- What is Autism
- What can I do if I think my child has Autism
- What help and support is available if you have concerns about your child’s development or think they may have autism?
- How are children assessed for Autism
Services and support
- Early years support plan
- The Early Notification process
- How can I help my child
- Financial Support
- Assessment for an Educational health and care plan
What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them (National Autistic society), it is often referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
This video explains a little about what autism is and how it affects people:
Amazing things happen video
What can I do If I think that my child has autism?
We have developed this pathway to enable the right services to be provided, at the right time, by the right person, to improve outcomes for children, to use resources effectively and to avoid duplication.
If you are concerned about your child’s development or behaviour and you would like to talk to someone, you can contact:
- Your health visitor
- Staff at your local children's centre
- Staff at their nursery (their teacher, key person or the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)
- Your childminder
They will discuss your concerns and offer advice and support. If your child needs further assessment they may be referred to a speech and language therapist or to the Specialist Children and Young People's Service (SCYPS).
What help and support is available if you have concerns about your child's development or think they may have autism?
There are services provided in the local area to support children's speech, language and social skills.
- Your health visitor can provide advice and guidance on areas such as toileting, sleep or managing behaviour
- Newham's Children's Centres offer services to support all children to have the best start in life we would encourage you to attend your local children’s centre with your child. Children’s centres run targeted stay and play sessions with a greater focus on supporting children’s development. Family support workers can provide support and guidance and can refer on to other agencies if necessary. These include ‘messy play’ and ‘fun with food’ sessions.
- Little Champions is a drop in stay and play session for children with SEND, for further details contact your local children's centre
- If you would like to find out about a nursery places for your child please follow this link
- If your child attends a nursery you may be invited to a Ready, Steady, Play session. These screening play sessions run weekly in four children’s centres in Newham. Staff from Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) nurseries can refer children that may have a delay in their learning, development or their speech, language and communication skills. Parents can come and meet a member of the team, discuss their child’s needs and hear about strategies that could be used at home or at nursery. Referrals to other agencies can be made if necessary.
- Advice, support and guidance from the nursery or setting SENCo. Setting SENCos are also supported by Area SENCos if your child attends a Private, Voluntary or independent (PVI) setting.
How are children assessed for autism?
Step 1: Initial screening assessment by a speech and language therapist
Children who are under 5 and referred to SCYPS will be seen first for an assessment by a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) who will gather some information from you, ask about your child’s development and communication and play skills. The SLT will then observe and assess your child’s play and talking and offer some advice, support and strategies so that you can help your child at home. We will also send a copy of this plan to your child’s nursery.
Following this assessment, you will then be signposted to or offered a service based on your child’s needs, this could include one or more of the following:
- Referral for an Autism assessment where information from nursery and other professionals are gathered
- Speech and language therapy sessions ‘Play and Communicate’
- Come and Problem Solve interactive web based sessions (CAPS) for advice and strategies run by specialist SLT and OT these cover communication, sensory preferences , play and interaction strategies
- A range of practical web based speech and language therapy and occupational therapy tutorials to build parents knowledge and skills in supporting their child and providing early intervention.
- Web based tools to support parents manage their children at home and school around areas such as communication, play, toileting and dressing.
(Video’s with tips to support children’s speech, language and communication skills https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzIGXVPWaFQ&list=PLw0PyfjPrssUr2lkrfGqGz4AGS6Opqq_c&index=1
We aim to offer an appointment within 18 weeks of referral or sooner. Families will be advised at the appointment on the timeframes for the next steps as these can vary depending on the presenting needs and information about the child.
Step 2: Children who are referred on for an autism assessment
Whilst you are waiting for an autism diagnostic assessment we will be using that time to find out more about your child from a range of people who know your child. This will include yourself, nursery or school staff, children’s centre staff, therapists who have provided intervention etc.
This gathering of information and reports about your child is an important part of the assessment process. We need to have a full picture of your child in different settings and situations over a period of time.
During this time, you will have full access to a range of services described within this document to support your child’s needs. Your child does not need a diagnosis to access these services and support. This includes support within an early year’s educational setting.
Step 3: The autism clinic appointment
At the clinic appointment you will be seen by a range of health professionals. During the assessment, they will use a range of toys to assess and observe your child’s play skills, interaction, understanding, spoken language and behaviours which builds upon the information already gathered from anyone who has worked with your child. The assessment will help the relevant people understand and support the child.
What support is availale after an autism diagnosis?
All families will be offered a visit from a specialist health visitor within four weeks of receiving a diagnosis. It may be useful for you to write down any questions that you have before this visit.
