A sample of 1047 parents completed an online survey about their experiences and opinions regarding the process of attaining a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder for their children. The results revealed that parents usually waited a year from when they first had concerns about their child's development before they sought professional help. On average, there was a delay of around 3.5 years from the point at which parents first approached a health professional with their concerns to the confirmation of an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Just over half of the parents surveyed were dissatisfied with the diagnostic process as a whole. Several factors predicted parents' overall levels of satisfaction with the diagnostic process, including the time taken to receive a diagnosis, satisfaction with the information provided at diagnosis, the manner of the diagnosing professional, the stress associated with the diagnostic process and satisfaction with post-diagnostic support. Post-diagnosis, the support (if any) that was provided to parents was deemed unsatisfactory, and this was highlighted as an area of particular concern among parents.
Keywords: autism; autism spectrum disorder; diagnosis; parent; satisfaction; support; survey.
© The Author(s) 2015.