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Gloucestershire Autism Services

Autism is a spectrum condition which means that although all people with autism have certain difficulties in common, the symptoms and characteristics can occur in a wide variety of combinations and range from mild to severe.  It affects how a person relates to and communicates with other people, as well as how they make sense of the world around them.

We are a group of parents who each have autistic children. We belong to an organisation called the Autism Network Group that works to improve services for autistic people and their families in Gloucestershire.  Parents have often said how hard it has been to find the services they have needed to help their children when they were younger and now that they are older.

We have put together this list to help autistic people and their families, living in Gloucestershire, find out about local autism services. We hope this makes it easier to find the services you need.

There are many other specialist, targeted and universal services that may be able to support you and meet your child's needs.  If you can't find what you are looking for here, please contact Family Information Service familyinfo@gloucestershire.gov.uk. 

Adult Services (18+)

Your Circle Your Life, Your Needs, Your Circle

The glosfamiliesdirectory is for families with 0-25 year olds who have SEND, Your Circle is the partner website for adults.  Your Circle is a directory to help you find your way around health and care and connect with people, places and activities in Gloucestershire. 

Community Autism Support & Advice Service (CASA)

The Independence Trust delivers the Community Autism Support and Advice Service for adults in Gloucestershire including:

  • Information, advice and guidance
  • A wide range of interventions and support
  • We can assist you to live a life where you have a choice and are included in your local community
  • Support you to reach your potential
  • Signpost to other appropriate services
  • Support you to identify areas of interest and help you to get involved
  • You can access 1:1 work with a member of the team
  • You can access Peer support where you meet with others with similar interests
  • Access to web based information
  • Access to 'My Autism Information Booklet' (Information Passport)

For further information please go to the website Community Autism Support & Advice (CASA) | Independence Trust or telephone 01452 317460 and ask for a member of the CASA Team.

Carers Hub

If you are supporting someone who is over 18 then you are a Carer and you can register with the Carers Hub.  This could help you to meet other Carers and to interact with others in a safe space.

The Carers Hub is an easily accessed service where you can gain support, feel valued and offload your worries or concerns.​ Home - Gloucestershire Carers Hub

 

Autism Awareness, Advocacy and Training

Benefits

National Autistic Society Welfare Rights Service

Turn 2 Us - benefit and grant finder

Disability Law Service - free legal information, advice and assistance to those with disabilities and their carers on Community Care Law, Employment Law, discrimination and welfare benefits

Achieving 2 Year Old funding (A2YO) 

Children and Young People Autism Assessment

Children can be diagnosed as autistic when they’re quite young, in some cases from the age of two. But not everyone is diagnosed early in life. It’s quite common for a child to not get their diagnosis until they are older, or even an adult, particularly if they don’t have accompanying learning disabilities.

Some of the main signs that a child may be on the autism spectrum include:

  • not drawing their parents’ or others’ attention to objects or events, for example pointing at a toy or a book, or at something that is happening nearby (or a child may eventually do this, but later than expected)
  • carrying out activities in a repetitive way, for example always playing the same game in the same way, or repeatedly lining toys up in a particular order
  • resistance to change or doing things differently
  • emerging difficulties with social interaction and social communication
  • a child becoming distressed or overwhelmed especially in busy situations. This may result in them hurting themselves or others.

A more detailed and fuller list the signs and symptoms of autism can be found on the NHS website.

 Waiting for assessment and potential diagnosis can be a difficult time for young people and parents alike. The National Autistic Society have put together a guide for parents and carers to help you through the pre-assessment and diagnosis stage.

 If you think your child may have Autism it is best to discuss your concerns with your Health Visitor (for pre-school children) or SENCO in the first instance.  The Autism diagnosis process is complex and needs to be completed by a team of professionals with different expertise.  There are currently long waits for autism assessments due to a significant increase in demand but support can be put in place via the Graduated Pathway before having a diagnosis.  Education settings have a “needs led” approach and so a diagnosis should not change the support your child requires.  You should speak to your child’s Education setting in the first instance if you have concerns. Please see the Getting Support in School information.

