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Autism - where to start

Support and advice available about Autism in Leicestershire.

There are no medical tests that lead to a diagnosis of autism.

If you think your child might be on the autistic spectrum, speak to:

  • your health visitor – if your child doesn’t go to school yet
  • your doctor (GP)
  • the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) at your child’s school or your child’s teacher

For more information on how to get a diagnosis, see the National Autism Society website. There is also a local Autism Care Pathway.

Help for your child

If your child - aged 0 to 19 years - has been diagnosed with autism, our Autism Learning Support Team (ALST) can give advice, support and training to children, families, schools and early years’ settings. 

Our Autism Learning Support Team (ALST) is the East Midlands hub for the Autism Education Trust.

Early Years (aged 0 – 5 years)

You will get help at home, at nursery and Foundation Stage at school to:

  • improve your child’s communication and social skills
  • help you make sense and come to terms with your child’s difficulties
  • cope with any challenging behaviours
  • get information about voluntary organisations that may offer help
  • get support and training, so you can develop your own skills in looking after your child
  • support the move to school

We may also arrange for your family to go to a support group to meet other families who have a child with autism.


We’ll advise you and your child’s nursery or school about what your child needs to make sure they reach their full potential.

Your child may get extra help to make sure they progress as well as they should.

In school

Our Autism Learning Support Team (ALST) can help by supporting your child with:

  • access to learning
  • social opportunities

We’ll also advise and train staff at the school to help them develop your child’s learning and social opportunities.  

Information technology (ICT)

If your child needs extra ICT equipment to help them with learning, the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) at their school will refer them for an assessment.

Every school and nursery has a SENCO. They’re responsible for identifying children with special educational needs and disabilities and making sure they get all the help they need.

Intensive Support

Our Autism Learning Support Team (ALST) provides support to school-aged students with autism who have:

  • lost their school place
  • are refusing to attend school
  • at risk of permanent exclusion

If your child’s behaviour at school is causing concern they will be referred to this service through the Autism Learning Support Team (ALST) Schools Team.

Training for Families

Our Autism Outreach Service provides autism information for parents, which includes organised training for parents, carers and families who have a child or young person with autism. This can include:

  • a parents workshop meeting for 8 sessions each school term
  • Leicestershire Early Years Autism Parent Sessions (LEAPS) for parents of children with autism aged 0 - 5 years
  • an occasional conference or workshop

Contact Specialist Teaching Services for more details and dates.

The Autism Education Trust also has a parent's guide.

Support groups and activities

Search the Information and Support Directory for local support groups and activities for your child and your family.

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