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Autism resource directory

National support

The National Autistic Society is a British charity for autistic people. The purpose of the organisation is to improve the lives of autistic people in the United Kingdom. They also sell a wide range of books and resources on their online shop.
Helpline: 0808 800 4101
Switchboard: 020 7833 2299
Parent to Parent Service: 0808 8004106 (confidential telephone support)

Cerebra is a charity for children with a wide range of neurological problems. They provide information, advice and resources, including sensory toys for loan.
Telephone: 0800 328 1159

Thinking about the diagnosis

Time Education Supplement (TES) workbooks are downloadable once you have set up a free account.

National Autistic Society: What is autism

National Autistic Society: Diagnosis resources

Autism support (sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk)  These videos have been created by the Child Development and Neurodisability Service here at Sheffield Children’s to provide parents and young people with information about what autism is, and guidance on specific areas including communication, toileting, eating, sleep and behaviour.

Local support and information

Sheffield Education Autism Team provides a local authority specialist support service, for children and young people experiencing challenges relating t Social Communication Difficulty or Autism. If you would like to speak to a specialist teacher from the autism team for any advice, please contact the team between Monday to Thursday during term times between 1pm and 4pm.
Telephone: 0114 250 6800

Multi-Agency Support Teams (MAST) work locally with children, young people and families to provide a range of services which help improve well-being, school attendance, learning behaviour and health care. They aim to promote the early identification of children with additional needs.

North address:
Floor 2, Sorby House,
42 Spital Hill,
S4 7LG

Telephone: 0114 233 1189

East address:
1st Floor, Shortbrook Primary Site,
Westfield Northway, Westfield,
S20 8FB,

Telephone: 0114 250 6865

West address:
Old Sharrow,
Junior School,
South View Road,
S7 1DB,

Telephone: 0114 250 6865

Sheffield SEN and Disability Information Advice Snd support (SSENDIAS) provides impartial, confidential information, advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities. It covers a range of topics including SEN, disability specific information, education, SEN statutory processes, available services, disability related benefits, grants and funding.
Telephone: 0114 273 6009
Email: ed-parent.partnership@sheffield.gov.uk

Asperger’s Children and Carers Together (ACCT) is a parent-led support group for children and families affected by Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autism. ACCT run activity groups for children and teenagers with Asperger’s and autism, as well as family days out and other trips. Siblings are also welcome too. They also host weekly drop-in sessions and monthly meetings for parents and carers.
Telephone: 0114 223 0242

Sheffield Asperger’s Parent Action Group (SAPAG) is a voluntary group based in Sheffield which provides information and support to families of adults with Asperger’s syndrome or other high functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We also work with other groups to improve services for ASD adults in Sheffield.
Email: sheffieldsapag@gmail.com

Sheffield Autistic Society (SAS) is a local parent led support group for parents and carers of children, young people and adults with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC). We also welcome all adults who have an ASC.

The Sheffield Parent Carer Forum is a parent-led charity. We bring together parents and carers of children and young people (up to 25 years of age) with disabilities or special educational needs from across Sheffield. Our aim is to support each other, share information and influence policy and practice.
Telephone: 0300 321 4721

Sheffield Parenting Hub offers parents and carers can access a range of groups that offer practical advice and support with parenting. We deliver programmes that are evidence based, and tried and tested. This means that the content is written by professional psychologists who have years of research into what works to manage behaviours and difficulties that we can all face as parents.
Telephone: 0114 2057243
Email: sheffieldparenting@sheffield.gov.uk

Sparkle Sheffield is a registered charity which looks to benefit children and young people from birth to 25 who suffer a disadvantage through disability in particular autism, which is a commonly misunderstood disability. This is done by providing parental support, education about this complex condition and coping strategies to deal with the challenging behaviour that autism often presents. Helping parents and carers to understand and help their children have a better quality of life and increase the child’s opportunities by targeting their main care givers understanding of the complex condition.
Telephone: 0114 386 3313
Email: info@sparklesheffield.co.uk

Autism Union is to help people to access information and services and help to be involved in decisions about the lives and the services they need such as no decision about a child or family without child family full involvement. Defend and promote their human rights and responsibilities and speak out about issues that matter to them. Gather information about social policy issues in partnership approaches and campaigning the effect positive change.
Telephone: 0114 275 7127

