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Information for parents of children with autism

Find out more about autism and where you can get support and advice.

What is autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that affects how people communicate and interact with others. It can affect people in different ways.

Most children or adults with autism have some sort of difficulty in communicating. They see, hear and experience the world differently from people without autism. For example, they might find change very difficult and become anxious, or they might have only a few activities that they repeat.

Children are all different and there can be many reasons why they might behave in a certain way – for example, a new brother or sister, a death in the family and moving house can leave a child behaving differently because they are upset or anxious.

Who you can talk to

As a parent or carer, you are in the best position to spot any difficulties. If you are worried about your child, it may help to talk to someone who works with children to help put your concerns into perspective. Once you have a better understanding of your child’s needs, you can discuss what the best next steps are, if needed, and what support you can get.  

People you could talk to include:

  • your health visitor or GP
  • early years SEN support team
  • specialist provision
  • staff at your child’s school.

How your child’s school can help

Many schools have experience teaching children with additional needs. Teachers and support staff can use various approaches and strategies to help develop the behaviour, language and communication skills of children with ASD.

They can:

  • offer good advice
  • give your child appropriate support in school
  • help you access specialist support in the borough

Autism support

Drumbeat Outreach runs free workshops on topics and strategies to support parents and carers of people with social communication difficulties, including children and young people with ASD. The sessions aim to provide a safe place to discuss your child’s strengths and needs with other parents and to share some practical tips.