Autism Diagnostic Service

You may be looking at this page because you are wondering if, or have been told, your child is autistic. This page aims to provide families and children with information that may be helpful, regardless of where you are on this journey.

The Autism Diagnostic Service Team

We are a team of Paediatricians, Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists and Nursing staff. We coordinate the assessment of children and young people who present with signs of autism. After assessment we may provide resources and advice to empower those around the child/young person to best support and understand them.

You may be looking at this page because you are wondering if your child has autism, your child may have been referred for an autism assessment or they may have been recently diagnosed with autism.  This page aims to provide families and children with information that may be helpful, regardless of where you are on this journey.

What is autism?

Being autistic means a person sees the world, processes information and interacts with others in a specific way. Autistic people are all different which is why autism is often referred to as a spectrum. Autistic people may have differences in:

  • Their understanding and interpretation of social behaviour
  • Their understanding and use of verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Their ability to be flexible in their thinking and behaviour.

 

The following videos from the National Autistic Society explain autism.

    

 

Scottish Autism have also developed an animated online resource called Understanding Autism

 

 

Autism - Different Minds. One Scotland

What to do if you think your child may be autistic

Discuss your thoughts with your Health Visitor, GP or Nursery/School staff. Children/young people can be referred to the team by a Healthcare or Education professional with consent.

 

What to do while waiting for an autism assessment

This “Purple Ella” video gives advice, from her experience, on what you can be doing while waiting for an autism assessment. Be aware that it talks about the English education system which is different to the Scottish system.

In Scotland, children and young people do not need a formal diagnosis of a particular condition to be entitled to additional support for learning. The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004, usually referred to as ‘the ASL Act’, gives children and young people who need extra help at school or nursery the right to get the support they need. The ASL Act does not say how much or what type of support each child should get; support must be based on their individual needs. If you think your child may need extra help or if you have any queries about your child’s progress, the first thing to do is to ask to talk to the head of your child’s school or nursery.

Further information about education in Scotland can be found below.

      

 

What to expect during an autism assessment

This short film from Berkshire Healthcare shows you an example of what an autism assessment might be like. There will be some differences in how the assessment will take place in Greater Glasgow & Clyde. For example, in this video the assessment and discussion all take place within the same day. This may happen or the assessment may be completed in separate appointments.

Autism Friendly Strategies and Resources

The strategies and resources below may be useful at any point in the journey.

The Scottish Autism Advice Line is open Tuesday to Friday (10am to 4pm). It provides support for individuals, families and professionals. Advisors are available to take calls 01259 222022 or live chat.

The National Autistic Society offers advice on a wide range of issues affecting autistic people and their families.

They also have specific services and information for those who live in Scotland.

 

Falkirk Council Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Booklets

Falkirk Council have published booklets providing lots of useful information and strategies to support autistic people and their families.

“My Autism and Me” BBC Newsround Special

13-year-old Rosie takes viewers into her world to explain what it's like to grow up with autism.

Too Much Information and Us | Processing Information

Rosie, Luis, Rose, and Chris discuss their experiences of needing extra time to process information and what you can do to help. 

Autism Education Trust

Autism Education Trust - Kids Zone has information and videos for children on topics such as:

  • What is autism?
  • Bullying
  • My brother or sister has autism
  • My friend has autism - what does this mean?
  • Trusted adults
  • Special abilities
  • Speaking out

Autism West Midlands – downloadable and printable advice sheets

"Autism West Midlands are the leading charity in the West Midlands for autistic people. They use their passion and expertise to enrich the lives of people on the autism spectrum and those who love and care for them.

Free downloadable information sheets are available from their website. Click here to access the information resources.

Joining in with Sensory Differences

Autistic people often process everyday sensory information and experiences differently. The Joining in with Sensory Differences page contains resources to help you understand sensory processing. You can choose the resources that are right for you.  There are:

  • Videos you can watch
  • Video scripts you can download and read (you can translate these or use a screen reader if you need to)
  • Sensory questionnaires you can complete
  • Downloadable booklets and information

All this information can help you to support your child/young person to take part in every day life.

 

Communication and Social Interaction

Being autistic means a person sees the world and processes information in a specific way, including the way they communicate and interact. 

These tips might help you to adapt your communication for an autistic person.

This guide offers ideas on helping a young person with understanding emotions, conversation, play, and dealing with conflict. There are also suggestions of how you can help to make social situations less stressful.

 

Visual Supports

Spoken words alone can be difficult to understand and remember. Making information visual by using objects, photos, pictures, symbols and/or written words makes communication physical and consistent.

Visual supports can therefore help to:

  • provide predictability and routine
  • encourage independence
  • build confidence
  • improve understanding
  • avoid frustration and anxiety
  • provide opportunities to interact with others

Examples include visual timetables, now & next sequences, visual schedules/ ‘jobstrips’, choosing boards. Click here to find out about the different types and uses of visual supports and where to find resources.

Social Stories

‘Social Stories’ (Carol Gray, 1991) help autistic people to better understand social situations. They describe a social situation and provide prompts to support interactions and responses. They are written using the person's name and their personal situation. There are clear steps to writing a social story. They can be written and used by anyone. Language needs to be simple and clear for the individual. Click here to find out more and see examples.

Girls, Women and Autism

On average four times more boys are diagnosed with autism than girls. Autistic girls and women can have different strengths and challenges from boys. Some girls can "mask" their difficulties so these are harder for others to recognise and understand. Girls are often diagnosed later. They may present with difficulties such as anxiety first.

SWAN Scotland (Scottish Women's Autism Network) is an organisation for autistic women and girls.

The following videos may be helpful:

Women and Autism - by Josh Ward

This is about a 20-year-old who was diagnosed at the age of 13. She wants autistic women and girls to understand that they can achieve great things.

