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Project information

Early intervention for children with autism

We want to help children with autism and other communication difficulties to develop vital communication, social and emotional skills in their early years, which can transform their futures. We want to strengthen the foundations upon which the children will be able to realise their full potential.


Charity information: Puzzle Centre

Puzzle Centre logo
  • Need


    Autism affects 1 in 100 people and all children with autism experience difficulties with verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction and managing their emotions. Many also have sensory difficulties and everyday experiences can be extremely stressful. Some children with autism experience mental health problems, isolation, unemployment and financial hardship later in life. There is a severe lack of specialist support for young children with autism, especially those of pre-school age.


    There is increasing evidence that early intervention makes a vital difference to the long-term outcomes for children with autism. Our project will help young children with autism to communicate (verbally and non-verbally), interact with others, manage their emotions and engage in the world around them. At our specialist nursery for children aged 2-5 years and through our outreach activities (for children up to 11 years of age), we will give the children the best chance to reach their potential.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To help young children with autism to develop vital communication, social and emotional skills.


    » Provide early intervention at our specialist nursery including specialist teaching, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.
    » Provide outreach support for children aged up to 11 years, at home or at school, through the Puzzle Asssesment and Support Service (PASS).

    What success will look like

    We use a range of tools to measure and evaluate the children progress at regular intervals, combining the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and specialist approaches.

  • Impact


    The difference our project will make will be unique to each child, but they will all have greater ability to communicate and engage with the world around them. Many children move on from Puzzle Centre's specialist nursery to attend mainstream school, with reduced need for ongoing support because of the skills and behaviours they have learnt at Puzzle Centre. We receive feedback from parents on the difference we have made to their child's life and, often, to the wellbeing of their whole family.


    Risks include safeguarding issues, insufficient funding, and reputational damage. All of our staff and volunteers are DBS checked and receive safeguarding training. We ensure the highest standards, illustrated by our Ofsted rating of Outstanding. We have a Board of Trustees who ensure good governance of the charity and a range of policies to ensure best practice. We have a fundraising team which focuses on increasing and diversifying our income to reduce financial risk.


    We will provide progress reports that include statistical data on the number of beneficiaries reached and outcomes achieved, as well as anecdotal evidence of the impact of our work. We would welcome donors to visit us to see how their support is helping.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £45,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £45,000 Specialist Learning Assistants 10 part-time Learning Assistants who work 1:1 with children with autism at Puzzle Centre.
  • Background


    Puzzle Centre's specialist nursery is based in Buckinghamshire. We work with children and families from Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties including Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. Through our outreach work, we work with children and families further afield. Our training courses are delivered to professionals across the UK.


    50 children with autism and other communication difficulties. The children will gain greater ability and confidence to communicate their needs and interests, interact with others, manage their emotions and engage in play and learning activities.

    100 parents. Parents will gain new knowledge and skills in understanding and meeting their child’s needs. They will feel less isolated, more empowered and more confident to give their child the best start in life.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Puzzle Centre is a pioneer in early years autism. We have a wealth of expertise and 16 years' experience in developing and delivering best practice early intervention. We are known for our high standards, illustrated by our Ofsted rating of outstanding. We work with children, parents and professionals simultaneously to achieve long-term, positive outcomes. No other UK organisation is currently providing (or better placed to provide) this holistic support.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Alexandra Stanyer

    Alex is Puzzle Centre's Founder and Principal. She is a teacher with significant experience and expertise in working with children with autism.

    Kathyrn Bowers

    Kathryn is our Head of Centre. She oversees the running of our specialist nursery and is, herself, a specialist teacher.

    Our Teachers And Therapists

    Puzzle Centre has an expert, multidisciplinary team of teachers and therapists who provide the specialist education and support our children need.

    Our 10 Specialist Learning Assistants

    Our part-time learning assistants work 1:1 with the children in our nursery, providing a range of educational, practical and emotional support.