Support for your child while waiting for assessment
When you have received an invite to an appointment for your child, you may want to talk to them about what to expect as we know that often children with social communication difficulties find new experiences and new people challenging or overwhelming. We have created some resources to support you to do this. You will be given a link within your appointment letter.
While your child is waiting for the service to consider a diagnosis, support can still be obtained from charities, health services, family support groups and the Local Authority. Having no specific diagnosis should not stop you or your child from receiving support and advice needed.
Local support and organisations
Autism Anglia is an independent charity that provides care and support related to Autism Autism Anglia
Special Needs and Parents is based in Brentwood. ‘SNAP’ can offer advice and support to parents of autistic children and young people. Special Needs and Parents
Supporting Aspergers Families in Essex is a support group for individuals and families with Autism Spectrum Disorder: particularly those who might have been described as having ‘Aspergers syndrome’ in the past. Supporting Asperger Families in Essex (SAFE)
Families in Focus supports families of children with special educational needs. http://www.familiesinfocusessex.org.uk/
Purple provides a wide range of practical support services for people affected by autism, alongside information, advice and guidance services. Purple
PACT for Autism is based in Harlow. It raises awareness and makes information about autism available. It also runs support and information helplines
NELFT in Essex and Thurrock also has children’s therapy services which it may be appropriate for your child to be referred to. The services do not require an ASD diagnosis to access them. The link below has information on these services, their criteria for referral and information on how to access support from them. Your child’s school or setting will have close contact with these services and can support you to consider whether these may be useful. Essex integrated children's therapies - NELFT NHS Foundation Trust | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust
Emotional wellbeing and Mental Health
Children and Young people with Autism may experience changes in their emotions, mood and wellbeing. Should you be concerned about your child’s wellbeing or mental health please contact SET CAMHS. EWMHS for Southend, Essex (Colchester) and Thurrock | NELFT NHS Foundation Trust or discuss with your GP.
In an emergency situation please always contact 999 or visit your closest Emergency department.
Essex Family Forum
Essex family forum are an experienced community group who offer support and advice to families in Essex.
Resources for Families - Essex Family Forum
They have produced a pack of information entitled ‘ your neurodiverse child’. http://www.essexlocaloffer.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/ECC-Supporting-Your-Neurodiverse-Child-V5-Accessible-Low-Res.pdf
Special Educational needs and disabilities
Your child may have difficulties in some or all aspects of learning. This is often referred to as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). All childcare setting and schools are required to be inclusive of children with different abilities. Each school has a ‘SENCo’ who you can talk to about concerns you may be having about your child in school.
You can find out more about services for children and young people with SEND on the Essex Local Offer website and SEND Local Offer | Ask Thurrock website
Essex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service offer confidential and impartial advice to people who use SEND services.
Your child’s needs might mean that you need extra financial support. You can apply for benefits on GOV.UK. Find out more about benefits for autistic young people on the National Autistic Society website.
Support for carers
If you look after a child or young person with additional or different needs, you could be eligible for extra support. You can find out more about getting a carer's assessment, respite care and financial support for carers on the support for carers pages of the Essex County Council website.
National and international organisations
The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum. They provide support, guidance and advice and have local groups which you can join. www.autism.org.uk.
Tony Atwood is a specialist clinical psychologist well known in the world of ASD. He offers advice and training. http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/
Resources for Autism is a charity providing practical support suggestions for children and adults with ASD. www.resourcesforautism.org.uk
Ambitious for Autism is also a charitable organisation dedicated to supported families with Autism. www.ambitiousforautism.org.uk
Dimensions is a not-for-profit organisation also. It supports people with learning disabilities and people with autism to live the life they choose. Dimensions