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Autism (Local Offer)

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Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.  Children with autism hear and feel the world differently to other people.  If you have autism you will have this for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'.  

Autism is a spectrum condition. All people with autism share certain difficulties, but having autism will affect them in different ways. Some people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning they need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a fulfilling life.

Information on COVID-19 support can be found on the Local Offer COVID-19 - Information page and the SEN and Inclusion Services COVID-19 Support page. 

Local support groups can be found by using the search term 'COVID-19' in the search box at the top of the page.

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What do I do if I think my child has autism?

Babies standing

Early Help Pathway

If you feel you might benefit from some support you can approach a health professional, school or nursery to ask about the Early Help Pathway.  

You can find out more about Early Help on the Early Help pages.

Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism: what to expect

NICE have created some very simple resources for young people and their families on assessment for autism:

Assessment and diagnosis of autism: what to expect

Peterborough Child Development Unit

Children sitting on the floor

The Peterborough Child Development Unit 

The Peterborough Child Development Unit assesses and manages children (0-5 years) who live in Peterborough city or north Cambridgeshire who have significant problems with development.

This includes, children with communication difficulties including autism (but excludes pure visual or hearing impairment).

Referrals are accepted from GPs, social care and other professionals and organisations working with young children and families (eg Portage, Early Years Service) for children registered with a GP in Peterborough, Yaxley and Whittlesey.  We also accept children who live in the Peterborough City Council area but who are registered with a GP in Stamford and Market Deeping. 

Peterborough Neurodevelopmental Service (NDS)

Boy and girl

The Peterborough Integrated Neurodevelopmental Service (NDS) can provide assessments of autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The service works with young people up to the age of 18, their families and professionals. 

After diagnosis training is provided to parents and carers on the diagnosis given to their child. They can also provide specific interventions including medication if appropriate. 

Treatment is provied to these children where there is also a mental health condition.  

The service is provided by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).

Re Autism assessments (23/09/2020)

As a result of the service having to temporary pause assessments between March and August our waiting lists have grown and waiting times are longer.  Since resuming face to face assessments, there have been increased infection control protocols required within health care settings, and so we are unable to undertake as many assessments as previously.  There are requirements for rooms to be aired between patients and for all equipment to be disinfected between use.  This does mean that clinic appointments are having to be spread out.  

Also due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation and the requirements for social distancing and wearing PPE we will be unable to undertake all aspects of assessment as we have previously, and we will need to do some parts of our assessments remotely and use different assessments.  As such, it may be more difficult to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of Autism in some cases. 

Whilst we will make every effort to conclude a child’s assessment by confirming or ruling out the diagnosis of Autism, this may not be possible in all cases and the outcome may be inconclusive meaning we cannot confirm a diagnosis at this time.  If this is the case, we will keep the child in our service and review them again at a later stage.

We would like to thank you for your understanding in this matter and would ask that families and schools are discouraged from ringing into the service asking when appointments will be.  Responding to each phone call or email is time consuming and impacts on clinical time.  We are however happy to respond to calls if there are concerns relating to a deterioration in mental health requiring urgent input.

Autism Strategic Group

Professionals sitting round a table

We have set up an autism strategic group which includes people with autism.  The group has members from health, education, social care and voluntary sector providers.  

If you would like to help Peterborough City Council support individuals with autism and have a say about services that are provided, then you can join our group. 

All the meetings are held in accessible venues in Peterborough and take place every three months. Come along and make your voice heard.

If you are interested in joining the Autism Strategic Group, please contact:

Alternatively, if you would like any further information you can call the Direct Payment Support Service and ask to speak to Chris De Wilde on 01733 342683 or

Autism Specialist Teacher Service (ASTS)

Girl writing

The Autism Specialist Teacher Service (ASTS) is a school based service and works with children and young people aged 4 years to 19 years who have a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Diagnosis (ASD).  

A parent/carer consultation service operates on the second Monday of the month. Appointments need to be pre- booked by telephoning 01733 863689. 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Specialist Teacher Service

School children

The Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Specialist Teacher Service is a school based service that works with children and young people aged 4 years to 19 years who have received a diagnosis of an ADHD.  

The ADHD Specialist Teacher Service is a peripatetic service and works term time only, on the second Tuesday of the month

Transitions to Secondary Schools in Peterborough for Children with ADHD

Two children racing

Although challenging to most children, the core symptoms of ADHD (inattention, distractibility and impulsivity) can make moving up from primary school to secondary school a particularly demanding time.

Tasks that typically prove difficult to children with ADHD when they start secondary school may include:

  • Understanding a new timetable and learning the way round a new school
  • Noting down the homework accurately and completing the homework
  • Making new friends
  • General increased reliance on personal organisational skills.

The document on this page entitled 'Transitions to secondary schools' gives you hints, tip and guidance that will help you during the transition.

Specialist SEND designated hub schools - autism

Autism Alert Card

Feeling self-conscious, worried or concerned when outside the security of your own home? Need something to help you overcome this?

For £5, Autism Anglia offers a credit card-sized Autism Alert Card as a way of boosting confidence and giving peace of mind if encountering emergency situations.

The project was developed in East Anglia in 2007 with the full support of Essex Police and the Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies.  It has since been adopted by the Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Constabularies and the Bedfordshire Police to make it available in West Anglia also.

We use the card when we go out on trips. It has improved our confidence as parents to go out and about more frequently

The card is designed so that an individual’s behaviour or the nature of their condition can be quickly explained when they find themselves in a difficult or emergency situation.  It also means that behind the scenes lots of work is being done to train the Emergency Services so that they understand what they can do to ease interactions they have with someone who has autism, as sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way.