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Help if your child has been diagnosed with Autism

Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the name for a range of similar conditions, including Asperger syndrome, that affect a person's social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.

In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis can sometimes be made after the age of three.

There are a number of organisations and teams in Plymouth that can provide information and support at different stages of your child’s development.

Child Development Centre (CDC)

The Child Development Centre (CDC) can carry out a Speech and Language assessment of children and young people who may have autism.

For children who have not yet reached school age this is carried out through attendance at the specialist nursery, and for young people who have started school this will involve meeting with the assessment team which includes an assessment with an Education Psychologist.  

The assessments are coordinated by a Specialist Nurse, which each young person’s care being overseen by a Paediatrician and any referrals to other services may be made if appropriate. The Specialist Nurse may provide additional support for a young person and their family at any stage through this process, offering guidance and strategies to respond to difficulties around behaviour, social skills, sleeping, continence and communication. Children and young people are usually seen within a clinic setting, although may also be seen at school with other professionals or as part of a planned meeting.

Clinical Psychology Service

The Clinical Psychology Service can provide short periods of intervention for young people who do receive an ASD diagnosis, usually addressing a specific difficulty such as anxiety.

Such difficulties might include:

  • Low mood or worry
  • The effects of a bad life event
  • Treatment or investigation in hospital
  • Adapting to chronic illness, pain or side effects of treatment
  • Supporting a decision about treatment

If additional mental health needs are identified in the assessment, then the most appropriate service is also offered. This is usually offered through the CAMHS Service and can range from individual therapy, sensory intervention to family therapy depending on the assessed need. A drop in service once a month is also available to families. 

Communication Interaction Team

The Communication Interaction Team support children and young people language and communication needs, their parents and teachers.

Related pages and services

Further information and external links

National Autistic Society (NAS) 

Search the Plymouth Online Directory for Autism related organisations that could help you


This page is part of Plymouth's Local Offer.

Image of a boy with Autism

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