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Updated : August 1, 2022 3 mins read

Autism | Support for families and carers

Updated : August 1, 2022 3 mins read

Article Autism

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability, this means it affects how your brain works. Autism is not an illness, it is a condition that people are born with and have throughout their life.

As a parent you may feel to blame for your child’s autism, but there is nothing that you could have done to change the outcome of your child being born with autism.

Find out more about what autism is

Signs your child might have autism

Depending where your child is on the autism spectrum you may pick up on clear signs that your child might have autism. Other signs can be subtle and go unnoticed until your child is much older and their ability to cope with school, friends and general day to day life is impacted.

How to talk to your child about autism

If you suspect that your child has autism, it can be difficult to explain to them the reasons why you would like them to see a doctor, this can be especially trickier for older children.

How to talk to your child about autism

When talking about autism:

  • Speak to them when they are feeling calm and relaxed
  • Explain the things that you have noticed they find difficult (changes to routine, school pressure, certain environments or social situations etc) and ask how they feel about them
  • Reassure them that seeing a doctor about autism is not bad, autism is not an illness or disease. Seeing a doctor helps you and your family understand how to support them better
  • Ask if there is anything that you can do to help them right now that can help
  • Think about having some guides or websites that you can look at together to help them get an idea of what to expect
  • Offer to contact a local or online autism organisation so they can meet other people on the spectrum
  • If your child is experiencing anxiety or depression related to their autism, offer them an autism helpline where they can talk to trained individuals or other people with autism for support.

Getting help for your child

The first step to get help for your child is to speak to your GP or support them to see their GP and ask to be referred for an autism test. It can be a long wait before you get your initial appointment, there are options to go private but this will cost money.

It can be helpful to reach out to support groups and organisations to get information on how you can support your child and help them until they are seen by a doctor.

Helpful Resources

Autism Toolbox

Free online resources aimed at the inclusion of younger children of primary and secondary school age with autism

Is it Autism, and if so what next?

Downloadable guide for young people and adults who think they might have autism or are newly diagnosed

Parentzone Scotland

Support for parents with children on the autism spectrum

Get Help now

If you are concerned about your mental health, or if you have found yourself feeling concerned about someone else, you can:

Call 111 – NHS 24

Call 116 123 – The Samaritans

Call 0800 83 85 87 – Breathing Space

Text: ‘YM’ to 85258 – Young Minds crisis chat

If you think you are in danger of hurting yourself or other people, you should call 999 or present to your local A&E department.