What support is available for children and young people with autism and their families.

Bristol Autism Team support in education settings

The Bristol Autism Team (BAT) support children and young people who have a formal diagnosis of autism and those on the pathway to diagnosis, through:

  • early years settings such as nurseries and pre-school
  • primary school
  • secondary school
  • post 16 settings

The Bristol Autism Team will offer mainstream education settings:

  • a named BAT link from Early Years through to Post 16
  • annual cohort meetings with their named BAT link to plan autism support for their setting
  • annual drop-in clinics for both school  staff and parents and carers to gain informal advice, as well as term time access to informal advice through the Bristol Autism Hotline email: bristol.autism.hotline@bristol.gov.uk, or through the BAT Link for your education setting
  • nationally recognised Autism Education Trust training for all education settings, endorsed by the Department for Education 
  • where informal advice is not enough for children and young people with a diagnosis of autism, direct support from a BAT education colleague, to fully assess the child or young person's needs, through observations and discussions with staff and parents, resulting in written recommendations for outcomes and provisions
  • follow-up visits in line with the SEN Code of Practice

Find more information about how the service works in the:

To get information and advice, email bristol.autism.hotline@bristol.gov.uk

How to get support in education settings for a child or young person with autism

SENDCOs can ask for support from the Bristol Autism Team through the setting's cohort meeting and advice clinic.

Children in Early Years settings need to have been referred to the Early Years Portage and Inclusion Service.

How the support works

Support can be given through informal discussion and advice, together with ideas from our Bristol Autism Team toolkits and the Autism Education Trust. 

For children and young people with with a diagnosis of Autism where their needs are more complex, the Bristol Autism Team can offer direct support. 

A consultation visit will be made to the education setting, where:

  • the child or young person will be observed
  • the child or young person will speak with them
  • staff working with the child or young person will be spoken to in order to gather information about needs
  • parents would be invited to the education setting to discuss needs

After the consultation visit:

 The Bristol Autism Team:

  • email the Pupil Record to the school and parents, to identify strengths and needs
  • set SMART outcomes related to the key areas for support
  • details the provision the school needs to put in place in order to achieve these outcomes

The case can be made open to review so that the school can:

  • go ahead with recommendations without any more help
  • ask for more help within the next six months if they need it

Or it's agreed that the Bristol Autism Team will provide a block of further visits .

During these visits, they:

  • support the school to ensure their recommendations are fully and correctly implemented 
  • record progress towards agreed outcomes for the child or young person

At any point during the block of visits, the Bristol Autism Team can review progress and agree to make the case open to review.

Some cases might need further input, and this would be discussed on an individual basis to focus on specific areas still causing concern. 

Support outside education settings

National Autistic Society (NAS)

The UK's largest Autism Support charity with lots of advice and guidance. Visit National Autistic Society or call 0808 800 4104.

They also have a Bristol branch which supports their members, most of whom are parents of people with autism. They provide:

  • parent-led exclusive access play opportunities for families
  • guest speakers on topics related to autism
  • parents may also borrow books and resources

For more information on the Bristol branch visit NAS Bristol Branch.


While you're waiting for an assessment or autism diagnosis, the Community Children's Health Partnership have a range of videos, leaflets and top tips that could help.

Bristol Autism Team support for families

The Bristol Autism Team support families of children who:

  • have a diagnosis of autism
  • are going through the assessment process and have social communication and interaction needs
  • have sensory processing difficulties

They offer family learning courses, which families can access through a referral process.

These courses offer:

  • information and advice on autism
  • information on ways to support your child
  • opportunities to meet other parents or carers
  • information and signposting to services and benefits

Bristol Autism Team Specialist Advanced Project Workers

The Autism specialist Advanced Project Workers can offer advice and support to services that are working with families with a child or young person with autism.

They can give you:

  • guidance and advice on autism services and information that is available for families both pre and post diagnosis 
  • workforce training and development for teams on Autism Awareness 
  • support for services around the family to develop positive parenting and behaviour management strategies 

A child or young person can be referred to the team by: 

  • a social worker 
  • a mental health professional
  • a member of the Bristol Autism Team education hub
  • a member of the Families in Focus team

Access support from the team there must be an allocated  social care practitioner.

The team discusses and allocates referrals at the monthly meeting of the Disabled Children's Service (DCS) Children's Resource Panel for Specialist Services (CRPSS). 

Advice and support for autistic girls

Short breaks for disabled children

You can find information about the different types of short breaks available to disabled children and their families.

Holiday activities with the Bristol Autism Project

The Bristol Autism Project Go to http://facefilton.org.uk/our-work/bristol-autism-project/ (opens new window)and FACE, a youth and community charity based in Filton, offer a holiday activities programme is for 4 to 18 year olds who live in Bristol and:

  • have a diagnosis of autism
  • are going through the process of diagnosis and have social communication and interaction needs

The activities are also open to the siblings and family members of the children. 

Visit the FACE website Go to http://facefilton.org.uk/our-work/bristol-autism-project/ (opens new window) for more information and to book a place.

Local groups

Bristol Autism Support (BAS)

A not for profit social enterprise. It provides information, support and training for parents and carers of autistic children, either diagnosed, undiagnosed or suspected in:

  • Bristol
  • North Somerset
  • South Gloucestershire

There are more support services for parents on Advice and support for parents and carers page