Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) Autism & Asperger s Syndrome

A free impartial service for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs A booklet compiled by the Autism Support Services to suppor...
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A free impartial service for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs A booklet compiled by the Autism Support Services to support families of children with

Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome

Introduction A diagnosis of ASC (Autistic Spectrum Condition) usually means that your child or young person may need some additional support at home or school or both. Having an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) means that children and young people have difficulty with communicating and socialising. Parents/carers, brothers, sisters and the wider family might also benefit from support to understand what this means for them and the family. In this leaflet you will find some useful information about the kind of support which is available from health, children and young people’s services (education and social care) and the voluntary sector.

Practical support in managing your child/young person Early Bird Programme Has been developed by the National Autistic Society (NAS) to help parents of newly diagnosed pre-school children learn more about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The programme combines group sessions with individual home visits to give parents a better understanding of how they can best support their child at home. To obtain a place on a course, parents/carers should contact Barbara Mills, Early Bird Co-ordinator on Tel: 01458 241460. For general information about Early Bird, visit:

Early Bird Plus As above but for parents of children aged 5-9yrs and their teaching assistants. This is a ten week course. To obtain a place on a course, parents/carers should contact Barbara Mills, Early Bird Co-ordinator on Tel: 01458 241460. For general information about Early Bird Plus, visit:


Portage Is an educational home visiting service for pre-school children whose development is significantly delayed. After an initial visit by an educational psychologist, a specially trained home visitor will arrange to visit you and your child once a week to work on activities you can do at home to stimulate his/her development. For more information speak to the head of your child’s pre-school setting, or your GP/Health Visitor. You can also visit the National Portage Association at

Somerset Total Communication (STC) Somerset Total Communication is used throughout Somerset playgroups and schools. The programme supports spoken language. STC makes use of signing and natural gesture as well as general expression, body language, photos, drawings, symbols and the written word. Ask your playgroup or school staff for more information. STC Manager – Louise Lisle Tel: 01278 444949 or email: [email protected] visit:

Support available from the Health Service Paediatric Service A Paediatrician is usually involved in a diagnosis of autistic spectrum condition, although sometimes this is a Psychiatrist instead. A diagnosis follows a multi-agency assessment. Following diagnosis a Paediatrician will usually stay involved with preschool children. Follow up of older children can be by a community children’s nurse if required. Sometimes this is just to discuss the diagnosis further and what support is available. If there are no medical issues of significance follow up will be with the GP. Further referral to the Paediatric service can be requested if necessary. Dr Ruth MacGregor leads the autism service for Taunton and Somerset Foundation Trusts and is based at Musgrove Park Hospital. There are a number of Paediatricians who may be involved in diagnostic assessment. Jane Wynne and Fareda Fakhrai are the two community Children’s Nurses who do follow up clinics and liaise directly with Dr Ruth MacGregror. Children in East Mendip or in the Yeovil areas will have their Paediatric care from Royal United Hospital, Bath and Yeovil District Hospital respectively.


Speak to your GP if you think your child needs to be referred, or re-referred, to the Paediatric team. If your child is currently known to the team you can phone Dr MacGregor’s secretary Tel: 01823 342693 or Jane Wynne/Fareda Fakhrai Tel: 01823 342078.

Integrated Therapy Service for Individual Children and Young People (ITS) A local community service for children and young people aged 0-19 yrs with physical, occupational and speech and language difficulties in Somerset. Services are mainly provided within community settings, such as schools and children’s centres, in patients’ own homes or in one of the community hospitals. The team consists of Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Physiotherapists. Referrals will be made through a single point of access, whether a child is referred by a social carer, a teacher, a GP or a parent. Referrals which are identified as particularly urgent will be fast-tracked, while all other referrals will be offered an appointment within 4 weeks. Parents and carers will be offered a choice relating to the time, date and venue for appointments. All referrals are made using the Integrated Therapy Service Referral form, available on the ITS website at, which may be sent by email to [email protected] or by post to ITS Referrals, Integrated Therapy Service for CYP, Priory House, Priory Health Park, Glastonbury Road, Wells BA5 1XL. There is also a Telephone Advice Line staffed by therapists from the three disciplines available on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (excluding Bank Holidays) from 9am – 12noon. Tel: 0303 033 3002

Specialist Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Provides specialist help with social communication difficulties for children and young people with ASCs, Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome who are experiencing behavioural difficulties which are significantly affecting them, their education and/or their families. You should contact your GP or paediatrician if you think your child needs help from this team.