Follow on support
Specialist Health Visitors also provide three monthly follow up support; with a focus on areas such as behaviour, toileting and play for those families who need it
Post diagnosis workshop
All families will be invited to a post diagnosis workshop where you will receive information about autism, how to help your child and the services and support available in Newham.
Ambitious About Autism Parents Toolkit
The national organisation Ambitious About Autism have developed a toolkit for parents who think their child has autism or who has had a recent diagnosis. Click here find out more and to download a copy.
Early Years Support Plan
An Early Years Support Plan is an outcome focused plan that will be developed with you, you will be provided with a copy of the document. It sets out the ways in which parents and professionals will work together to support your child’s development. It is useful to share this document with others and when you attend appointments.
Follow this link to download a copy of the plan
The Early Notification Process
The Early Notification process is about allocating support and intervention in a timely way. A child does not need a diagnosis for an Early Notification to be made. If you feel that your child may need an Early Notification please speak to your child’s health visitor, your local children’s centre or your child’s nursery. Once received the Early Notification will be discussed at the Single Point of Access panel and the panel will allocate or signpost you to services based on need.
Any professional who is concerned about a child’s development, should discuss their concerns with parents and make an Early Notification to the local authority, notifying them that the child has or probably has special educational needs.
Action that may be taken following an Early Notification could include:
- Support and advice from the Specialist Health Visiting Service
- Access to Connect with Me
- Access to Early Positive Approaches to Support (EPAtS)
- Home or setting support from the Early Years team within the Language, Communication and Interaction Service (known as LCIS). LCIS support children who have social communication needs or a diagnosis of autism. They work with the child, the family, the Early Years setting and other agencies.
- Access to the Complex Needs and Dyslexia Service
- Access to the Sensory Team (for children with a visual or hearing impairment).
To find out more about the EN process
How can I help my child?
Groups for you and your child
Is a drop in play session for parents and carers of young children with additional needs such as speech and language delay or sensory needs. Parents are invited to come along to sessions which have been developed to support children’s play and social skills. The sessions will provide ideas of activities to try with your child and an opportunity to talk to a member of staff regarding any concerns that you have about your child’s development.
Connect with me
Connect with me is an early intervention programme of direct therapeutic support for children with SEND and their parents and carers. Its aim is to empower parents as the child’s first educator with appropriate strategies to help their child develop their communication, attention and focus, learn how to regulate their emotions and develop strategies to manage sensory needs. For parents it supports them to understand their child’s needs and receive practical advice, support and sign posting to other services. This service is accessed via an early notification.
The Buttercup group provides a supportive Stay and Play session for children who are not in provision, where a health or early years professional has identified concerns about their development, and who live in the E12 area.
This is a targeted group that supports families for 6-8 weeks, with weekly support from a speech therapist. Following an initial home visit each family will have a Family Intervention Plan which will be reviewed after 6 weeks to see if continued engagement is required. Each week families agree individual tasks for the family to do at home to support their child’s learning and development. The group will also support families to access eligible nursery place entitlement, parenting support, and other stay and play activities. After the group has finished, each family will have a transition meeting as part of case closure.
Come and Problem Solve (CAPS) workshops
Are workshops for families of children with additional needs who are under five. They provide an opportunity to share experiences and to develop strategies in areas such as feeding, sensory, behaviour and communication. To book your place, follow the link below.
SCOPE - Sleep Right Service (Level 3 Service)
Many children who have ASD have some difficulties with sleep. Sleep Right is a face to face service that helps parents and carers of disabled children to improve their child's sleep.
Please complete an online application form at scope.org.uk/sleep-right and one of the Sleep Right team will be in touch.
What support is available for parents/carers?
Parent support and training
Parent support and training is available to help you to further develop the skills and knowledge you may need to support your child’s development. This includes:
Early-Positive Approaches to Support (EPAtS) training a seven week course for 2.5 hours per week. It is facilitated by a professional and a parent with lived experience.
This is a course for parents with a child(ren) aged 0 – 5 where development delay or learning difficulties has been suggested.
Places on this training are allocated following an Early Notification. Please speak to your child’s health visitor, speech and language therapist, key person or other professional to ask about an Early Notification for your child.
Social Communication Emotional Regulation & Transactional Support (SCERTS) Parent course
This is a course that has 4 sessions over a 4 week period and runs termly. It is for parents of children with a diagnosis of autism, who have been referred to LCIS. Other parents have told us that it was useful to attend EPAtS training before coming on a SCERTS course. The course provides information for parents about autism using the SCERTS model. This model focuses on supporting children in three areas which best support children with autism and their families and have the most positive outcomes. The three areas of SCERTS are Social Communication, Emotional Regulation & Transactional Support and these areas are all explored with parents, and with their child in mind, during the course.
