By Registered Health Visitor – Julia Headland

If your child has had a diagnosis of autism or if you suspect your child is on the autistic spectrum, you may be experiencing some trepidation or fear around what the future holds. According to the NHS (2023), having an autistic child can put a lot of strain on you and your family because you might need to spend a lot of time helping
your child get the support that they need, and this can be overwhelming and exhausting.

It is also not unusual for you to struggle to be available for other children or partners and this can add to the stress. Due to the NHS back log, some hospital trusts have a long wait before an official assessment is made and this can cause families much anxiety too.

Thankfully, there are several organisations that can support parents and carers before and after diagnosis. Below is a new free educational programme being launched in England to provide support for families and carers of autistic children and adults.

Autism Central

NHS England has announced that the free educational programme ‘Autism Central’ aims to build knowledge and understanding of autism to empower families and carers to advocate for autistic people they support to get the right understanding and adjustments in place across the services they use.

So, what does the service offer?

  1. One to one group sessions complimented by online learning and information.
  2. Families and carers can talk to other people with similar experiences by joining workshops, drop-in sessions, coffee mornings and virtual meet ups.
  3. Each session will be delivered by parents and carers of autistic people who have been specially trained to share their knowledge and experience with others as peer educators.

Research has shown that talking to people who share similar experiences helps people to feel understood and get the help they need. They may also be able to advise on local services available in the area.

For more information go to

There are nine other organisations involved in Autism Central as follows:

 Ambitious about Autism
 Autism Alliance
 Autism Education Trust
 Autistica
 British Institute of Learning Disabilities
 Contact
 Great Minds Together
 National Autistic Society
 National Network of Parent Carer Forum

The NHS has several more suggestions that will hopefully help you and your family following an autism diagnosis:

Ask friends and family if they can help with day-to-day things or just be there to talk to.
Get advice from other parents of autistic children.
Listen to other parents’ stories, you can search online for blogs and books.
Ask your council for a carer’s assessment- you may be eligible for extra support and financial benefits.
Think about doing a course for parents of autistic children such as an Early
Bird course from the National Autistic Society.


For those people I have not yet met, my name is Julia Headland and I am a registered health visitor and registered general nurse with a degree in public health and over 20 years of experience.  I am very pleased to work alongside the Norfolk House Nursery team.

You can arrange to meet me for confidential advice or guidance about your child’s health or development; during the pandemic these consultations are being conducted by Zoom or telephone.

My consultations are free of charge and they are confidential.

You can book an appointment with me via the Norfolk House Nursery staff.

You can also follow me on social media:

Facebook: @JuliaHeadlandPrivateHealthVisitor

Instagram: jh_privatehealthvisitor