Activities for children with ASD in Sheffield

Asperger’s Children and Carers Together (ACCT) teenage youth club on alternate Wednesdays 7 to 9pm for teenagers with Asperger’s syndrome.
Telephone: 0114 223 0242

Sheffield Hallam University Volunteering team offer play schemes, befriending schemes and social activities for children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years old with ASD run by students at Sheffield Hallam University.
Telephone: 0114 276 7757
Email: outabout@hotmail.com

Special Needs Inclusion Playcare Service (SNIPS) works to support children with disabilities to access clubs and activities of their choice. We work with a variety of different clubs in Sheffield, from football clubs and rock climbing clubs to drama, art and multi-activity clubs and help to break down barriers to inclusion by offering mentoring support.
Telephone: 0114 273 4017
Email: SNIPSBusinessSupport@sheffield.gov.uk

Sibling support

Something Interesting for Brothers and Sisters (SIBS) host monthly activities run by Sheffield Volunteering and student volunteers from the University of Sheffield on Saturdays to give siblings a break and the chance to meet others in similar situations.
Telephone: 0114 222 853
Email: SIBS@sheffield.ac.uk

Sheffield Young Carers (SYC) Support for children and young people who care for a sibling with a disability – even though they might not see themselves as ‘carers’.
Telephone: 0114 258 4595

Mental health and autism adult services

Epic Friends is a website developed by Sheffield CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) to help young people to support their friends who may be having difficulty coping with their emotions or mental health.

The Sheffield Mental Health Guide is an information website aimed at anyone who is struggling in Sheffield, whether they have been diagnosed by a clinician or are just having a bad day. Available 24/7, it is a comprehensive guide to mental health services, support and activities in our city.

Young Minds improving children’s wellbeing and mental health. Discover information, advice and support for young people affected by mental health.
Telephone: 0207 089 5050

Sheffield Adult Autism and Neurodevelopmental Service (SAANS) provides assessment, diagnosis and multi-disciplinary interventions for people with an Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) (including disorders formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome) and associated neurodevelopmental disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Telephone: 0114 271 6964

Local offer

The Local Offer is a way of giving children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) and their parents or carer’s information about what activities and support are available in the area where they live.

Understanding and managing behaviour

National Autistic Society: Behaviour

National Autistic Society: Understanding Behaviour book

National Autistic Society: It can get better book

National Autistic Society: Supporting your teenager book

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation wants to see children and adults with severe learning disabilities have the same life opportunities as everyone else.

Raising Children offers a fantastic online resource for interactive tools covering topics such as behaviour, teenagers and a variety of other topics to help you with raising a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


Cerebra provide a sleep service offering 1:1 support, sleep workshops and information resources. We can give advice over the phone on your child’s specific sleep problem. If you run a parent group one of our workshops might be just the thing for you are looking for. Sleep guide, cards and other resources are packed full of information and advice that could help you get a good night’s sleep.
Telephone: 0126 724 4210
Email: sleep@cerebra.org.uk

The Children’s Sleep Charity offer a sleep service which consists of a team of sleep practitioners covering parts of the UK who can offer help and advice on sleep issues.
Telephone: 0130 275 1416
E-mail: info@thechildrenssleepcharity.org.uk


The Association of UK Dietitians

Broccoli Boot Camp is a comprehensive guide for parents of children who are selective or “picky” eaters, and can be used with children with or without special needs. It presents common sense behavioural interventions to successfully expand children’s diet variety and preferences for healthy foods.

“Can’t Eat, Won’t Eat” book by Brenda Legge (2002) Jessica Kingsley Publisher.

“‘Food Refusal and Avoidant Eating in Children, Including Those with Autism Spectrum Conditions: A Practical Guide for Parents and Professionals” book by Gillian Harris and Elizabeth Shea (2018).

National Autistic Society: Eating


The Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity – the only charity dedicated to the bowel and bladder health of all children and teenagers in the UK.