Places on this parenting course are allocated following referral to LCIS following an Early Notification. For further information about SCERTS follow this link.
Stepping Stones is a parenting course for parents of children with additional needs and disabilities including parents of children with ASD. It is for parents of children aged 0 to 12 years old.
You can find out more and book your place by following this link stepping-stones
Parent Befriending Service
A bespoke parenting befriending service for parents / carers of children and young people aged 0-16 year who need a space to talk and think through the ways that they are coping in the circumstances and practical suggestions to manage challenges such as their young person’s behaviour, anxiety and worries, family relationship challenges and a young person’s screen time.
If you would like to refer a family for the parenting befriending offer or would like to access the offer yourself, please email BSILFamilySupport@newham.gov.uk or you can contact your local children’s centre.
Parent Support Groups
Let Us Communicate
A support group for parents of children with social communication difficulties. A place for you to turn negatives into positives.
Come and join us for a friendly chat, professional advice and just to feel like you belong. We meet once a month at Edith Kerrison Nursery School and Children’s Centre. Sophia Road E16 3PB (located inside Rosetta Primary School). For Further Information.
LUC Hidden SEND Support Group
LUC Hidden SEND Support group is for parents and carers of children with ASD and other hidden disabilities. They offer 1 to 1 support and empower parents who are raising a child with hidden disabilities. Regular zoom meetings & coffee mornings are held with guest speakers. For Further Information.
Newham Parents Forum
Newham Parent Forum (NPF) is a voluntary group of parents and carers of children and young people (0-25) with special/additional needs and disabilities (SEND) living in the London Borough of Newham. We provide an opportunity for parents and carers to express their views and input into the planning and delivery of SEND services. For Further Information.
Newham Carers Network
Newham carers network provide support, advice and guidance to anyone looking after another person in their day to day life, including families with children who have additional needs.
Online support and guidance
The Royal Mencap Society – Family Support Project: Strengthen, Empower & Nurture (SEN) in Newham
This project’s online parent support group aims to connect families who live in Newham together. The closed Facebook Group shares useful information, activities and top tips for parents & caregivers of children who have special educational needs and parents & caregivers will also have opportunities to support and talk and support each other! For more information about the project and how to join the group, please email: email@example.com or click on the link below:
The Language, Communication and Interaction Service (LCIS) is a team of specialist teachers, speech and language therapists and SEN Early Years and School-age practitioners. They are a specialist service which works with families, children’s centres, other early year’s settings and schools to support and develop provision for children and young people aged 0 – 16 years with social communication difficulties, autism and for some with developmental language disorder. This is a local authority service which also works closely with Newham Social Care and East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) children’s services. This service is accessed via the Early Notification process. Please speak to your child’s health visitor, speech and language therapist, key person or other professional to ask about an Early Notification for your child. Children do not need a diagnosis to access this service, the service provided will depend upon the needs of your child. LCIS provide a range of services which depend on the child’s age and their level of need. The service offered may include:
- Home based support and advice for young children and their families.
- Support for staff at the child’s nursery setting on understanding and meeting their needs.
- A range of specialist groups and interventions.
- Training for parents in the form of workshops and courses.
- Support with transition for starting primary school.
This service is accessed via an early notification
Newham Children's Speech and Language Therapy early years’ service is a specialist service for children aged 2-5 years that provides assessment, advice and support for children with a range of communication, speech and language difficulties, as well as seeing children with swallowing difficulties. Assessments, diagnosis and treatment planning are carried out by qualified speech and language therapists, supported by speech and language therapy assistants, students and bilingual co-workers. Our model of working is to assess the child, then provide advice and support for the parents/ carers to implement and practice with their child, to meet family-centred goals (goals which are set by the child, where possible, and their parents).
Video’s with tips to support children’s speech, language and communication skills
The Occupational Therapy Service for Children provides advice and support to children, their family and other relevant people like teachers, where there are difficulties with their daily functional activities such as dressing, feeding themselves, riding a bike or handwriting.
The Team of Occupational therapists see a range of children, including those with developmental delay , physical disabilities, or even if children have no diagnosis, who have difficulties doing their everyday tasks to help them be as independent as possible in all areas of their lives.
Our model of working is to assess the child, then provide advice and support to work together with the child, their parents/carers, and their school to meet family-centred goals (goals which are set by the child, where possible, and their parents).
Health visitors who specialise in the area of development of children 0-5 years with additional needs. They are part of the Children’s Health Service 0-19.
- They work in partnership with families to support and empower them to meet the challenges presented by a child with additional needs.
- Work collaboratively with professionals from health, social care and education to ensure that care is individualised, targeted and provided in a timely coordinated manner.
