Through person-centred approaches and planning, all services and support will be tailored to each child’s needs and will be comprehensive in nature dealing with all major aspects of the child’s life, including social, educational, vocational, financial, recreational and leisure activities.

We believe that every child, regardless of severity of need or impairment, has the ability to grow, learn and develop, and this can be enhanced by ensuring people have access to their community and to mainstream resources.

Duties of Social Services

Your local authority has a number of duties towards you and your child. Every local authority must protect and promote the welfare of children in need living in the area. They do this in a number of ways, for example by:

  • assessing the needs of children in need (including those with a disability)
  • assessing the needs of carers
  • providing services to meet identified needs
  • providing information and signposting to other organisations
  • maintaining a register of children with disabilities living in the area

The SSD that carry out these duties is usually called ‘Children’s Services’ or ‘Children and Families Services’. Children with disabilities have rights to an assessment under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989. The local authority then has a duty to provide any services necessary to meet their needs. In theory this means that the local authority could fund virtually anything if it is necessary for the child’s development. In practice disabled children and their families tend to be offered residential and home based respite care but very little else.

Your child may be entitled to an assessment of their needs even if they do not yet have a formal diagnosis of ASD. This is because Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 applies to all ‘children in need’. A child is in need if:

(a) He or she is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him or her of services by a local authority.

(b) His or her health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of services.

(c) He or she is disabled. It is also useful to be aware that “family” includes any person who has parental responsibility for the child and any other person with whom he has been living. In some cases this will not be just the child’s biological parents but also step parents, grandparents or step brothers and sisters.

The Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 and the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 require local authorities to assess the needs of carers and where necessary to provide services to meet those needs. If you as a parent request an assessment for your child you should also request a carer’s assessment. To find out more about your rights as a carer, you can read our support for carers information.

What needs do we have?

All children with an ASD are individual and have different needs. Parents needs also vary depending on a range of factors, such as how much money they have, whereabouts they live, how supportive their friends and family are and how many children they have.

It may help to define the kinds of needs you have by keeping a note of which periods during the day causes you the greatest stress. Ideally, as many members of the family as possible should do this. You can use a simple chart such as a tick sheet to record this. By the end of a week it should be very easy to see which times of day cause the greatest stress, or place the greatest demands on you as parents.