Autism support and diagnosis
Before you request an autism diagnosis, we recommend that you speak to:
- local groups and charities who can support you before, during and after your request
- your child's education setting to see how they can support you
- your GP to find out if there are any health services that can help you and your family.
Remember, autism is different for everyone. What happened to other people might not be the same for you or your child.
If you or someone you know has difficulty in accessing online services, you can visit one of our:
Before contacting your local NHS service you should contact your GP. They can provide you with additional guidance on who to speak to, for example children's health and wellbeing navigators.
The NHS website has a range of support and advice articles, including helping your child in their day to day life, appointment support, and moving from child to adult health services.
Autism support charities
There are national and local autism support charities that can help you. To find support for you and your family visit our community directory.
If you would like to know more about autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children read our handbook for Kent families.
Support to help you understand autism
Sometimes it is hard to understand how someone may be feeling if they have autism, or if you as a parent or carer are unsure if they have autism.
The National Autistic Society has a range of support pages that can help you:
Here are also a few videos from other organisations that may help you.
A child or young person's view of autism:
- My autism and me a BBC video Rosie, a 13 year old takes viewers into her world to explain what it's like to grow up with autism.
- What is autism? a young person's representation of autism created by Fixers UK.
- Make it stop a National Autistic Society video explaining how some children cope with overload of information.
- Could you stand rejection? - a National Autistic Society video showing how young people with autism may feel when being interviewed for a job.
- Autism explained for kids - a video created to help children understand autism through a puppet.
- Marvelous Max - a cartoon with Marvelous Max explaining how children cope in school.
Understanding autism for parents and carers:
- Amazing things happen - a National Autistic Society video outlining how autism appears in children and young people.
- Reaching families animations - video animations showing support relating to autism and sensory issues.
- How do I help? - NHS video for parents helping to understand how to support neurodiverse children.
- A parent's guide to supporting children and young people with ADHD and autism" - various videos helping parents to support their child.
- Autism and sleep - tips to get your child to sleep
- Creating the right environment to sleep - a talk from Dr Rachel Hussy, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist.
Request a diagnosis
Whilst your child can get most of the support they need without a diagnosis, requesting a formal autism diagnosis can mean that your child can access the right support, and get a clearer explanation why certain things are so difficult.
If you want your child to be referred to relevant support services, we suggest you contact your GP or education setting in the first instance.
While you wait for your diagnosis, any of the above organisations can help support you and your child at home.