Talk to school
Talk about your concerns with school (if your child attends school). Some children and young people with autism do not show many of their symptoms at school, whilst others can find things more difficult and demonstrate this through their behaviour.
It is important to talk through your concerns with the staff who work with your child or young person, even if they are not seeing those behaviours at school.
Knowing how children and young people are within the school environment is an important part of our assessment process.
Talk to your child
Some children and young people may be ready to talk about the differences they are experiencing. It is OK to talk about these differences before your child has a diagnosis. You don’t have to mention autism at this stage.
You may find this 10 minute video useful which aims to raise awareness and understanding about autism.
For younger children
The CBeebies ‘Pablo’s Art World Adventure’ games and activities may help you talk to your child about how people are different.
There is a character called Julia in ‘Sesame Street’ who is autistic. Talking about how Julia sees things differently to other characters may help you talk to your child about their differences.
For school age children
Click HERE to watch the ‘Amazing Things Happen’ video, a short animation which aims to raise awareness of autism. This could be a good place to start when talking to your child about Autism. It may also be useful for teachers and other professionals. It is available in different languages.
Click HERE to watch the BBC Newsround special ‘My Autism and Me’
There is some advice from the National Autistic Society about talking about autism with them . There is also a useful comic strip that has been created to explain autism.
It is very important that young people agree with being assessed for autism, and understand the impact of a diagnosis of autism.
Seek out useful advice and support
There are lots of fantastic local and online resources which provide advice and support to parents/carers of children and young people with suspected and diagnosed autism.
Wiltshire Local Offer
The Wiltshire Local Offer describes the range of services and support for children and young people, aged 0-25, with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities.
Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC)
The Wiltshire Parent Carer Council provide information on local resources and support and can help direct you to support for your child and your family. The WPCC helpline is 01225 764 647.
National Autistic Society (NAS)
The National Autistic Society is a charity providing a wide range of advice and support about Autism. They also run local support groups. The NAS helpline is 0808 800 4104.
Wiltshire SENDIASS (formerly WISA)
The Wiltshire SENDIASS can help parents understand how their children’s special education needs can be met in schools. They can help with paperwork and My Support Plans and Education Health Care Plans.
On Your Mind
On your Mind is the Wiltshire Early Mental Health Service, run by Barnardo’s and has lots of practical tips and advice about supporting children and young people’s mental health focusing on a range of different subjects.
Requesting a diagnostic assessment for autism
If you continue to suspect your child is autistic, please discuss with your school in the first instance, who will be able to make a referral to our Wiltshire Autism Assessment Service. See our Information for referrers page for guidance on how to make a referral.
If your child is not attending an education setting, you can contact your Health Visitor, School Nurse or GP to support the referral. We will also try and gather information from others who know the child well.