it's a complete postcode lottery and it's highly probable that coronavirus will have made things worse.

“Bringing down waiting times is a priority in the NHS Long-Term Plan and the Government's new five-year autism strategy promises to address this with £13 million allocated. This is important but only the first year of the strategy has funding at the moment.

"The Government must honour its commitments to autistic people and families by fully funding the strategy in the upcoming Spending Review.

"For thousands of autistic children, adults and families, progress can't come quickly enough."

For more information visit and to sign Jess and Sonya's petition visit

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