This is a section for parents, carers and families who have a child or young person on the Autism Spectrum. It is also aimed at professionals who work with or support children and young people with autism. The purpose of the page is to link useful autism information together on one page. We welcome suggestions from anyone using the page about local information to be included and how to make it more useful. Please click on the links and collapsible headings below for more information.
Credit: film created by and uploaded with kind permission of Alex Amelines (Studio Tinto)
CBeebies Autism stories
Information about diagnosis
Below are the diagnostic pathways for ASD in Kingston and Richmond. The booklets and information packs in the section above also contain information and guidance on the process and practical insights into what happens when you seek a diagnosis for your child or young person.
Note: March 2019
These pathways are being reviewed and new ones will be published.
Local and national autism organisations
Express is a not for profit, entirely voluntary parent led organisation. We exist to support young people with autism and their families. We run several parent/carer support groups, including a group for parents of children with PDA ( pathological demand avoidance), a weekly drama club, weekly drama therapy groups for young people on the autism spectrum, an ASD girls group, a sibling group, a yoga club, support with EHCPs and DLA applications and a counselling service for parent/carers of SEN children. In addition we work tirelessly to raise autism awareness in the community, putting on events, talks and workshops. We work alongside statutory services to ensure the voice of our community is heard and to influence best practice and provisions.
Please visit www.expresscic.org.uk or email email@example.com for more information and a referral form.
- NAS Richmond Branch: A friendly parent-led group aiming to support families and individuals mainly in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames living with an autism spectrum disorder (including Asperger's Syndrome). They hold coffee mornings, liaise with other groups and provide regular updates via emails.
Find out more details about NAS Richmond Branch (opens a page on an external website)
- NAS Kingston Branch: Formally called SWAPS, the branch welcomes all parents and carers with children on the autistic spectrum, and organises a number of activities as well as acting as a source of information on local events/services.
Find out more details about NAS Kingston Branch (opens a page on an external website)
- Balance CIC Asperger Syndrome Team: A non-profit organisation which provides a variety of support and activities for young adults aged 18 and over with a diagnosis of high functioning Autism/Aspergers.
Find out more details about Balance CIC Asperger Syndrome Team (opens a page on an external website)
- National Autistic Society (NAS): The UK's leading charity for people on the Autistic Spectrum and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for Autistic people.
Find out more details about the National Autistic Society (opens a page on an external website)
- Ambitious about Autism: Britain's national charity for children and young people with autism. They provide services, raise awareness and understanding, and campaign for change. Their ambition is to make the ordinary possible for more children and young people with autism. They have a Youth Council, a group of 16-25 year olds with autism, who meet at least four times a year to discuss and plan campaigns, events and consultations.
Find out more details for Ambitious about Autism (opens a page on an external website)
Graduates from Kingston School of Art won the Undergraduate Short Feature Award at the annual Royal Television Society (RTS) Student Television Awards for their film Mm-Hmm. The short film illustrates the imagination of a son on the autistic spectrum while his mother talks about her role in his life and how things may change as he, and she, get older. You can view the film here.
Included by kind permission of Hannah McNally
Parent support groups
There are many groups available, which you can find by searching the Local Offer Directory, but here are a few Autism-specific groups:
Express is a not for profit, entirely voluntary parent led organisation. We exist to support young people with autism and their families. We run several parent/carer support groups, including a group for parents of children with PDA ( pathological demand avoidance), a weekly drama club, weekly drama therapy groups for young people on the autism spectrum, an asd girls group, a sibling group, a yoga club, support with EHCPs and DLA applications and a counselling service for parent/carers of SEN children. In addition we work tirelessly to raise autism awareness in the community, putting on events, talks and workshops. We work alongside statutory services to ensure the voice of our community is heard and to influence best practice and provisions.
Richmond NAS Branch coffee groups
These are held in association with Me Too and Co.
They take place at the St. Stephen’s Crossway Centre. 306, Richmond Road, East Twickenham. TW1 2PD.
The nearest parking facilities are at Marble Hill Park’s Pay & Display car park. Directions to this venue can be found on Me Too and Co’s website: www.metooandco.org.uk (opens a page on an external website).
There is a creche facility available - places need to be booked with Me Too and Co. Email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07946 646033.
Find out more details about Richmond NAS Branch coffee groups (opens a page on an external website)
Skylarks is an independent Richmond-upon-Thames based charity that provides activities and therapies for children with disabilities and additional needs. They also support and provide therapies, courses and information for their whole families. They are a pan-disability group but a large proportion of the children who use their services have autism.
