The Society was founded in 1980 by a group of parents with autistic children

They wanted to send their children to a school where the staff understood their needs and where each child would be helped to achieve their full potential. The organisation was set up as a registered charity called the “Tyne and Wear Autistic Society”.

Since the 1980s Thornhill Park School has become firmly established as a major regional and national resource. This led to further developments for ‘Children’s Services’ to offer year round residential care for autistic children. Our care and educational staff work together to provide a 24-hour programme of development, particularly in social skills, communication and leisure.

Our services were extended in 1994 with the provision of Adult Services to provide educational and vocational programmes to adults over the age of 19 years.

Today, as we near 1000 staff, our services include a further education college, three schools, a vocational training farm, social and vocational programmes, employment services,  family workshops, toddler groups, online support services as well as a range of residential homes, supported living arrangements and luxury short breaks lodges.

We established a range of Family Support Services in 2009 which are provided seven days a week in the local community and are tailored to meet the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

With the expansion of our services throughout the North-east we rebranded in September 2009 to become the “North East Autism Society”. The name and brand protects our image as a local charity, whilst demonstrating our commitment to all those communities in which we are working to develop high quality services for people with autism.