Project information

Family Support - Early Years Programme

Our autism-specific Early Years group will enable children with autism to develop vital skills, giving them with the best chance to reach their potential. The specialist range of sessions will also provide much needed support, information and advice to families.

12 months

Charity information: North East Autism Society

North East Autism Society logo
  • Need


    1 in every 100 people in the UK has autism, however it is still very difficult for people with autism and their families to access appropriate and timely services, particularly specialist children’s services focused on autism. This lack of appropriate support and information can lead to social isolation for families, poor mental and physical health and poor outcomes for the child with autism.


    Through early intervention and specialist support, we are able to identify individual’s challenges as early as possible. We create tailored strategies to allow for skills development, behavioural improvement and family coherence, which in turn enables children to establish strong foundations for the future. Families will also receive appropriate support, empowering them, reducing stress and enabling them to care for their children at home for as long as possible; avoiding residential care.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Address gaps in provision


    » Provide weekly autism-specific Early Years sessions.
    » Provide accessible sessions in local areas throughout the North East.

    What success will look like

    Through providing groups in six areas, children and families throughout the region will be able to access appropriate, tailored support in a location accessible to them.

    Aim 2

    Improve Life Chances


    » Provide tailored activities focusing on the key areas of development through play such as communication and sensory exploration
    » By improving social, sensory and physical skills and reducing anxiety through autism-specific activities, children will improve life chances

    What success will look like

    Due to gains made they will be able to engage in mainstream services and activities and access relevant opportunities to achieve their potential.

    Aim 3

    Support Families


    » Access to advice and support greatly improves levels of parental stress, which in turn impacts on children’s behaviours and intervention success
    » Weekly groups will help to build a support group with peers and professionals who understand the issues families are going through.

    What success will look like

    Through receiving this appropriate support and information when needed, families will be healthier, enhance their communication and have better relationships.

  • Impact


    A child’s experience in early years has major impact on future life chances, particularly for those with autism. The impact of this project is life-changing – for both child and family. Children will be able to communicate for the first time, socialise and take part in their community. Reach their potential. Families will be able to understand their children, care for them at home and relax knowing support is there for them. Additional funding means we can support many more people when needed.


    This project has a low level of risk, as it is a successful model, used since 2014. The main risk is that families who need our help may not find out about the project to make use of the sessions. To ensure this doesn't happen we have built strong relationships with various referral bodies including councils, health visitors, GPs and hospitals to refer families to us. We also have a strong network of families who can spread the word to others. Without further funding, we cannot achieve this.


    Donors will receive regular updates, including progress and case studies of children and families attending groups.
    We will also update them with any forthcoming activities they might like to get involved in, and any necessary changes that have been made to the project plans.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £27,450

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £22,500 Staff costs Delivery and planning costs for sessions, travel time
      £4,050 Mileage Mileage to delivery base @45p p/m
      £900 Activity costs Resources such as paint, ingredients etc @ £3 per session

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Boshier Hinton Foundation £5,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Groups will take place throughout the North East to ensure families can access support locally. We aim to provide groups in six locations in the region.

    The North East is one of the most deprived areas in the UK, which is why we strongly believe our sessions should be provided free of charge to families, to ensure we remove any possible barriers to receiving the help they need.


    Both children and families affected by autism will benefit from this programme. Over 700,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with autism. If we take in to account their families, that becomes 2.8 million people who have autism as part of their daily lives. With autism diagnosis rates steadily rising, our work is more important than ever before.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    NEAS has 37 years experience of providing personalised services for people with autism and their families and know the best ways to support individuals. Each year we support over 400 people with autism, and also provide advice and information to their families.
    We have run Early Years sessions since 2014 with great success, and have expanded to provide two additional locations - one in 2015 and one in 2016. We have seen real transformations in the children and families attending.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Kerrie Highcock

    Kerrie is the Family Development Manager, and has worked in the field of autism for over 13 years, and also holds a degree and Masters in the field.