Support for families
An autism diagnosis has a huge impact, not only on a child but on the whole family. Both emotionally and practically there is a lot to come to terms with.
For many parents, connecting with others in a similar situation can be a source of comfort, support and information.
Our Talk about Autism forum is a safe and friendly place to talk to other people who understand what you're going through. Members can post questions, provide information and share experiences with those who have first-hand experience or a deep connection with autism.
The National Autistic Society has several specialist helplines which might be able to offer you support, covering education rights, transition support, educational tribunal support, school exclusions, autism inpatient mental health services and a parent-to-parent emotional support helpline.
The National Autistic Society also has a directory of autism services where you can search for local and national support.
You and your child
It's natural to feel a range of emotions following an autism diagnosis, and it's healthy to talk about these feelings, rather than bury them. Always remember that your child is still the unique person they have always been and they need you to be their champion. Now that you understand your child's needs, you'll be able to take advantage of support and services that will help them to reach their potential.
Read more advice for family members following an autism diagnosis in our parent toolkit.
Local authorities have a duty to support children in need, but the level of this support varies according to your local area.
Even if they don't have a formal diagnosis of autism, your child may still be entitled to support from your local social services. You should contact your local social services to request an assessment.
As a parent or carer, you may also be able to claim Carer's Allowance.
Your child may also be entitled to an Education, Health and Care plan and so you should request an assessment as soon as possible. They don't have to have a formal diagnosis of autism for you to request this.
Telling friends and family can be difficult. Reactions can vary widely - but some will be very supportive and keen to know what they can do to help.
It can be helpful to share your journey, from initial concerns to referral to assessment and diagnosis.
We have produced a series of tips in our parent toolkit for how to talk to family members - including siblings - about an autism diagnosis.
Discover more information related to this topic area.