 A new service for Autism Assessments for children under 11 years old will be in place from Autumn 2022.  Details of how to access this will be made available when it opens for referrals. 

Children and young people over 11 years old requiring an autism assessment should be referred to CAMHS within Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust by your GP with supporting information from the family and Education Setting.

(Professionals are aware the behaviour in school and at home can be very different) 

Children and Young People’s Support

There are many services that may be able to support you and meet your child's needs.  You do not need to wait for a formal diagnosis to ask for support.

The Family Information Service

The Family Information Service (FIS) provides a wide range of advice on things like family support, education, childcare and activities. They have a directory website for local services www.glosfamiliesdirectory.org.uk on which you will find both local and national support agency information. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the GlosFamilies Directory website, you can call the Family Information Service on 0800 542 02 02 or 01452 427 362 or email familyinfo@gloucestershire.gov.uk and the friendly team can offer information and guidance and can signpost you to people who can help.

They can also provide information on:

• Family support and general family advice – where to find support with behaviour, routines, counselling, mentoring, relationships, addictions and anything else a family might need support with.

• Childcare – advice on the types of childcare funding available, how to find childcare near you, and apply for childcare funding.

• The Key Disability Register-provides families and children with additional needs with a newsletter three times a year, advising of any support and financial help families might be entitled to and also entitles the child with a disability to a free swimming pass to attend their local leisure centre.

• Activities – things to do with babies and toddlers, clubs and groups for children and young people, fun days, school holiday activities and events.

• Parenting Courses – please visit Course Bookings | Glosfamilies Directory to search for available dates and locations and call the Family Information Service to book or find out more information on the Triple P parenting programme Triple P Parenting Courses | Glosfamilies Directory

 

Gloucestershire Parent Carer Forum.

The Gloucestershire Parent Carer Forum is a Parent Carer led organisation which brings together families of disabled children.  The Forum offers opportunities for families to meet (online and in person) for social and peer to peer support whilst gathering their feedback on services.  The Forum can also signpost you to local support groups and activities for your child. Membership is free for any family in Gloucestershire with a disabled child including those with a diagnosis of autism or whose child is experiencing issues which may be due to a neurodevelopmental condition. www.glosparentcarerforum.org.uk 

SENDIASS

SENDIASS Gloucestershire provides free, confidential, impartial advice and support on matters relating to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The service is offered to parents and carers of children and young people aged between 0 and 25 years old.

The SENDIASS advisors can:

• Provide information and advice on matters such as support, starting or changing schools, attendance, bullying, home to school transport, exclusions

• Help to explain reports written by professionals

• Explain the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment process

SENDIASS are open Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm. SENDIASS has a freephone telephone helpline 0800 158 3603 which is available Monday to Friday 9.00 am – 5.00 pm all year round. Callers who are using a mobile phone can dial 01452 427566 or 01452 427567 as an alternative. www.sendiassglos.org.uk

 

Gloucestershire Early Help Early Help and Targeted Support - Gloucestershire County Council

Early Help is about getting timely and effective support to children, young people and their families who need it, and also focuses on how families can be supported to do things for themselves and build on their strengths. The service offers a range of advice, guidance and support directly to the families or other practitioners who are supporting them, alongside a range of targeted services where more help is needed.

 

Online Forums- Some parents find support from community forums helpful. There are many available on social media platforms including Gloucestershire Autism Support (informal peer led support group) https://www.facebook.com/groups/106922282841502

 

You’re Welcome

You’re Welcome is an inclusive online directory and forum. It's the place to find social events, clubs, groups or places to visit.  You can also get ideas on how to find support to access the things you want to do.

Linked Services

Carers Gloucestershire - advice and support for individuals and groups

PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) - information, advice and support for patients families and carers

CADCAF (Cheltenham and District Carers and Families) - practical help, mutual support, therapy and social events

GASP (Gloucestershire Autism Supporting Parents)

Face 2 Face - free emotional support from trained parent carers

Allsorts - support for parent carers, grandparents and siblings

Forest Pulse - parent carer support, childcare and social activities

National Autistic Society Parent to Parent Service

Counselling for Parents, Carers and Families 

College

Housing

Jobs and Training

Physical Health

Apart from the diagnostic service Autistic children are supported by the mainstream health services Health services - Gloucestershire County Council.

