Autism is a lifelong condition affecting 1 in 100 people in the UK. It impacts on the way a person communicates and how they experience the world around them. Autism is described as a spectrum condition. This means that while people with autism, including Asperger’s Syndrome, share certain characteristics, they will be highly individual in their needs and preferences.
Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others face additional challenges, including learning disabilities, and need varying levels of support for the whole of their lives.
In the majority of cases symptoms are noticed in children aged between 2 and 3 years old. Some cases are not clear until adulthood however.
If you are concerned about the development of your child, or have concerns about an adult, your GP will be able to conduct an initial examination and make a referral to a suitable health professional.
Autistic Spectrum Diagnosis by the NHS
NHS Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for funding and commissioning the diagnosis of autism. Solihull has two diagnosis pathways, one for children and young people and one for adults.
GP’s are responsible for referring adults for an autism assessment to determine a diagnosis. There are two levels of assessment, standard and complex, your GP will select the level required based on the impact autism is having on your life.
After referral from your GP, an assessment will be arranged with a qualified health professional, such as:
NHS provides a lot of information on diagnosing autism spectrum disorder and what happens next.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder Toolkit
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects at least 1% of the population. Traditionally it has been thought to have a male preponderance, although increasingly more girls and women are diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.
There is an urgent need to improve healthcare of people with autism. New research shows that autistic people die on average 16 years earlier than the general population and the gap in mortality increases if they also have learning disabilities.
For this reason, GPs need to be aware of certain adaptations required when engaging with a patient who has autism so they can have the best health outcomes.
This Autism Toolkit aims to be a 'one stop shop', a user-friendly guide to autism for primary care professionals, people affected by autism, clinical commissioning groups, as well as interested members of the general public.
Community Advice Hubs
Visiting your local Community Advice Hub could put you in contact with the best support and activities to help you live better with autism. The hubs also offer support to you if you are a carer.
You can visit the hubs from 10.00am to 2.00pm in:
You can contact the hubs by:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
- telephone 0121 705 3588
The Solihull Directory is also available to help and may have details of local charities and providers and national charities working locally
When things become too difficult
Solihull Council may assess someone diagnosed with autism where they appear to have care and support needs. Help may be available for you and your carer to enable you to continue living in the community.
If you are finding it very difficult to live safely at home and are concerned, you can contact the Solihull adult social care team to request an assessment.
A qualified worker will work with you, and your carer or representative if you would like, to discuss your needs and identify how to help.
The assessment will take place in your own home or wherever is most convenient for you. You can also complete an online assessment or visit your local information and advice hub for support to complete your assessment.
The assessment process will look at what support you need to let you live your life in the best way possible. It will also discuss your care and support needs and understand how you can maintain and improve your personal wellbeing.
Autism West Midlands
Autism West Midlands are the leading charity in the West Midlands for people with autism.
With over 60,000 people in our local region living with an autism spectrum disorder, Autism West Midlands hopes to enable everyone affected to live their life in the best way possible for them.
It has expert staff and volunteers working to help everyone, of any age and all personal ability levels, with help and advice about autism including:
- Supporting people with autism to live as independently as possible, in their own or the family home
- Providing activities and events and support for families, and an information helpline
- Helping people with autism to find and keep a job
- Offering training for parents of children with autism, and the professionals who help them
Autism West Midlands also offers training for businesses and organisations which can be provided in the workplace or any other venue. It also runs seminars and workshops for people with autism, their parents and carers, and autism professionals.
You can find out more about the work the organisation does and how you can get involved by visiting the Autism West Midlands website.
Solihull Autistic Spectrum Support and Information (SASSI)
SASSI is an Autism Support Group for parents/guardians of children or young people with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). All are welcome whether there has been a diagnosis or there is one pending. Monthly meetings are held in the evening at different primary schools in Solihull. They provide talks on topics connected with ASD offering the opportunity for parents to meet socially.
You can contact SASSI on 0121 7791742
Solihull Adults Support Group
The Solihull Autism Support Group meets one evening a month at a community room at Solihull Methodist Church. The group can support up to 15 people with autism and is run by Autism West Midlands.
The group supports people over 18 with Autism and Asperger Syndrome to meet others with the same disability, share experiences and issues and realise they are not alone. The support groups also provide advice and coping strategies for these issues to help them develop. Social contact is also a key element of the support group and members meet for a drink after the meeting.
National help for people with autism
There are a number of national organisations which supply essential help and advice for those with disorders on the autistic spectrum, their carers and parents:
Solihull Special Needs Parents Forum
Solihull Special Needs Parents’ Forum is a voluntary group of parents acting on behalf of all parents and carers of children and young people with additional needs and disabilities, including those on the autistic spectrum in Solihull.
You can contact Solihull Special Needs Parents Forum for more information by:
- email email@example.com
- telephone 07467 207162
Birmingham and Solihull Youth Promise Plus - Youth Employment Initiative
The Birmingham and Solihull Youth Promise Plus project aims to support 16,610 Birmingham & Solihull young people (15-29 years) who are NEET (Not engaged in Employment, Education or Training including unemployed and economically inactive). The project will support participants, where appropriate, with pathways to sustainable employment, education and training outcomes.
The project will support young people to secure jobs in local businesses and key sectors by:
- Integration of service provision across providers
- Personal holistic support driven by a relationship of trust between beneficiaries and lead professionals
- A “Work First” approach involving the introduction of young people into some form of supported work environment (or work -facing education or training environment) within 6 weeks of their entry to the project. This project seeks to bring opportunity for employment experience much earlier on to aid participant confidence and experience
- Dedicated support to employers to ensure the creation of work environments that are conducive and responsive to beneficiaries support needs but also remain positive for the businesses themselves
Disability Facilities Grant
If you need home adaptations to live with autism, or care for someone who is autistic, a Disabled Facilities Grant may be available. You may get a grant if your home needs adaptations such as:
- door widening
- ramp installation
- installing a stair lift
- adapting heating or lighting systems
There will be an occupational therapy assessment and a financial assessment to see what work is needed and how it should be paid for.
To arrange for an assessment contact Solihull Connect by:
- telephone 0121 704 8007
Equipment and Assistive Technology
You can visit The Better Living Centre to find out about the help that is available for you and the person you care for to live a happy, healthy, safe and independent life in your own home.
Quite often, all it takes for someone to live comfortably, independently and safely in their home is a few items of simple equipment or technology.
The Better Living Centre can help you find the best gadgets, trained staff can show you the equipment in action and you can try before you buy in the demonstration house.
Solihull Action through Advocacy provides independent advocacy for people with learning disabilities, and other vulnerable groups, who are facing critical decisions about their lives.
You can contact Solihull Action through Advocacy by:
- telephone 0121 706 4696
- fax 0121 706 1505
- email firstname.lastname@example.org
Advocacy Matters is a Birmingham based charity that began in 2002. They aim to provide vulnerable people with an independent advocate to ensure individuals are heard and that their rights, concerns and needs are acted upon.
You can contact Advocacy Matters by:
- telephone 0121 321 2377