Support in Educational Settings Area SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators):Every preschool/ nursery has access to support and guidance from an area SENCO. These are trained and experienced teachers who can support practitioners in practical strategies and ways of adapting the learning environment to meet the needs of children with specific or special needs. They work very closely with Speech and Language therapists and Portage workers. For more information please contact: Julia Nile, Senior Early Years Adviser Email: [email protected] Tel: 01823 356604 Early Years Educational Psychologists: provide support for the transition from pre-school into school: Sedgemoor 01278 446445 Taunton and West Somerset 01823 334475 South Somerset 01935 476130 Mendip 01749 678500 In addition, Senior Portage Home visitors may support the transition from pre-school settings into school (see Portage).

Special Educational Needs Support Services Educational Psychologists and Specialist teachers can support schools to adjust provision to meet the needs of children with special needs. They are based in area bases. The SENCO from your child’s school will have regular contact with support services and can ask them for help if this is appropriate. Sedgemoor Area Chandos House 6 Castle Street BRIDGWATER TA6 3DB Tel: 01278 446445

Mendip Area Second Floor Priory Medical Centre Glastonbury Road WELLS BA5 1XJ Tel: 01749 678500

Taunton & West Somerset Area The Holway Centre Keats Road TAUNTON TA1 2JB Tel: 01823 334475

South Somerset Area Buckland House 8 Buckland Road Pen Mill Trading Estate YEOVIL BA21 5EA Tel: 01935 476130


Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO): Every pre-school/school has a SENCO who is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of your child’s needs are met. If you have any concerns or worries speak to your child’s teacher or SENCO. Autism Service The Autism Service provides regular training and support to schools, parents and other professionals by offering advice on practical strategies and ways of adapting teaching materials so that it is easier for your child to understand. Specialist ASD Teachers and Educational Psychologists are located in area bases (see above). For more information speak to the SENCO or your child’s/young person’s teacher. Contact Peter Harnett, Manager Somerset Autism Service Tel: 01823 334475

Somerset Parent Partnership Is a service offering impartial information and support to parents of children with Special Educational Needs. They provide ‘arms length’ impartial information in which parents can have confidence. A trained Independent Parental Supporter can offer guidance if you are worried that your child is not coping well at school. They will help if you feel reluctant to discuss this with school staff or would like support in talking to the school, including attending meetings. They will also help you if you feel that you have tried to raise your concerns with the school but felt that you were not listened to. For more information contact the service. Tel: 01823 355578 or email: [email protected] visit:

Support at home Social Services for Children with Disabilities Social Workers can support families who are under stress including dealing with a child or young person with an ASC. A social worker can advise you on different sources of help in the community – eg local support groups, suitable holiday play schemes, how to get help with applying for benefits. Occupational Therapists are also employed by Social Services and may help with risk assessments and adaptations in the home. For more information, phone Children’s Advice and Information Team Tel: 0845 3459122


Autism Outreach Team Provides support to families post diagnosis, often following on from Early Bird and Early Bird Plus courses. The team also work with families in their own homes and provide a variety of activities for the whole family. For further information, contact Barbara Mills Tel: 01458 241460

Useful contacts The National Autistic Society are the leading UK charity for people with autism (including Asperger syndrome) and their families. NAS Helpline Tel: 0808 800 4104 10am-4pm Mon-Fri (excluding bank holidays) NAS help! Programme providing support and advice for parents and carers of school age children. For more information and details of courses in your area Tel: 07425 624592 or email: [email protected] Autism Somerset Is committed to creating a comprehensive online directory and forum for families, Health, Education and Social Care professionals and providers, to support all those affected by the autisms and associated conditions. Our developing website is cross spectrum, cross generational, cross sector and cross agency. Membership of our community network is free and open to all. Members received regular e-bulletins highlighting national and local news and forthcoming events. Website: Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) Will advise you on what benefits you can claim and help with filling out the forms, including those for Disability Living Allowance, which are long and complicated. To find your nearest CAB look in the phone directory or contact the Children’s Advice and Information Team Tel: 0845 3459122.


Working together for equalities This leaflet is available in other formats and languages on request If you need any further help or information, please contact: Somerset Parent Partnership Service County Hall, Taunton, Somerset TA1 4DY Tel: 01823 355578 Email: [email protected] Website:

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October 2012 Information correct at time of print

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