We understand that finding the right advice and support when your child is autistic can seem difficult, but we’re here to help in every way we can.
What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum and there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK.
What is autism spectrum condition?
Autism is a spectrum condition and affects people in different ways. Like all people, autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses. Below is a list of difficulties autistic people may share, including the two key difficulties required for a diagnosis.
Social communication and social interaction challenges
Repetitive and restrictive behaviour
Over or under sensitivity to light, sound, touch or taste
Highly focused interests or hobbies
Meltdowns and shutdowns
Children, young people and adults with ASC can also be affected with other health conditions such as anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or depression, but with the right kind of help and support they can become independent.
How to get a diagnosis or Education, Health and Care plan
Make an appointment with your GP, and take along a list of behaviours and characteristics that make you think your child might be autistic. Your GP will be able to refer you for a formal assessment (diagnosis).
The multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessment will be carried out by a team of professionals, who will help you better understand your child’s needs. If you are referred to an individual professional, it’s important that they’re experienced in diagnosing autism.
Private diagnosis is an option, and can often reduce the waiting time. The costs vary, so it’s a good idea to phone several services to ask about costs and exactly what’s included. Be aware that some local authorities might not accept the results of private diagnoses, so it’s a good idea to stay on the waiting list for an NHS assessment as well.
Finding the right school
The right education can make a big difference for children and young people with autism. It’s important both for their development and your peace of mind.
The local authority team that helped you through the diagnosis can give you great advice on what kind of school might be best for your child. But it’s equally important for you to get out and visit the schools if you can – that way, you’ll get a real feel for them.
All our Options Autism schools would be happy to organise a visit for you to have a look around and experience what they can offer. Take a look at our schools pages for contact details.
How are school placements funded?
Your local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group should work with you to identify the services your child needs. However, be aware that you might be required to contribute to other services that are above the statutory requirements set out in their assessment.