- Provide information about services and benefits available both locally and nationally.
- Provide guidance and support to the parents/carers as they navigate through the system.
- Act as a point of contact to parents and professionals working with children who have additional needs.
In Newham our Local Authority Area SEN Co-ordinators (SENCOs) provide support to all OfSTED registered private, voluntary and independent (PVI) childcare providers, as well as the childminding sector. The Area SENCOs will support practitioners in settings to identify children aged 0-5 who have, or may have, a Special Educational Need or a Disability, provide intervention support, as well as promoting inclusive practice.
The Area SENCOs will support the setting SENCO to increase capacity and achieve improvements to meet the needs of children with SEND, enabling them to reach their full potential.
SENDIASS Newham is a statutory service designed to support children/young people with SEND (0-25) and their parent/carers, with issues relating to their special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision. Support offered is free, impartial and confidential. SENDIASS will not share parent, carer, or young person’s information with other professionals, unless they have consent or there is a safeguarding issue.
How do SENDIASS help?
- Knowledge and advice based on SEND statutory process and duties
- Advice around SEND Support and EHCP
- Telephone, email and face to face advice and support.
Please be aware that SENDIASS has a self-referral system. Should you wish to make an enquiry about receiving support, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All parents in Newham can call to discuss any concerns, get ASD specific support and advice, or be signposted by the EPS.
Schools and settings that we trade with can get ongoing support, advice for a programme or intervention to support needs (especially behaviour) at home or at school. We can also carry out a screening for ASD. In addition to these services provide training for staff and parents.
Every school or setting has a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator or SENCo. In a nursery school this will be a qualified teacher. Their role is to organise the correct support for children with additional needs within the school or other settings. The SENCo will ensure the views and wishes of parents, carers and children are recorded. They will also, with parental permission, make referrals to other professionals for assessments and additional support when it is appropriate. They are also often experienced and knowledgeable; a good person to talk to if you have any concerns about your child’s learning or development or are unsure of where to get help.
The Disabled Children and Young People's Service is a specialist team supporting and safeguarding children and young people up to the age of 18 years old with disabilities and aged up to 25 if they are in education. For Further Information.
Children with autism and their families are welcome to access activities that are offered to all children in Newham. Activities for young people in Newham.
In addition to these activities there are some activities that have been specifically developed for children with autism and their families.
Swim for Families with Autism
Swimming sessions for parents/ carers and children with autism. Come along with your parents or carers to this free session organised by Families Living with Autism in Newham (FLAIN) Telephone 020 8498 0444, 07962 409 104
Cookie's Island Autism Friendly Sessions
Sessions in the soft play area for children with autism and their families every 9am – 10:30am. Gallions Reach Shopping Park, 3, Armanda Way, Beckton, E6 7ER
Children 1-4 years £1
Children 5-11 years £3.50
Stratford Picture House Autism Friendly Sessions Screenings
Salway Road, London, E15 1BX, please check the website for timings
Bugs and Boots Club at Newham City Farm
A family gardening and nature club suitable for all ages and abilities. Activities include gardening, bug hunting, crafts and cooking. For more information please follow this link http://www.activenewham.org.uk/activities-on-the-farm
The National Autistic Society (NAS)
The NAS is the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families. They provide advice, guidance and arrange of other services for more information please click here.
Resources for Autism
Resources for Autism is a registered charity. They provide practical services for children and adults with a diagnosis of autism and for those who love and care for them. For Further Information.
You can also find advice and resources by following the links below:
To find out more about the range of benefits available to families with children follow the link to the National Autistic Society website NAS benefits children
Further help and support
Early help and Support for Families
Everyone needs help at some time during their lives. If you are experiencing difficulties within the family that may be impacting on your caring role, Newham Early Help is here to help. Some of the ways that we can support you is by helping you to access appropriate benefits such as Disability Living Allowance and/or Personal Independence Payments; identify appropriate services or groups via the SEND local offer or support you in caring for a child with additional needs by accessing parenting strategies that you can try at home. You will find further advice, information and guidance as to how to access support for you and your child by following the links below:
Assessment for an Education Health and Care Plan
The majority of children and young people with SEN or Disabilities will have their needs met within their local mainstream early years setting, school or college.
For a smaller proportion of children or young people with more significant needs, settings can apply for additional funding from the Local Authority or an Education Health and Care needs assessment can be requested this may lead to an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) issued by the Local Authority. This plan identified needs, provision and desired outcomes. To find out more follow this link
Starting Primary School
To find out about applying for a place in a reception class in a school please follow this link. For further information regarding provision for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Newham please see page 68 of the Starting Primary School Guide.