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 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 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 a charity or health professional with benefits expertise before filling in the claim forms for DLA and PIP.

Latest news for families

  • NAS Cambridge Annual General Meeting

    We are holding our branch AGM at 7.30pm on Wednesday 7th April. It will be an online event and anyone from Cambridgeshire with an interest in autism is welcome to attend.

    Please book spaces through eventbrite

    Continue reading →

  • Online NAS Cambridge Carers Support Group Meeting

    7.30pm Tuesday 23rd February

    As our monthly carers support group has been suspended during lockdown, we are now offering the same support in an online Zoom meeting format. This will be a chance to meet other parents and carers facing similar challenges, swap ideas, and find out about support and activities in the local area. Anyone caring for a child or adult with ASD is very welcome to attend. Please book on Eventbrite.

    Continue reading →

  • Autism Centre of Excellence (ACE) Advisory Panel and Steering Group: Call For Members

    ACE was created by the charity the Autism Research Trust, and is home to Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre (ARC) and will also provide clinical, educational and life skills services across the lifespan, for autistic people and their families. The mission of ACE is to promote wellbeing for autistic people, and to promote autism research.

    You can read more about ACE here.

    They are now looking for members of the autism community to be involved in the shaping and direction of ACE. ACE is looking for people to join their Steering Group or to be a panel member.  

    Who can be involved?           

    • autistic adults
    • parents and/or carers of autistic people
    • people with an autistic family member
    • clinicians, educators, social care workers, and other relevant professionals
    • employers
    • researchers

    For more information and how to apply see the online form

    Continue reading →