Bladder and Bowel UK offers advice and information on all bladder and bowel issues in children and young people including those with additional needs. We have a range of information leaflets and resources that will help parents, carers, professionals and schools cope with incontinence in children and young people.
Telephone: 0161 214 4591 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm

National Autistic Society: Toileting


Our sensory top tips are available from the Sheffield Children’s hospital website here.

Sensory toys and fidgets

There are many different types of sensory toys and fidgets available, and they are a great way to provide helpful self-regulation for those with sensory needs through squeezing and fiddling. Sensory toys can support relaxation and increase concentration.

Chewy jewellery and chewy tubes

Chewy jewellery and tubes are created for those seeking an oral sensory input and to provide a resilient, non-food, chewable surface for practicing biting and chewing skills.

Gym Ball

A gym ball is suitable for those with a variety of sensory needs, as the ball can be calming and relaxing when laying on and moving slowly in a rocking formation. The ball is also great for those sensory seekers to sit and wriggle or bounce. Using a gym ball can also improve balancing, coordination and flexibility skills.

Foot fidget’s, wobble boards and ‘movin’ sit’ cushion

There are a large variety of fidget tools available to help a child seeking sensory input through movement without leaving their seat. This can help a child to hold their concentration in the classroom.

Weighted neck wrap and lap pad

Weighted items are designed as a self-regulating tool to reduce stress and anxiety by applying pressure similar to a deep hug.

Please note that not all weighted items are suitable and blankets must be carefully considered for the appropriate weight of the blanket and your child’s health, size and weight.

Ear defender

Ear defenders are ideal for those who are sensitive to noise and certain sounds or for when you are feeling over stimulated

Please note that they should only be used for very short periods of time only as this may make hearing more sensitive. Also woollen hats that cover the ears and commercial headphones can be useful for reducing noise.

Other resources

“Making Sense of Sensory Behaviour” Information and practical strategies written by Falkirk Council 2010

Leap Children’s Therapy helpful resources from an independent occupational therapy company.

Sensory Integration Education

National Autistic Society: Sensory

Social stories and communication support

The Gray Centre for Social Learning and Understanding information and resources including ‘The New Social Story Book’ (2010) by Carol Gray – explains the purpose of social stories and includes lots of examples on a CD which can be edited for use.

Small Talk Sheffield is a support group for parent and carers of pre-school children with speech, language and communication needs. Held on Tuesday mornings (10am to 12pm) At the Philippa Cottam Communication Clinic.
Telephone: 0114 222 2418
Email: hss-placements@sheffield.ac.uk

Twinkl offer lots of simple and easy to follow resources for ‘social situations’. Featuring activities on friendship and social skills, managing emotions, taking turns, social situations and friendship, addressing common difficulties that children may face in day to day life. There are also some free downloadable resources available.

National Autistic Society: Social stories and comic strip conversations

Communication and visual supports

Do2Learn provide picture communication cards, songs, games and learning activities for autism, Asperger’s, foetal alcohol syndrome and disabilities.

Makaton is a sign language to help children learn how to communicate and develop language skills in a fun and exciting way.

National Autistic Society: Communication

Widgit symbols help communication. Use our symbols to create materials in print, on screen and online with our range of software titles, apps and services.

Funding, benefits and support

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who is under 16 and has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability. They will need to meet all the eligibility requirements.

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

Sheffield SEN and disability information advice and support (SSENDIAS) provides impartial, confidential information, advice and support to parents and carers of children and young people with
special educational needs or disabilities. This includes SEN, disability specific information, education, SEN statutory processes, available services, disability related benefits, grants and funding.
Telephone: 0114 273 6009
Email: ed-parent.partnership@sheffield.gov.uk

Short Breaks Services for children and young people with disabilities. A short break is an essential part of a continuum of support for parent carers of children and young people with disabilities, by offering parent carers a break from their caring responsibilities or their usual routine.

App recommendations

Choice Works helps to complete daily routines, understand & control feelings and learn to wait.

My Routine creates visual stories to help reduce anxiety about what is coming next.

Sand Timer apps can be very useful for supporting with routines and learning to wait

You Doodle is great for helping you to create your own designs for visual supports, social stories, warning signs and so on.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

Contact us


Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

Resource number: NDS20

Resource Type: Article

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