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, toilet training and behavioural difficultiescommunication, sleep issues 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.


If you suspect your child may be autistic or 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 caring for or supporting an autistic child or adult.

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

Other local support

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

Little Miracles are a charity offering family support to families with children with disabilities, activities and youth groups in the Peterborough, East Cambs, Fenland and St Neots areas.

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 our Useful Links page 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. You can request an Education, Health & Care needs assessment for your child, or it can be requested by your child’s school or care setting, or other professionals.

There is an excellent guide to EHC Plans and how to request an assessment on the IPSEA website: Education, Health and Care Plans

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.


You and your child may be eligible for various benefits and there is more information about how to claim these on the Citizens Advice 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 someone with experience of the benefits system before filling in the claim forms for DLA and PIP.