Find out more about Skylarks (opens a page on an external website)
South West London Girls Connect was set up in 2014 as a networking group of parents of girls with ASD. It was formed to enable parents and carers of girls to share relevant information, as well as to provide support to each other. This is facilitated through regular coffee mornings which take place across various locations around South West London, as well as through an invitation only Facebook group. The group is also open to older girls / young women with ASD and, if anyone is interested in joining, they should email email@example.com for further information. The group holds meetings at Me too & Co and Express CIC
Workshops at Grand Avenue Primary School
The school's lead staff member for SEND, Jane Pidduck, runs various training courses, workshops and networking groups for parents, carers and families who have a child or young person on the Autism Spectrum. Grand Avenue also run groups for siblings of children with autism as well as sibs parent workshops. Please note the sibling attending the group needs to be aged between 7 and 11. You do not have to be connected to this school to take part.
For more information, please contact Jane:
Telephone: 020 8399 5344
Groups for children and young people
There are many groups available, which you can find by searching the Local Offer Directory, but here are a few Autism-specific groups:
Express is a not for profit, entirely voluntary parent led organisation. We exist to support young people with autism and their families. We run several parent/carer support groups, a weekly drama club, weekly drama therapy groups for young people on the autism spectrum, an ASD girls group, a sibling group, a yoga club, support with EHCPs and DLA applications and a counselling service for parent/carers of SEN children. In addition we work tirelessly to raise autism awareness in the community, putting on events, talks and workshops. We work alongside statutory services to ensure the voice of our community is heard and to influence best practice and provisions.
Buds@Express is a small structured Parent/Carer and Child group for autistic preschoolers, including those who may not yet have a diagnosis. Activities are based on the highly-regarded Attention Autism programme, focusing on attention, communication and play development through clear structure, engaging activities and plenty of sparkle!
Career Guidance Service @Express
Career Guidance Service @Express is a free service offered to those on the autistic spectrum who would benefit from some support and guidance around areas such as:
- Career Planning
- CV Writing
- Market Research
- Interview Skills
Sessions are with Will, who is a careers transition coach and will be on Monday mornings at the Express offices in Tolworth.
If you are interested in this service and would like more information please Express at firstname.lastname@example.org
ASD social skills group
These groups are for children on the autism spectrum in mainstream education aged 8 -12 years and are usually held at Moor Lane Centre in Chessington in term time. For more information, please contact Tracey:
Telephone: 077 4853 4587
Click this link for a referral form (opens a Word document)
This aims to enable children with speech, language, communication and sensory needs to achieve and have active lives. Led by Samantha Silver, the organisation builds on Sam's personal and professional experience of supporting children and their families to have fun and learn in and out of school.
Action Attainment works directly with families, professionals, schools and with community groups to provide understanding, strategies and opportunities for learning, play and friendships.
Find out more details about Action Attainment (opens a page on this website)
A local charity based in Kingston and Richmond, providing day and respite services to adults, young people and children with a range of disabilities. The services include after school clubs, where children and young people can be in a non-judgemental environment, talk to their peers and staff in confidence, and of course have a lot of fun.
Find out more details about EnhanceAble (opens a page on this website)
Skylarks is an independent Richmond-upon-Thames based charity that provides activities and therapies for children with disabilities and additional needs. They are a pan-disability group but a large proportion of the children who use their services have autism.
Find out more about Skylarks activities for children (opens a page on an external website)
Yorda Adventures is a not-for-profit community organisation that works with families in and around the borough of Kingston-upon-Thames. Yorda pride themselves in providing engaging and stimulating play and short break projects for children and young people with severe learning disabilities. Occasionally Yorda target a project at a specific group, for example those with autism, or those with physical disabilities.
Turtle Key Arts Club
The Key Club is for anyone aged 16 to 30 year of age who has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. The nearest Key Club meets once a month on a Saturday morning at The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. Each meeting consists of a two-hour workshop followed by a break and a discussion. The subjects of the workshops and the discussions change each month but are based on the performance arts, visual arts and other creative disciplines. If you would like to become a member of the Key Club, please contact them by phone on 020 8964 5060 or email them at email@example.com
Find out more details about Turtle Key Arts Club (opens a page on an external website)
Spectrum Youth Theatre (SYT)
SYT is a puppet youth theatre for young people aged 11 to 17 with Asperger's / high functioning autism. It began as a pilot project with support from Turtle Key Arts, and has gone from strength to strength. This is a perfect club for artists, model builders, designers, problem solvers, puppeteers, performers and people with big imaginations or a quirky take on life.
