My son is 11 and has a lot of sensory processing issues, his most challenging ones being visual and sound. When we go to see doctors, paediatricians and occupational therapists no-one knows how to help us. They don’t seem to have seen this type of sensitivity before (especially the visual processing) and they don’t seem to have seen sensitivity outside of autism.
So . . . where do they refer us? Autism testing.
I told my son about the assessment and he was quite indignant that he didn’t want to be mis-diagnosed as having autism and so he he wrote a letter to the doctor.
I am Luca and I am 11. I have an appointment to come and see you and Mum and Dad say it is about behaviour and autism.
I don’t think it will help me to come to be assessed because I think lots of people are being mis-diagnosed with autism when really they are colour sensitive.
I am sensitive to colour and pattern. I see colour and pattern different to other people. And it makes my brain do funny things. I can’t think very straight when I am in a room of a particular colour. And when people show me things on paper or on the screen I might not be able to process them. Or when people ask me questions I might not feel well enough or have enough energy to answer them. I don’t even like looking at people’s faces much or do eye contact because of the colour and patterns on people’s faces.
When I am in a room of the right colour which is really a type of white, I can concentrate much better but I might still struggle if the light outside doesn’t feel right for me or if it is sunny or if there is a blue sky.
When I go for appointments to see doctors I feel like I can’t really be me. My Mum has to speak for me and I feel trapped by the colours in the room and on people’s clothes. I can’t really show people who I am.
I don’t really mind being assessed for behaviour things or autism but I am not happy to be assessed in a place that is not right for me and then get mis-diagnosed. I feel at my best in December when the light is dim, after dark and in my house which is all neutral colours and patterns.
My Mum helped me write this letter because of my processing problem.
I hope you understand and take me seriously,