Problem with my new TL350
I don't think (the focus assist light) comes on if the flash is disabled but correct me if I'm wrong on that
I think you're wrong on that.
I would definitely try the new firmware, I know it affects AF function during video.
And, for taking pics with point and shoots, I've become trained to pre-focus. Half-press the shutter before you think a picture moment is about to happen, and then you'll be ready when it happens.