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.
Autism is often described as a ‘hidden’ disability because children and young people with it can be quite able and appear like everyone else.
However, children and young people with autism will usually have noticeable differences when they are interacting with others, for example, not responding typically when they are approached or finding it difficult to start conversations and make friends.
If you think your child might have autism
You can read more about the signs of autism in children and when to get advice on the NHS website.
If you decide to request an assessment for your child, Children and Family Health Devon provide an Autism Spectrum Assessment Service to diagnose and help children and young people up to 18 years of age suspected of being autistic.
There are a wide range of organisations that can provide information, advice and support to you and your child if you think that your child may have autism. Many can be accessed regardless of whether your child has already been diagnosed with autism, is waiting for an assessment or if you have not yet decided to go down a formal diagnosis route and are just seeking support.
Search for services and support groups on Pinpoint Devon. You can use filters to identify services that have been identified as being suitable for children and young people with SEND.
The National Autistic Society is a national charity that supports autistic people and their families.
The Autism Education Trust provides resources to support effective education for children with autism.
Children and Family Health Devon have developed a range of resources to help you understand and support your child.
The Communication and Interaction Team has provided access to courses to support families of children and young people who are on the autism assessment pathway, or have received an autism diagnosis.
Dimensions for Autism is a group based in Devon that supports adults on the autistic spectrum who do not have a learning disability.
Early Help (South and West Devon) Online Support Group – A monthly support group that meets online, on Teams. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.