Scottish Autism

An introductory video made by Scottish Autism discussing what research tells us about girls and women with autism.

Teenagers

Online Social Groups

National Autistic Society Scotland run online social groups to help autistic people to connect. These groups are for under 26s. Click here for information about the online groups.

 

Teen Programme

Scottish Autism's Teen programme is for parents with teenagers. The teenage years can be a particularly challenging time. Topics discussed include:

  • Developing skills for independent living
  • Supporting siblings
  • Talking about relationships

 

Supporting Transition from School to High Education and Work

The Scottish Autism website has advice on Supporting Transition from School to University. This advice provides an overview of things to consider as part of the planning process.

Autism West Midlands has further education strategies.

National Autistic Society have advice and guidance about starting college or university.

Autism Education Trust has a transition to employment toolkit.

 

Autism Alert Card

This Autism Alert Card can help autistic people let others know that they might need support in unfamiliar or emergency situations. It can be personalised and you can add information that may help someone support you while you are out.

Click here for to see the different options for creating an Autism Alert Card.

Other organisations and retailers offer different versions of alert cards.

 

 

Falkirk Council Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Booklets

Falkirk Council Children with Disabilities Team have published booklets providing lots of useful information. Teenagers with Asperger's Syndrome and Life Skills for Teenagers can be helpful during adolescence

 

 

Autism West Midlands – downloadable and printable advice sheets

Autism West Midlands have free downloadable information sheets on topics such as managing stress and anxiety, dating and relationships, internet safety, entering the workplace and friendships. Click here to access the information resources.

 

The National Autistic Society 

A book recommended by the National Autistic Society - Autism: supporting your teenager.

 

 

 

 

Autism Education Trust

Autism Education Trust - The Den has information and videos for teenagers on topics such as:

  • Home law and money
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Friends and relationships
  • Work and study
  • Travel and free time

 

The Mix

The Mix is a UK based charity that provides free, confidential support for young people under 25.

 

Partners In Advocacy

Partners in Advocacy support people to have their voices heard and respected. They enable people to be part of the important decisions that affect their lives. This service is free and confidential – anyone can make a referral. Partners in Advocacy is separate from other agencies, such as Social Work and the NHS.

 

HandsOn

HandsOn provides help and practical advice for supporting children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Local and National Post Diagnostic Supports

National Autistic Society

The National Autistic Society provides resources for families and young people including:

Scottish Autism

The Scottish Autism website is full of useful resources for parents and carers as well as young people on the autism spectrum.

  • What is autism? is an interactive postcard that explains the condition and provides information on the effects on people of different ages including a 5 year old boy and a 13 year old girl.
  • Right Click is an online training programme that parents can sign up to and complete in the comfort of their own homes.  There are various training modules and it runs over a 6 week period.  Parents can also access online support during the training programme.
  • Autism Advice Line is open Tuesday to Friday (10am to 4pm) and provides emotional and practical support for individuals, families and professionals.

Carers Centre 

Carers Centres can be funded by Health, Social Work and in some cases charities. They provide information and advice on lots of topics including:

  • accessing services and support networks
  • emotional support
  • money matters
  • training for carers
  • information about respite

You can contact your local Carers Centre at any time. After diagnosis, Carers Centres are vital in supporting families to move forward on their journey living with autism.

Click the logo to access contact details for your local carers centre:

 

 

           

  See section Where Can I Find Local Supports?

Autism Resource Centre (ARC)

The Autism Resource Centre (ARC) offers a range of services for people with autism, their families, carers and professionals within Glasgow. This includes information and advice, training, one-to-one guidance, and services for adults with autism.

SIGN Guidelines Booklets

Autism - A booklet for parents, carers and families of children and young people with autism

This booklet is for parents, carers and families of children and young people up to the age of 18 who have already been diagnosed with autism or may be going through diagnosis.

 

 

Autism - A booklet for young people

This booklet is for young people of high-school age who may have autism or have already been diagnosed with autism.

 

 

These booklets are available in other formats including British Sign Language video and large print. The booklet for Parents / Carers is also available in Chinese, Polish, Arabic, Urdu translation. Click here to access other formats.

 

Enquire

Enquire is the Scottish advice service for additional support for learning. They are an independent advice service offering support to parents, carers and professions on additional support for learning in Scotland.

Dietary Advice

Eating for Children with Autism - Dietary Advice for Families developed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Paediatric and CAMHS Dietetic Services

This leaflet is for parents and carers of children with Autism to help them encourage their child to eat a range of foods that will keep them healthy.

Money Advice

Healthier Wealthier Children

Healthier, Wealthier Children (HWC) aims to contribute to reducing child poverty by helping families with money worries. The project is working closely with antenatal and community child health services to target pregnant women and families with young children experiencing, or at risk of, child poverty, as costs increase and employment patterns change around the birth of a child.

Click here for your local area contacts.

 

Turn2Us

Turn2us is a national charity helping people when times get tough. We provide financial support to help people get back on track.

Use the free and easy-to-use Benefits Calculator and Grants Search tools to check what benefits you might be able to claim and what grants you might be able to apply for.

 

For further advice visit your local Carers Centre (information above) or your local Citizens Advice.

Recommended Reading

Recommended books about feelings for children.

Telling a person about their autism - Advice from Autism West Midlands which includes a reading list.

Books and resources - The National Autistic Society

COVID-19 Resources

 

CAMHS Grampian

Managing your mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak is tricky. The Early Intervention Team have created resources for children, teens and parents. Click here to access the packs.

 

 

National Autistic Society

We are here for you. Here’s the latest guidance on coronavirus and useful information.

 

 

Last reviewed September 2021.