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. 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.


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

  • 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 →

  • Cavendish School online launch event

    The Cavendish School, the world’s first International Baccalaureate (IB) special autism school is officially set to open on the outskirts of Cambridge in Autumn 2021.

    Based in Impington, The Cavendish School will also be Cambridgeshire’s first state maintained special free school provision for young people with autism.

    Join the virtual launch taking place via Zoom on Wednesday 21 October at 6pm, to meet the school team, hear about the school’s journey to date, key updates on plans for the school, what lies ahead of the opening next year and, most importantly, get answers to any questions you may have.

    For more information, including how to book a place and ask questions visit: http://www.thecavendishschool.org.uk/

    Continue reading →

  • Visits to the Cavendish School

    The Cavendish School is Cambridgeshire’s new special free school for young people with autism, scheduled to open in September 2021.

    If you are interested in finding out more about The Cavendish School, and would like to attend a socially distanced group visit at one of the following times, please email
    jbickley@TMET.org.uk to book your place:

    • 10am on Monday 14 September
    • 5pm on Monday 21 or Wednesday 30 September
    Continue reading →