The Whole Autistic Family staged the event at Dewsbury Town Hall

Families of autistic children held a rally amid concerns over NHS diagnosis times.

Around 25 people from the Kirklees group The Whole Autism Family gathered outside Dewsbury Town Hall to demand that waiting lists be cut to a maximum of three months and to call for the creation of a permanent specialist diagnosing team.

They came together after the recent agreement to launch a 12-month plan in Kirklees as a short term solution to the problem, which they fear will not address the long term problem.

The rally was also part of national events organised by the National Autism Society, to urge the Government and local commissioning groups to take action.

Anne-Marie Kilgallon, founder of the group , has a child who has been waiting to be diagnosed for over two years.

She said: “Like many families here, we were referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) but since then nothing has been done.

“It makes us frustrated, angry and upset because our children can’t access support services they need.

“Parents can end up paying privately for a diagnosis, which costs £3,000 and support, which is just unsustainable”.

Anne-Marie and her husband Martin, of Mirfield , who runs support group The Whole Autism Family, have a son Fredi who needs a diagnosis.

Martin labelled the service “not fit for purpose” and said: “My son Fredi has been waiting for an autism diagnosis for two years now and despite false promises, nothing has changed”.

Fellow demonstrator Emma Noble, a single mum, said she had been waiting four years with her son JK, eight.

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