Families

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What is autism? How can I help my child?

The National Autistic Society website has lots of useful information about autism including advice and strategies for eating, sleep and toilet training, behaviour, communication and education.

Autism Hampshire have produced an excellent FREE E-Learning Autism Training resource. This should take you less than an hour to complete and includes a printable certificate.

Diagnosis

If you suspect your child may have an autism spectrum condition (ASC) you can ask for a referral for an assessment through your child’s school, health visitor or GP. Sometimes schools are reluctant to make referrals, especially if your child’s behaviour is not causing any problems at school. In this case you could make a list of the concerns you have, and speak to your GP instead.

NAS Cambridge Branch activities

We run a monthly Carers Support Group, for anyone living with or supporting someone on the autism spectrum.

We also run one-off family events and training sessions – please check our website for updates or join our Facebook group for notifications.

The library at the Chitra Sethia Autism Centre has books, training materials and other resources available to borrow free of charge.

Other local support

Pinpoint is a local parent support charity, which runs groups and information sessions across Cambridgeshire for parents of children with ASC and other additional needs.

Special Needs Community Information Point (SCIP) is an information and advice service for families with 0-25 year olds with a disability or additional needs. This is a great source of information on groups, activities and events for children and families in all areas of Cambridgeshire.

Check out the Useful Links page on our NAS Cambridge website for a list of other organisations offering information, support and activities.

Cambridgeshire County Council services

Cambridgeshire’s Local Offer provides information about how children and young people aged 0-25 who have special educational needs and/or disabilities are supported in the county.

Disability Social Care – you can request an assessment for your child, and a Carers Assessment for yourself.

Blue Badge Scheme – your child may be eligible for a blue badge parking permit.

Peterborough City Council services

If your Local Authority is Peterborough City Council then you can find all their services listed under Peterborough’s Local Offer.

Education, Health & Care Plans (EHCP)

If your child has complex needs that cannot be met by their school’s existing special needs support, then the Local Authority may agree to issue an EHCP. An assessment for an EHCP is usually requested by your child’s school or care setting, but can be requested by other professionals or parents.

If you have any concerns or difficulties with this process, we recommend contacting Cambridgeshire’s SEND Information, Advice and Support Service, or the Peterborough SEND Partnership Service, who provide independent information & advice to parents and carers in their areas.

Benefits

You and your child may be eligible for various benefits and there is more information about these on the National Autistic Society website. Your child may be eligible for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or from age 16+ Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and other adult benefits. You may also be eligible for Carers Allowance.

DLA and PIP awards are also often used as criteria for other benefits and services. It is important to get advice from a charity or health professional with benefits expertise before filling in the claim forms for DLA and PIP.


Latest news for families

  • Caring Together free online course for parents & carers

    Caring Together, a charity supporting carers, are offering a free online course for parents and carers of children with autism – the Hope programme.

    The Hope Programme is a six-week online group peer-support course based on positive psychology, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy originally developed by Coventry University. It covers topics such as mindfulness, goal setting, anxiety, fatigue and stress management, healthy eating, physical activity and working with health care teams.

    For more information on the Hope programme and how to book see the Caring Together website

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  • British Indian parents needed for ASC research

    Fathima Kodakkadan at Anglia Ruskin University is carrying out a study comparing the factors influencing the stress and resilience among the British Indian parents of children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC).

    If you are interested in taking part there is more information and contact details here. There is a chance for you to WIN £50 for participating in this survey.

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  • Mental health support for children & young people

    Is lockdown having a negative effect on your child? Or are you a young person struggling with high levels of anxiety and mental distress during lockdown?

    Not sure how to access help? Two local sources of support are:

    CHUMS Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Service is for children & young people experiencing poor mental health. They are currently offering a phoneline service to replace their drop-ins.

    KeepYourHead is Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s Children & Young People’s mental health services site. It includes lots of information about mental health, things you can do to help yourself, and where to go to for more support.

    Continue reading →