Autistic Society to expand scheme for carers of sufferers

The National Autistic Society has secured funding totalling £300,000 from the Home Office and the Department of Health to launch Help!, a pilot scheme providing support to carers of people with autistic spectrum disorders.

An extension of its already established Early Bird programme, which caters for carers and parents of children diagnosed at pre-school age, Help! will target carers of those diagnosed from school age to adulthood.

"There are several early intervention programmes such as Early Bird but assistance for carers of school age to adulthood people is minimal and patchy. The funding will allow us to expand this programme to also include these carers,

said Help! programme manager, Jan Snook.

Support will be provided through information for carers on issues such as how to communicate more effectively, where to find help and how to understand autistic behaviour.

Carers can also attend up to six sessions lasting three hours each on topics varying from education to legislation.

The Home Office funding will provide 11 programmes with similar sessions in England.

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