AUTISTICA is a research institution, rather than an ASD support line but they produce some very useful material, such as this leaflet around ASD and mental health (click to download) website
Three of our staff have specialist ASD knowledge and have worked in ASD settings. We are not a specialist ASD setting exclusively for children with an ASD diagnosis, however we have had great success with students who have ASD and some have chosen to stay with us for lmuch longer periods due to the very small learning groups and security.
We have also had great success transitioning students to specialist ASD settings and even into mainstream colleges. We also increasingly work with young people who recieved their diagnosis very late and are feeling scarred by not knowing why they were having difficulties for so long. Currently 50% of our students have a diagnosis of high functioning ASD.
We are able to provide a very nurturing environment with a lot of emotional understanding support and services such as speech and language, OT and clinical psychology. We are able to provide a workstation and support in breaking down tasks into mangeable sections. We have a full range of weighted therapy equipment and there is a dark tent within our indoor nurture garden. We have a small exercise and OT area which includes equipment for hanging and stretching.
We use the outdoors a lot with these students, as their anxiety reduces, as we feel that work in nature can be very healing. The work in the community gives a 'real life' and 'purpose' which is very important to those with ASD - they need to see the 'point' in what they are being asked to do! We recently contributed to Autism Eye magazine on this very subject!
We are not able to provide the structure and stability that mid-range ASD students require. We are able to work with high functioning students who have ASD and also have high intellectual capacities. These students often experience a higher level of anxiety than is standard within ASD because they can see that they have difficulties especially with social communication and this frustrates them as they are also aware that they are very able academically so should in their view be able to 'solve' the issue. This paradox can lead to depression and low self-esteem.
We do not support such students by just removing the sources of anxiety, rather we work very openly with them on understanding why other people behave the way they do and by supporting them with ways to cope with change. We do this gradually - for example we may start by using strategies such as a visual timetable which they are used to, but we quickly move towards rationalising therapies to support the student in being able to sit at any table and to cope with a more flexible timetable. This approach is very important as many of these students have the academic ability to attend college and do very well - their social and anxiety needs are presenting the barrier to this.
We have successfully transitioned ASD students meeting this profile on to local mainstream college placements including Guildford and Woking colleges.
We contribute to, and highly recommend 'Autism Eye' magazine which is a very useful resource for families with young people and even adults with an ASD diagnosis.
Through the Bravura group, Big Bear Bepoke Education Ltd also offers support for families with young people who have ASD and also adults. If the young person is not ready for school, or is younger than year 7, you may wish to contact Big Bear for privately funded support or request that the LEA brokers support from them. This can include tuition and support packages delivered in the home or community, attending their Saturday School offer or for older young people a supported college placement via R-OUT-ES.
SOURCES OF HELP
These services are not associated with us. We are not responsible for the quality of service they provide, we are recommending them based on the positive experiences of some young people known to us. By inclusion in this list nor are we suggesting that we are in any way affiliated with these servcies.
ANXIETY UK - Support, online counselling, magazine, advice
Text line: 07537416905
Info line: 03444775774
A magazine packed full of useful articles around not just ASD, but the mental health aspects associated with it - fascinating reading and lots of signalling to specialist support.
Website provides support for young people, professionals and parents. Young people who feel they are having a mental health crisis can get instant emergency support by texting YM to 85258
OCD UK - advice, online counselling, support and magazine. Dedicated youth services.
PAPYRUS - suicide prevention young people's hotline 0800 068 41 41
An eating disorder support service - smaller than some of the bigger associations, but specifically aimed at young people.