Children with Learning Disabilities and Autism may be able to access the Learning Disability Team within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), this is for children with moderate to severe learning disabilities who attend special schools and are expressing their emotions through behaviour.   They provide assessment, intervention and support with:

  • behavioural difficulties
  • sleep problems
  • mental health
  • risk management
  • puberty and sexuality issues
  • epilepsy awareness and monitoring
  • medication
  • health promotion

They also offer specialist parenting programmes.  Referral in to the Learning Disability Team is via a Health Professional. 

For people with learning disabilities in crisis there is the Learning Disabilities Intensive Support Service.  Referral in to this service is via other teams, for children this will usually be the Learning Disability Team in CAMHS.

Linked Services 

Children’s Community Nursing

Children's Occupational Therapy

Children's Physiotherapy

Children's Speech and Language Therapy

Health Visiting

Immunisation

School Nursing

Transition to adult care: Ready Steady Go

Preparing for Adulthood

Click here for videos, information and support available for young people with transition to adult services

Psychological Health

Schools and Educational

Schools provide support on a daily basis for Autistic children and young people using the graduated pathway.  There are also specialist service in education to support autistic children.

 Early Years Team

If your child is not yet at school you can access a range of support from the Early Years Team

The Advisory Teaching Service (Communication and Interaction Team)

The Advisory Teaching Service works with schools to provide specialist support to enable children with additional needs to reach their full potential.

The ATS work in partnership with Teachers, Parents, Healthcare Professionals and other Educational Colleagues to ensure the best care and support is provided to every child with additional needs.

More information and a referral form can be found here.

Note: The Advisory Teaching Service does not accept referrals from parents and carers. They work with educational settings to build capacity to meet needs. Referrals usually need to come from the educational settings due to requiring permissions to visits the pupil on the premises.

Educational Psychologists

Schools and other educational settings are able to request support from the Gloucestershire County Council’s Educational Psychology Service, if they feel your child needs an assessment. Your school should always talk through with you what they would like to assess your child for and why this is. Additionally, if you feel that your child could benefit from EPS involvement you should discuss this with your School’s SENCo or Headteacher in the first instance. If you and/or your school feels your child has additional needs, you can explore this variety of resources and information available.  This is a traded service so will need to be funded by the school.

Education Inclusion Service

The Education Inclusion Service provides advice on exclusion procedures, preventative measures and other relevant issues.

Exclusions: Telephone: 01452 427360

Email: schoolexclusions@gloucestershire.gov.uk.

Attendance: Telephone: 01452 427274

Email: Attendance@gloucestershire.gov.uk

Find out more

Home Education

If you are considering educating your child at home and would like to discuss this with one of Gloucestershire County Council’s Parent Advisors, please ring 01452 426015

For more information, please contact the Education Inclusion Service:

Telephone: 01452 427622

Email: ehe@gloucestershire.gov.uk

 

National Organisations and Resources

www.autism.org.uk The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families.

Ambitious about Autism | National charity for autistic children and young people Understanding autism, pre- and post-diagnosis.

Parent toolkit | Ambitious about Autism

 

Linked Services

Special Schools

Alternative Provision

SENDIASS

Requesting an EHC Needs Assessment

SEND Tribunal Single Point of Redress

Higher Education information for students with disabilities (SEND)

Education Otherwise - resources and information for those home educating or considering doing so, including guidnace on the law and SEND

Social and Communication Difficulties

Social Opportunities

Support in the Community

OPENhouse (Stroud)

A+bility

Plug & Play - adaptive music technology

ABLEize

SHARP Life and Learning Skills

CADCAF (Cheltenham and District Carers and Families) - practical help, mutual support, therapy and social events

GASP (Gloucestershire Autism Supporting Parents)

Face 2 Face - free emotional support from trained parent carers

Allsorts - support for parent carers, grandparents and siblings

Forest Pulse

Hartwood House - short breaks provision following socail work assessment

Transport

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