Support available following diagnosis

Receiving a diagnosis of ASD can be positive for a child or young person’s development in allowing others to understand the person better, appreciate their unique way of seeing the world and to signpost others to appropriate supports.

There is a range of help and support available across the Northern Trust which is provided by a range of services

These may include:

  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Multi Agency Support for Schools (MASTS)
  • Community Paediatric Medical Service
  • Health Visiting Service
  • Social Services

Support is also provided by the Education Authority for children and young people with ASD across all stages of the code of practice within schools.

After a diagnosis of ASD, the Paediatric ASD Service offers a variety of Post Diagnostic Support to the child/young person and family depending on the needs and age of the child/young person.  This may consist of one or more of the following:

Training Programme/s

  • Parents & Carers Education (PACE) Level 1- Pre-school ASD Awareness Programme. This is for parents/carers of children under the age of 5 years who have received a diagnosis of ASD. This session aims to provide parents/carers with an understanding of ASD in the early years and practical advice and support on managing communication, behaviour, sensory and sleep difficulties.
  • Parent & Cares Education Programme (PACE) Level 1 – ‘What is ASD’. This ASD information seminar is for parents/carers of children/young people aged 5-15 years who have received a diagnosis of ASD. It aims to provide information on ASD and how it manifests in everyday life together with equipping them with strategies to assist their child/young person.
  • 16 years + ASD Awareness Programme. This is for young people with ASD aged 16 years + and their parents/carers. This programme consists of two sessions and is run by the Paediatric ASD Service in conjunction with the Northern Regional College (NRC), Careers Advice Service (CAS) and Disability Employment Service (DES). It aims to provide information to the young person and their family on ASD and how it impacts on everyday life together with equipping them with strategies to manage difficulties. NRC, CAS and DES will provide information on what support is available to the young person in college, deciding on a career and when in employment.

Direct 1:1 Support

  • An onward referral may be made to the RAFT (Reaching Autism Families Together) project, delivered in partnership with Autism NI. The RAFT project supports families of children with ASD less than 12 years of age in the Carrickfergus & Newtownabbey areas in a number of ways by encouraging early childhood intervention through a programme of practical skills training, training courses for parents and family members and offering support groups for family members in the community.
  • An onward referral may be made to the Early Intervention Support Service (EISS), delivered in partnership with Autism Initiatives. The EISS provides families of children with ASD less than 12 years of age, with a programme of practical skills designed to improve their child’s behaviour, social & communication skills with a subsequent positive effect on family life.
  • A place on the ‘About me’ programme may be offered. This is a timed individual intervention programme (max 3 sessions) provided to the young person on a one to one session. The diagnosis of ASD will be explored further with the young person, helping them to identify how it affects them and in turn helping the young person to understand themselves better.
  • The Northern Trust offers the Northern Adult Autism Advice Service which is available to individual’s ages 16 years plus who have a diagnosis of ASD. This is a multiagency team which provides a service to individuals with autism and those who support them.

Family Support

  • A family support follow up home visit may be provided (delivered in partnership with AutismNI) which aims to support families following a diagnosis by providing help, advice, a listening ear and, if appropriate, sign posting to relevant services and support groups.

Please see the referral form for post diagnostic support from the Paediatric ASD Service.

Should parents/carers require any further support the Paediatric ASD Service offers the following intervention service:

Initial Advice Clinic

This is a telephone appointment. Parents/carers will be asked to describe the current difficulties their child/young person is experiencing in relation to their ASD and their concerns at this time. Initial ASD-specific advice will be provided to help parents/carers to manage the difficulties discussed.

The therapist will identify an intervention package for the young person following this appointment (if required).

Intervention packages may include one or more of the following:

Parent and Carers Education Programme

There are a range of training courses available through the Parent and Carers Education Programme. The Programme includes seminars on:

  • Promoting Communication Skills in Children and Young People
  • Visual Strategies
  • Understanding behaviour
  • Managing Anger
  • Anxiety Management Strategies for Parents
  • Encouraging Social Behaviour
  • Teen Life
  • Working Together with Education
  • Supporting Siblings

For full information see the booklet Training Seminars for families/carers of children and young people with ASD.

Parent/Carers Consultation Meeting

A meeting can be arranged with parents/carers with one or more of the professionals from the Paediatric ASD team where information regarding all aspects of their child or young person’s development and how they are functioning can be discussed – with the focus being on the diagnosis of ASD. Parents/carers will also have the opportunity to talk regarding any concerns they may have in relation to their child or young person. Advice and/or strategies will be provided at the parent consultation to help manage these concerns.

Following a parent consultation meeting a report with the advice and strategies discussed will be provided.

Spectrum Star Assessment

The Spectrum Star Assessment is undertaken with the young person with ASD (suitable for 12yrs + ) and looks at different areas of the young person’s life including areas of physical health, communication, social skills and self-esteem, with the focus of how the ASD is impacting in each area. The young person will rate how they feel they are doing in each area on a simple scale.

Following the assessment, an action plan will be drawn up jointly between the young person, parents and professionals to help in areas that the young person identified as more difficult.

ASD Bootcamp

This group based intervention programme is suitable for young people aged 12-18 yrs. Games and activities are carried out within a group environment and there will be time for the young people to socialise with each other. Group sessions focus on the following topics through the activities:

  • Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) – exploring and understanding the diagnosis and looking at the positive aspects of having AS
  • Communication – discussing what is communication, how the young person communicates and strategies to improve communication.
  • Self-esteem – what self-esteem means, self-identity, how to improve self-esteem and problem-solving when self-esteem is reduced.
  • Social Media – how to use technology and social media in an appropriate and safe manner.

About me

This is a one:one time limited intervention package delivered in conjunction with NAS, suitable for those aged 12 yrs +. Activities and worksheets will be carried out with the young person with the focus on the following topics:

  • ASD – exploring and understanding the diagnosis
  • Looking further at how ASD affects the young person
  •  Exploring further the positive aspects of having ASD.

Joint Planning Meeting

The Paediatric ASD Service will provide joint planning meetings with health professionals to support others working with children or young people with ASD.

At these meeting the professionals involved with a child or young person with ASD will discuss the current intervention they are providing and jointly agree therapy goals, taking ASD considerations into account.

The professional involved with your child (who requested meeting) will carry out the intervention using strategies and advice provided from the Paediatric ASD Service and work on the jointly agreed therapy goals.

For further information on these services see the booklet Paediatric ASD Service – Intervention Booklet

Page last updated:02 February 2017