Autism Advice Service
To provide a FREE support service for families across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk who are affected by autism whilst also providing training to teachers, professionals and the emergency services. This project is vital to families who have little or no where to turn for information and guidance.
This is an ongoing service.
Parents are often unaware of how autism will affect them and their family's lives. Getting diagnosis is the first step but then they will often face other challenges such as getting a statement, accessing the right education, behaviour, support for siblings, family relationships, employment, financial entitlements and accessing services. There is still a lack of knowledge about autism amongst teachers, health professionals and the emergency services which make living with autism even harder.
Our dedicated Family Support Team provide free one-to-one support to parents/carers and individuals with autism; informing them of what choices they have, what they are entitled to and supporting them through any difficulties they may be facing. They are able to visit families in their homes and be on the end of the phone should the families simply need someone to talk to. The team are also available to provide information and training to professionals and advise the emergency services.
To support parents, carers, individuals and other family members affected by autism.
Activities» To be available over the phone, via email and in person to discuss issues that may arise within the family unit and provide individualised support.
» Produce and distribute information leaflets and other literature about autism and Asperger's Syndrome, as well as loan out literature from the library
Success is difficult to measure as families may never 'leave' the service and will face different issues throughout their lives.
To inform and train professionals about autism and how they can make life easier for those with ASC
Activities» Provide training to groups, or at larger conferences which is tailor-made to their specific need. ie teaching staff, health professionals, police etc
Success will be measured in the number of training courses carried out and in positive feedback received from the sessions. Also positive outcomes for people on the spectrum
To increase the confidence and safety of people with autism in the community.
Activities» Distribute our free of charge Autism Alert Card to anyone with a diagnosis of autism informing the reader that they may require special assistance
» To inform the police and other emergency services about the Alert Card so that they are aware of how to approach and deal with someone who has a card
Success will be in continued distribution of our Autism Alert Card and successful feedback from holders and their families
We hope that families will feel supported and more knowledgeable about autism and how it affects their lives. We do carry out satisfaction surveys and hold focus groups with service users to ensure that the service we provide is useful and appropriate but as we respond to each individual contact we know that the support we are giving is relevant to each case. We often receive thank you emails and letters from satisfied parents. We monitor all support on our bespoke database.
The major risk to this project is that as we rely entirely on voluntary income to sustain the team. If we cannot secure funding we may need to cut staff or reduce the service that we are offering.
We have successfully secured funding for the team since 2004 through grants, trust income, donations and corporate support but this is becoming increasingly difficult.
Our bespoke database captures information on all contacts we receive which means we are able to report on the number of people we support and how we have been able to help, as well as geographical and age ranges etc. We can also provide case studies and results from surveys and training sessions.
Budget - Project Cost: £166,120Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £131,187 Salaries Autism Advisors £23,433 Overheads Office costs, Training & Expenses £11,500 Printing Printing, Postage & Stationery
Current Funding / Pledges
Source Amount Baily Thomas Charitable Trust £25,000 Guaranteed Children in Need (Essex only) £20,947 Guaranteed Essex County Council ICCF Fund £42,760 Guaranteed
Our Autism Advisors work throughout the whole of East Anglia and mainly within Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.
The Autism Advice Services offers a non-judgemental, open and supportive service to families from all backgrounds and locations in the region. It is an accessible service open to anyone affected by autism, there is no set criteria to request support.
The Autism Advice Service is currently struggling to met demand for the amount of referrals in the region. Anyone who is affected by autism in East Anglia would benefit as the service would remain free and accessible to anyone.
More and more people are being diagnosed with autism and being referred to the Autism Advice Service, but lack of resources and funding have meant that staff are unable to meet demand for the amount of referrals being sent to them.
Autism Anglia has over 40 years' experience in providing a range of services aimed at enabling people with autism to live as independently as possible and to experience choice and inclusion in society.
Since launching in 2004, our Family Support team have assisted and supported over 3,165 families and individuals affected by autism across the region. They have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips and are a much-needed service, essential to some families well being.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Jo is Head of the Autism Advice Service and has worked within the charity for over nine years. She is fundamental to the service
Alan has worked with people with autism for the last 30 years and delivers training to organisations to spread awareness and understanding.
All Our Autism Advisors
Autism Anglia has 8 Autism Advisors within Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk who are all key and essential to maintaining the service.
I don't know where we’d be without their help. There is very little help in this world and this is one of those precious little gems thats left.