Find out more details about Spectrum Youth Theatre (opens a page on an external website)
Autism social groups
The Boroughs of Richmond upon Thames and Wandsworth work with Resources for Autism to run social groups for adults on the autism spectrum. There are two groups: the younger group is primarily aimed at younger adults (from 18 to roughly mid-20s) and the other one (AutenRichmond) is for adults of all ages. These groups offer the people who attend the opportunity to meet friends, take part in fun activities, learn new skills and get support and advice. When: Every other Thursday on alternate dates. Where: Crossway Centre. 306, Richmond Road, East Twickenham. TW1 2PD. Do email Zahra at Zahra@resourcesforautism.org.uk or call the Resources for Autism office on 020 8458 3259 (Monday to Saturday) for more information.
Find out more details about Resources for Autism (opens a page on an external website)
The Lighthouse Project
This is a closed group for young people 11 to 24 years with Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). This group is run by Achieving for Children Youth Service.
The sessions take place once a week and young people who attend have a set structure for the evening. Each session includes a planned educational workshop or activity as well as the freedom to enjoy time with friends and accessing the many facilities available at Ham Youth Centre. Membership is by referral only - there is no open access. Referral can be made by professionals or parents. To discuss whether this club might be suitable for a particular young person or to arrange a visit please contact us (details on the link below)
The group is open to young people from the Richmond and Kingston boroughs.
Find out more details about the Lighthouse Project (opens a page on this website)
Our Barn Community
Run a number of community-based activities for young people aged 16 to 25 with learning or other disabilities such as autism, plus a drop-in session for unpaid carers regardless of age. Our Barn is based at Jubilee Lodge in Osterley Park, Isleworth.
Find out more about Our Barn Community (opens a page on this website)
Support people with learning disabilities and autism to live with more independence and choice across the Surrey area, including Kingston, Sutton, Surbiton, Chessington, and New Malden.
Find out about Hft Surrey (opens a page on this website)
MCCH Supported Employment Service
This supported employment service is for people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities and sensory impairments. They work with the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames and Wandsworth Council to support people to gain and keep paid employment.
Training and learning opportunities
Achieving for Children (AfC) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses
AfC run a variety of courses for professionals working in the broad field of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). If you type 'Autism' in the search bar on the 'AfC CPD Online' website, you can find out more details about Autism-specific training opportunities.
Find out more details about AfC CPD courses (opens a page on an external website)
National Autistic Society (NAS) 'EarlyBird' courses for families
EarlyBird and EarlyBird Plus are National Autistic Society (NAS) licensed programmes for parents.
The National Autistic Society (NAS) EarlyBird programme has been developed to support parents of pre-school children who either already have or are ‘on the road to’ a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder and is of pre-school age (not yet of statutory school age).
The programme aims to support parents in the period between diagnosis and school placement, empowering and helping them facilitate their child's social communication and appropriate behaviour in their natural environment. It also helps parents to establish good practice in handling their child at an early age, so as to pre-empt the development of inappropriate behaviours.
Find out more details about EarlyBird (opens a page on an external website)
Barnardo's Cygnet Training
These courses are designed for parents or carers of children and young people aged 8 to 16, with a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The course aims to improve participants’ confidence in managing the challenges faced when raising a child with ASD.
The Cygnet programme covers - What is autism?, communication, sensory issues, understanding and managing behaviour and siblings. This programme is over seven weeks for two and a half hours each session.
Find out more details about Barnardo's Cygnet Training (opens a page on an external website)
The Happy in School (HIS) Project programme is for parents of children diagnosed (or pre-diagnosis) on the autism spectrum attending a mainstream primary school. HIS is a six-week programme, delivered through a series of interactive and dynamic workshops, the H.I.S. Project will provide you or your organisation with practical skills and knowledge you can put into practice immediately with the children in your care.
This service is not offered or funded by Achieving for Children. Express CIC is able to offer a limited number of free places (donations welcome) on the workshops at Express CIC Offices, 452 Ewell Road, Surbiton KT6 7EL.
