We are parents of a child with autism, and here is our story. Our 10 year old daughter, Shannon, was diagnosed with Autism after a very lengthy CAMHS assessment period of around 3 and a half years. We were first told by a concerned head teacher when Shannon was in year 1, that they had been observing Shannon's behaviour and thought she was having issues socially, and they were thinking she may have autistic traits. We had seen aggressive behaviours at home before we had spoken to the head teacher, and we had already been to a doctor to voice our concerns regarding ADHD, as Shannon's father was diagnosed with ADHD when young. The doctor referred Shannon for a hearing test, and said he'd rather rule this out as these behaviours can usually be caused by hearing problems. Shannon had poor social skills and is very hands-on and loud toward her peers. Shannon had become obsessed with a girl at her school, as she seemed popular, and she lived next to us. They made friends, but were continuously falling out. We had to move schools as her "friend" has threatened to sneak a knife into school and kill her. This was very scary for Shannon, and she didn't want to continue going to this school. The Police and school didn't take our reports seriously, and the school blamed Shannon's provoking behaviours. The new school were a lot more understanding, and Shannon had a much stricter and experienced teacher, which was very good for Shannon. Though, the school system here meant that Shannon was going to have to go to a Junior school soon. We received an appointment letter for Shannon to receive Grommets after three failed hearing tests, as well as have her tonsils removed as they were causing breathing problems. After a considerable amount of time, we hadn't seen any behaviour improvements, nor had the school, although - a lot of Shannon's behaviours were saved up for home life, so we didn't have much support from the school at the beginning. We spoke to the Doctor again, and this time we were referred to CAMHS for an ADHD assessment. At CAMHS, we had our initial appointment. The Dcctor we saw observed Shannon's behaviour while we shared past incidients, and he told us that he would be looking more at an ASD diagnosis (this was whilst Shannon had a toy crab balancing on the Doctor's head!). It took over a year for us to receive our next appointment with CAMHS. The Doctor gave us his contact details and told us that we could keep in touch and call when we needed additional support. We took the Doctor up on his offer once when we had been locked out of the house by Shannon, as she wielded a screwdriver that she had used to take the handles off, and was trying to smash it through the window. Eventually, we had our first appointment. This was mostly about Shannon's birth, our pregnancy, medical backgrounds, etc. We were given a huge questionnaire to fill out. We waited for our next appointment, which would be an assessment at the centre, where Shannon would be taken into a room to play, draw, and interact with a child psychologist. We received this appointment around 6 months after the first appointment. After the child psychologist assessment, we were taken into a room and told that they do think that Shannon could be on the spectrum, and that they are going to need to send someone to Shannon's school to assess her in the school environment. Whilst we were awaiting information about Shannon's school assessment, the school called in the Educational Psychologist to help them, as they told us they were not equipped and feel like they could not meet Shannon's needs. The Educational Psychologist gave the school some strategies to help with Shannon, and told them to provide her with a calm place, and use a privacy bay. Unfortunately, when the school assessment was due, they told Shannon and the assessor introduced himself, and the results were that they could not see any evidence of ASD. This held up the process as we were told that we needed to come in again, after they had had their multi-agency meeting, as they didn't have enough information and evidence to make a decision. We were given another assessment date, where we would take Shannon to meet with another child psychologist. Shannon was given the choice to have us leave or stay in the room, and she wanted us to stay. When we were in the room where Shannon was being assessed, the child psychologist decided they were going to play a game of hangman. She choose a four letter word. Shannon choose some random letters, until she managed to correctly guess the letter 'e'. There were two letter e's in the word, at the end. As Shannon was finding this hard, she was given the clue "you can see them out of the window". The game lasted another half an hour, until Shannon was out of guesses, and the man was hanged. The word was tree. The child psychologist discussed Shannon's interests with her - Shannon was quick to tell her about Minecraft. Shannon couldn't think of anymore, after a few awkward silences. Shannon was asked what her favourite colour was, and she didn't know. Shannon was asked if she had any friends, and she said no. Shannon was asked if she liked school, and she said mmm.... After she had finished with her assessment, Shannon was taken out of the room to draw, and we were told by the child psychologist that her findings conclude that Shannon does have Autism, and to expect a report in the post with the official diagnosis. Since, Shannon isn't at that school anymore as they told us that they were "failing her" and were at the end of their tether. We choose to home educator Shannon after an incident that involved the head teacher locking Shannon in a cupboard for three hours, after refusing to wear a yellow team PE t-shirt, and not her blue team PE t-shirt. (Shannon had a meltdown as she was in the blue team) This has been our journey so far.