Ambitious About Autism

Autism special schools and information

Ambitious About Autism run a number of specialist schools for Autistic children and also help Autistic people gain work experience and employment. Their website has a large amount of information about Autism.

Education Advocacy

Specialist SEN advocates, publish a map of all non-maintained special schools in the UK

Are specialist SEN advocates (they can help with EHCP applications, reviews and challenges, but they charge for this service - this isn't the reason they're listed as I have no experience of their services, good or bad). On their website they publish a map which shows all the non-maintained special schools in the UK.

Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP)

Accessing extra educational support

“An Education, Health and Care plan (“EHC plan”) is a legal document which describes a child or young person’s special educational needs, the support they need, and the outcomes they would like to achieve.” Once in place an EHCP can allow your child to access specialist support, schools and therapy and will put in place the funding for this.

To set up an EHCP you need to apply for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment from your Local Authority. You can make this application yourself or it can be done by your child's school, nursery, doctor, health visitor etc

The process is a lengthy one and you need to convince the local authority in the first place that they actually need to assess your child, so it's important to include as much evidence as possible in your application. There are some really good guides on the internet which I would recommend studying before applying.

IPSEA have a template letter to use when requesting a needs assessment:

For more detailed information see: EHCP

Free Child Care For 2-4 Year Olds

Government scheme to provide free child care for some children

The government provides free childcare for some children aged 2-4 years depending on thier circumstances.

In general, if you (and your partner if you have one) are working, your 3 to 4 year old children are entitled to 30 hours free childcare per week with an approved childcare provider for 38 weeks a year. If you're not working but are in receipt of some benefits such as Incapacity Benefit or Carers Allowance, you may still be entitled to this free childcare. For more details see:

2 year olds may also be entitled to free childcare if you receive certain benefits including Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit. In addition, 2 year olds are entitled to free childcare if they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

For more details see:

Free School Transport / Claim Mileage For Taking Your Child To School

If your child has an EHCP or Statement of Special Educational Needs and you live 2 or more miles away from their school if the child is under 8, or 3 or more miles away if your child is 8 or over, you should be entitled to be provided with free transportation for them to and from their school. For more information on eligibility see:

Something that seems to be not so well known is that if you decline this offer and elect to take your child to and from school yourself, you are entitled to claim the return mileage from your house to the school twice a day (some authorities only seem to cover one return journey a day), for every day they have attended at a rate of 25p per mile.

Find details of how to apply through your local council here:

IPSEA (Independent Provider Of Special Education Advice)

Help children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families and carers, to get the appropriate education, training and support to which they are entitled under the law. As well as having an advice service, their website also offers a number of guides on things like choosing schools, EHCPs, SEN Law, transport to school etc

Reaching Families

Support for SEND families, publish the excellent "Making Sense Of It All" Guide

Is a West Sussex charity that aims to “empower, inform and support parents and families of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in West Sussex”. They offer a number of services including benefits advice, fact sheets, training workshops, support groups and a Facebook group.

They also publish the excellent “Making Sense Of It All” which is available to download for free as an ebook via this link:

It's a lengthy publication, but it covers in detail everything from the first time you think your child may be having difficulties, getting a diagnosis and then finding the help they need, right through to growing up to becoming an adult with special needs.

Royal National Children's Springboard Foundation

Bursaries to attend leading independent schools

The Royal National Children's SpringBoard Foundation (RNCSF) works to bring the transformational opportunities offered by the UK's leading schools to the young people who will benefit from them the most. They allow children who would otherwise be unable, to attend leading independent schools by funding bursaries.

SENDIAS (SEND Information, Advice and Support)

Advice service focussed on helping SEND children access education and EHCPs

SENDIAS (SEND Information, Advice and Support) Service provides confidential and impartial information, advice and support to children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities and to their parent carers.

They are mainly focussed on accessing education and EHCPs. Each area has it's own individual SENDIAS service, you can search for your local one at the following link:

Singing Hands

Offer various Makaton (signing) classes and workshops for young people

Singing hands offer a variety of Makaton signing courses and workshops, both in person and online, for age ranges from babies to young adults.


Various support across the UK including nurseries, activity clubs, days out, play schemes etc

Offer a number of disability services across the UK including short break play schemes for children aged 5-11, short break activity youth clubs for young people aged 12-18, rebound therapy, nurseries, preschools and various other activities. To find your local YMCA in England and Wales and see what they offer:

In Scotland:

And in Ireland / Northern Ireland: