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Autism and ADHD are neurodevelopmental conditions. Identification and diagnosis at an early stage helps children to get the right support in school and also helps parents and carers to receive emotional and financial support.

Receiving a late diagnosis of autism and ADHD is associated with difficulties across education, employment, family life and mental health.

NICE guidelines advise assessment for autism should begin within 3 months of referral. A maximum time frame is not advised for ADHD assessments.

Experimental data is collected on waiting times for autism assessments. In July 2022 (the latest data available) there were just over 125,000 people waiting for a clinical autism assessment. 85% had been waiting for over 13 weeks.

Waiting times for ADHD are not routinely published.

In July 2021, The Department of Health and Social Care and the Department of Education published the National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026. The Government committed to invest £74.88 million towards the objectives in the first year of the strategy.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to reducing waiting times for assessments in specialist children’s services and investing £2.3 billion per year by 2023/24 in mental health services.

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