Support whilst you wait

Drop-in support clinics

Whilst families are awaiting assessment for autism and for those diagnosed with ASC, we offer online monthly drop in clinics for support.

These are attended by staff from the NLDS, as well as professionals from outside organisations such as Kent County Council and IASK, who can answer any questions about education.

These sessions are for parents and carers of young people referred into the service and provide an opportunity to ask questions and hear about the experiences of others who may be in a similar situation. We encourage families to share their experiences of what has been helpful and what hasn’t, as you are experts by experience. There is no pressure to speak in these sessions, you do not need to turn your camera on if you do not want to, and you can also ask questions or share comments by typing into the chat function as you prefer.

If you would like to attend one of these sessions, then you can register your interest by emailing: We will send you some resources and details about how you can join.

If you have difficulties accessing digital offers of support please let us know, as we will think with you about how we can support you differently.

Kent Handbook

You may find it helpful to read a handbook for families with information on autism and ADHD, which was developed with help from parents/carers of children waiting for assessments for these conditions. Sections include where to go for help with health, education, rights and benefits, and a listing of local and national organisations. This handbook can be accessed here.

National and Local Support

The handbook above recommends lots of helpful resources. Other good places to start are:

  • The National Autistic Society website which contains a wealth of resources for parents and young people. This includes contact information for local support groups
  • The Kent Autistic Trust, which offers information, advice and support to families and carers. Via their website families can book a telephone appointment with Wendy Boorman, Family Support Information Advisor, book onto information sessions/workshops, ask to join the mailing list or parent support groups. Links below:
  • If advice is needed regarding educational support, then the Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK) service can be contacted: Email:; Telephone: 03000 41 30 00. They also offer a range of workshops for parents and carers. For children and young people living in Medway, then Medway SENDIASS Service (Family Action Medway) can be contacted on 01634 566303.

Talks by the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT)

Dr Rachel Hussey, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who works within the Trust, delivered an information session to families who had a child waiting for an autism assessment.

She talks about why children may see the world differently, or behave differently and gives guidance on how to support your child in the areas of sleep, emotional regulation and anxiety.

The parents that attended the sessions found the talks incredibly useful.

You can watch the talks on YouTube:

Mental Health Support

Should you have any increased concerns around your young person’s mental health; you can self-refer or ask a professional who knows you well to refer on your behalf through our Single Point of Access (SPA). The office is open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; however, if you call this number outside of these office hours your call will be redirected to out of hours support.

Single Point of Access (SPA): 0800 011 3474

If you are in a crisis or require out of hours support, please call 111 - Option 2

Digital resources

Calm Harm  - This is an award-winning app developed for teenage mental health.  It uses the basic principles of dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), which is an evidence-based therapy. The app provides tasks to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm.

Headspace - This is a site which uses meditation and mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety.

Kent Community Health NHS Trust - Find ways to support your child’s development and to help them be happy and healthy.

Kooth - Provides free, safe and anonymous online support for young people.  Resources include being able to chat to counsellors and read articles written by other young people.

Live Well - Offers advice around improving mental and physical wellbeing for young people and adults. Information can be found here about services available in Kent, as well as contact numbers if you are in emotional distress and require urgent support.

Mind- Valuable resource that provides advice, support and information on an extensive set of topics from sleep problems to suicidal thoughts. 

Minded  - Free educational resource on children, young people and adult mental health.

The Mix - Provides support and information for the under 25’s on a range of topics including, mental health, substances, your body, relationships and others.  Also has a free phone number: 0808 808 4994.

WYSA App - A virtual coach that can help manage emotions and thoughts. It uses evidence-based cognitive behavioural techniques (CBT) among others, to help build resilience and move forward.