Early diagnosis can lead to very positive improvements in a child’s life.

An individualised programme of support for a child or adult with autism can help to resolve some of the sensory and communication issues which can make every day life so challenging.

Often, children on the spectrum will demonstrate obsessive behaviours, any slight change to their routine (for example a different spoon or bowl at breakfast time) can prompt a violent and distressing reaction. Many of these children have heightened sensory awareness. Some cannot tolerate clothing or may be extremely intolerant to noise or certain smells. Again, this can prompt violent or upsetting behaviour.

Often, children with severe autism have difficulty sleeping. It is not uncommon for a child to go for several nights without sleep, or to sleep for only 2 or 3 hours each night. Although these behaviours can be distressing to the child and their family, with specialist support they can learn strategies for processing and dealing with change to their daily routine. Specialist sensory input can also help to reduce intolerance to light, sound, touch or smell resulting in huge improvements to the child or adult’s quality of life.

Autism is a life long condition, there is no “cure.” However, with the right intervention and support it is possible to help people with severe autism to improve their communication and learn to live within a community. So children who may seem distressed and shut off from the outside world can, in time, grow into young people and adults who enjoy life and, hopefully, come to realise their full potential.


Specialist provision for people who have autism.

The debate over inclusion has been intense in recent years. For many children with Autism, inclusion in mainstream education is achievable and appropriate. Specialist provision in the child’s home authority may be appropriate where this ensures that they have access to the level and nature of support that they require.

Some children will, however, require highly specialised support which may be impossible to create in their home authority area. They may present extremely challenging and violent behaviour which may put themselves and others at risk. These young people need constant support from specialist staff who understand what may trigger such behaviour and know how to calm and reassure them. Similarly some adults will require high levels of support and specialised help which local authorities would struggle to provide (because of the relatively low number of people requiring such services).

We believe that children, young people and adults with severe autism are one of the few groups with disabilities for whom inclusion into mainstream services is often not appropriate and in fact may be damaging. At times it requires parents, carers and professionals to act almost against their instincts, which are naturally to support and meet the needs of the individual in their home environment.

Where it is not possible to meet the needs of a child, young person or adult at home we believe that a placement should be made available from which the individual can have their needs fully met. Regular contact with their family or carers is an integral part of this provision, we can offer just such specialised placements.

Some individuals need consistency and routine, over 24 hours a day, seven days a week and on occasions 52 weeks a year, to help them feel safe and secure. It can be particularly difficult for parents and carers to achieve this continuity given the other pressures that impact upon their lives. They may for example, have more than one child or, may need to fit their caring responsibilities around full or part time employment. Our aim is to provide services which support the growth and development of the people in our care, whilst maintaining their place within the family, community and society in general.

Every person with autism has a right to an active, fulfilling life within their local community.

About the North East Autism Society