If you’re looking for techniques and tips to stay on top of what’s going on at school and would like a place on the workshops
contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact details, age of child and postcode
(you must be able to attend all the workshops)
Yorda Adventures, based in Kingston, run a variety of projects that seek to support families who have children with disabilities. They also offer high quality training to those wishing to develop their work with children and young people, whether they are working in the mainstream or with children who have special needs. Training and consultancy includes ASD Awareness, Sensory Environments and reinforcing ASD - friendly policies amongst other subjects.
NAS training for professionals
The NAS run many types of training and consultancy opportunities for professionals, including a variety of scheduled training events; courses run at your venue tailored to your organisation's needs; a consultancy service that works with you to find creative solutions and a comprehensive range of online training modules.
Find out more details about NAS training for professionals (opens a page on an external website)
Ambitious about Autism: training and consultancy opportunities
This charity delivers training for both parents and professionals, and offers a bespoke outreach and consultancy service.
According to Ambitious about Autism, "Raising awareness and understanding of autism is critical to ensuring children and young people with autism can learn, thrive and achieve and our training programme is just one way we achieve this".
Find out more details for Ambitious about Autism training (opens a page on an external website)
The curly hair project
The curly hair project (CHP) is a social enterprise based in the UK, which aims to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their loved ones. All their work is based on personal, real life examples and experience. CHP often visit our local area to hold seminars and training events. They also provide evening webinars on a variety of subjects.
Purple Ella is a YouTuber, blogger, consultant and public speaker. Her primary focus is autism. Ella is an autistic woman and the mother of two autistic children and as such belongs to a very autistic family.
Since being diagnosed with autism, aged 36, Ella has been researching, writing, consulting and speaking about autism in hopes of making life better for autistic people.
Purple Ella delivered a workshop on "Girls and autism" at the 2018 SENCo Conference held in Twickenham.
Resources and useful links
SEND Family Voices: 'Reasonable Adjustments' film featuring twelve children and young people with SEND, including Autism (opens a page on an external website)
SEND Family Voices: SCHOOL EXCLUSIONS AND SEND Young people’s rights and the laws that protect them (opens a pdf)
Local organisations have collaborated to produce this booklet:
You are not alone - A parent’s perspective on autism (opens a PDF document)
The Richmond Branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS) has produced this helpful guide aimed at parents/carers, families and young people. It is available in both online and printed editions, but the online guide is updated most regularly:
NAS Richmond Branch Information Pack (opens a page on an external website)
0808 800 4106
Free from landlines and most mobiles (3, O2, EE, T-mobile, Virgin and Vodafone)
Would you like to receive confidential emotional support from another parent?
Parent to Parent (P2P) is a UK-wide confidential telephone service providing emotional support to parents and carers of children or adults on the autism spectrum.
The service is provided by trained parent volunteers who are all parents themselves of a child or adult on the autism spectrum. Volunteers are based across the UK so you don’t have to share information with someone in your local area. Our volunteers have personal experience of autism and the impact it has on their own families. They can give other parents the opportunity to talk through problems and feelings, suggest helpful strategies, or provide a non-judgemental listening ear.
More information for parents, carers and families (opens a page on an external website)
National Autistic Society: 'Too Much Information' campaign (opens a page on an external website)
Ambitious about Autism: 'Know Your Normal' toolkit (opens a PDF document)
If you are an autistic person, or know an autistic person who wants to help people around them understand what their normal is, this tool can help. The ‘know your normal’ tool allows you to describe what your normal looks like, things such as how much sleep you get, how much time you spend on your interests and hobbies and how this makes you feel, so that if this changes, it’s easier to explain to people who may not understand your autism that something feels different.
Summer holidays: resources to support families (opens a link on an external website)
The summer holiday can be a difficult time for families with autistic children. Whether going away for some of the summer or staying at home, the change in routine can be a challenge.
Network autism have gathered together a number of articles offering advice on managing the challenges of the summer holidays which can be downloaded to give to parents and carers in preparation for the forthcoming break.
Morrisons stores "Quieter Hour"
Morrisons have introduced a 'Quieter Hour' in all Morrisons stores - designed help customers who currently struggle with music and the other noise associated with supermarket shopping.
The 'Quieter Hour' takes place every Saturday in all stores from 9-10am
This new initiative has been created with the support of the National Autistic Society. Many people who are autistic or those with autistic children can find shopping in a supermarket an anxious experience.
The nearest Morrisons to Kingston and Richmond are Wimbledon, Sutton, Brentford and Ealing.
Find out more here