Information & guidance

Information sheets

Sign Up for Updates

Pathway Newsletter

Useful Links

Parentline

Autism West Midlands’ information sheets are free, downloadable PDFs that you can print off easily from your computer.

They contain practical advice and strategies for families, carers, teachers and other professionals, visit their website here

We’d love to keep in touch and send you regular updates. These will include details of activities and events for people with autism, news about our services, fundraising updates, information on training, etc.

If you’d like to receive these, please click here.

Pathway is our bi-monthly newsletter which includes information and news about our services, voluntary and statutory services in Bedfordshire and national agencies. Read the latest edition of Pathway here.

Parentline is a secure and confidential text service for parents and carers of those aged 0-19. Provided by Bedfordshire Community Health Services it offers advice and support on a range of issues such as weaning, sleep and emotional health or how to make an appointment with our team. This is also a great mechanism to find out how to access other local services.

Simply text 07507 331456 with your question to start the conversation – the team will be there to answer your queries from 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

For young people aged 11-19 years old, there is ChatHealth, a text service where young people can get advice from the school nursing team. Find out more about ChatHealth here.

Frequently asked questions

FAQ's for children with autism

Where can I find relevant services near me?

By law, each local authority has to provide an online special needs directory known as a ‘Local Offer’ which details all available services to those with a special need or with a family member with special needs. The local offers for the three unitary authorities for the county of Bedfordshire can be accessed below:

Bedford Borough https://sendguide.bedford.gov.uk/

Central Bedfordshire http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/children/sen-disability/landing.aspx

Luton Borough http://directory.luton.gov.uk/kb5/luton/directory/family.page?familychannel=11

What is an EHCP?

An Education, Health and Care plan (“EHC plan”) is a legal document which describes a child or young person’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve. An EHC plan can only be issued after a child or young person has gone through the process of an Education, Health and Care needs assessment.

For further information on EHC Plans and the assessment process, please visit the following website https://www.ipsea.org.uk/

Are there waiting lists for any of your services?

Due to high demands across the county, we are currently holding waiting lists for all our term-time LOAF and Wanted Fun groups. Please contact us directly if you would like to be added to a waiting list.

Do we have to pay for your services?

Most of our services do have fees associated. However costs do vary depending on the service. To access some of our services (not all) you may also need to become a member of Autism Bedfordshire. Lifetime membership is currently charged at £20.

Can we access your services if we live outside of Bedfordshire?

This is dependent on the service and the funding criteria. For our core services such as LOAF, Wanted Fun and Summer Scheme you do need to live in Bedfordshire. Our helpline and some of our parent training is accessible for all.

How can we access your services? Do we need to be members?

To access most of our services (not all) you will need to become a member. For further details and to download a membership form please click here https://www.autismbedfordshire.net/become-a-member/

If you would like to receive information on our services without becoming a member then please  complete our online form, here https://autismbedfordshire.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ca6736d61153b2aae556a7195&id=83d7004571

What parent training/support does Autism Bedfordshire offer?

Please visit our Parent/Carer training page for current opportunities https://www.autismbedfordshire.net/training/

Does my child need to have a diagnosis to access your services?

We realise that the diagnostic process can be very lengthy and therefore we do not require a formal diagnosis to be in place in order to access our services. We offer a variety of support and opportunities which are specifically tailored to support autistic young people and their families.

How do I get my child diagnosed?

If you feel your child is on the autism spectrum, there are a variety of professionals you can speak to who will be able to make a referral for assessment. Along with your GP there are also other professionals who may be able to make a referral for assessment dependant on your local diagnostic pathway. These could include speech and language therapists, SENCOs, Early Years Teams, Educational Psychologists and Autism Advisory teachers.

For further information, please take a look at the National Autistic Society’s information below on diagnosis https://www.autism.org.uk/about/diagnosis/children.aspx##referral

FAQ's for adults with autism

How do I get diagnosed as an adult?

If you suspect that you or someone that you know has autism and you would like to seek a diagnosis then the first step is to speak with your GP or another health professional to ask for a referral to the Bedfordshire Adult Autism Service.

For more information visit the Bedfordshire Adult Autism Service website .

Do I need to be a member to access your services?

Yes, for more information visit our membership page

Do I have to pay for Autism Bedfordshire services?

All of our services are heavily subsidised but some do require a small contribution. More details can be found on the service pages.How can I access your services?

How can I access your services?

To access any of our services you need to contact us in the first instance and we will then send you an application form to complete. To access our services you need to have a diagnosis of autism or Asperger’s syndrome and be a member of the charity.