Autism in Reading
Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to others, learns, and processes information.
It is currently estimated that roughly one in every 100 people has autism. As a spectrum condition, autism affects people in varying ways and can give advantages as well as challenges that require different levels of support. Some people use the terms Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) or Asperger’s Syndrome to describe their condition.
Reading has published its Autism Strategy 2015-2018. The delivery of the Strategy is overseen by Reading’s Autism Partnership Board who have developed an Action Plan to progress the priorities.
Autism diagnosis is via a specialist team who take referrals from GPs.
For adults, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs an Autism Spectrum Condition Service that provides an assessment service for people who think that they may have Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and offers support to understand the condition.
For children aged 0-18 years, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provides an Autism Spectrum Disorder Pathway. To access the service, a child needs to be referred by a professional such as a GP, health visitor or school nurse.
There are a number of groups that support children, young people and adults on the autism spectrum through social and leisure activities, or by helping autistic people to access education and employment. You can find more details about these by searching for “autism” on the Reading Services Guide. Some of the specific support is listed below – but there are lots of our services on the guide that could be accessed by autistic people too.
The Council’s Autism Advisor Jenna Redmond, will receive a report for every child diagnosed with Autism in Reading. The Autism Advisor will then contact the family and offer parents/carers a home visit. Families will be invited to the ‘Living with Autism’ 5 week programme for parents/carers. The Autism Advisor can also be contacted directly by families.
Autism Berkshire provides an advice and information service about autism, as well as running support groups and training for parents and carers, providing training and support for professionals, and running leisure and social activities for autistic children and adults.
Parenting Special Children run specialist parenting programmes and support groups for parent/carers who have children with special needs including Autism.
Reading Mencap provide integrated services and support to people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders and their families. This includes a help line, a home visiting Family Support Service providing information, advice and advocacy, a Day Service and a range of clubs and activities.
Autism Matters provides training devised and delivered by a qualified and experienced autistic trainer to autistic people, families and professionals. (Private organisation).
Children and young people can get help from their schools (in mainstream or specialist education), who can access extra support if that is seen as appropriate for someone’s needs. In some cases this might include support from the Council directly (through the Children & Young People’s Disability Team ), or help to access support such a short breaks or holiday clubs.
The Council’s Adult Social Care services may be able to help adults who have difficult taking care of themselves. This could be information, advice or support – some of these services are for people that meet the eligibility criteria. You may be asked to contribute towards the costs of some support – although the amount you pay will depend on your financial situation. You can find out more on the Council’s website: http://www.reading.gov.uk/communitycare.
Caring for someone with autism
If you are a family member, partner or friend of someone with autism and they depend on you for care or support with their condition, you might benefit from some support with your caring role. You can find out more in ‘I Look After Someone’ section of the Reading Services Guide.
If you are interested in training to improve your awareness and knowledge of autism, you can find out about the organisations that provide courses and resources on the page about Autism Training
A guide for those on the Autistic spectrum
- if you or someone you are caring for has autism there are some simple steps you can take to make it easier to access your GP - click on this link to find out more