This booklet was developed by the Early Support programme in partnership with the National Autistic Society and TreeHouse in response to requests from families, professional agencies and voluntary organisations for better standard information. The guidance reflects what parents who have ‘been there before’ say they would have liked to have known in the early days of finding out about their child’s situation.

This guidance has been drawn up with the help of parents of children with autism, to help others understand what autism is and to provide a picture of what parents and others can do to help their child.

The booklet describes the support that is available and answers the questions that many parents have at this time. Extensive contact information for further support, which includes websites and phone numbers, is given throughout the booklet.

Visit the Early Support website for more information


  • Introduction – where you are now
  • Coming to terms with a diagnosis of autism or a related condition
  • What is an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)?
  • Getting exact information about your child’s diagnosis
  • Getting help
  • Statutory support for children and families
  • Access to short breaks and financial help
  • Therapies and interventions
  • Dietary and bio-medical interventions
  • Communication support
  • Helping your child at home - behaviour
  • Being a parent
  • A final word
  • Books and other sources of information
  • Useful organisations
  • Glossary