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What is Autism?

Amazing things happen

This video helps introduce autism for younger audiences
For children and young people (up to 18):

Please see the How to get an assessment for Autism, ADHD or ADD page.

For people over 18:

The Adults with Autism service (opens new page) is a run by the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation trust (SWYPFT) (opens new page).

The service offers adults diagnostic assessment and/or specialist interventions for people who are 18 years+ and do not have an intellectual disability.

Their main clinic is based at the Manygates clinic in Wakefield, however they use a number of community bases, including ones in Kirklees.

Service users have access to a multi-disciplinary team which includes medical, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy and speech & language therapy practitioners. Specialist social work support is also available from the team or from our local authority partners.

Referrals are accepted from GPs, consultants and other services within the SWYPFT.

Here is their FAQ document about the referral process (downloads Word document).

You will be contacted by SWYPFT with an appointment for the diagnostic assessment.

Outcome of the assessment:

If you are diagnosed and meet the criteria for an Autism Spectrum Disorder, you and in some cases your family, may have a lot of questions.  You will be offered up to 2 more appointments to discuss the implications of the diagnosis for you and what support may be helpful for you.  This is not compulsory and not everyone feels they need this and decline the offer.

Depending where you live, you may also be offered further specialist health or social care interventions from the service which will be discussed with you at the time.

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how people perceive the world around them and how they communicate and interact with others.

Autism is a ‘spectrum condition’. This means that although all autistic people share certain difficulties, being autistic affects them in different ways. All people on the spectrum learn and develop and with the correct support they can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing.

Not all young people who are assessed are diagnosed with Autism. There are other diagnoses that we consider to find what is appropriate for each individual. If this is the case we will recommend the next steps and how best you can help your child.

Some people who have autism also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions.

There are also a large range of other reasons why people can experience social and communication difficulties. For example, other disorders such as Dyspraxia, Language Disorder or Attachment Disorder.  Our team completes in-depth assessments to consider all these possibilities.

Having an assessment will identify what strengths and weaknesses they may have and how those can be supported at home and school and address any concerns. Most importantly, it can help your child understand their differences and navigate the world around them. An Autism diagnosis will also help young people access to resources in the local area to support them in learning and socialising.



Girls and Autism

NASEN have produced a guide that discusses Autism in girls.  The guide can be found by clicking the picture on the left (opens PDF in new page).


The video is made from real life stories of adults with Autism in Kirklees and aims to address prejudice and promote a better understanding of autism.

Additional support for children and young people with Autism is provided by:

  • the Early Years SEN Team for children aged 0-5 (EYSEND Team), and
  • Kirklees Complex Communication and Interaction Outreach Team (CCI Team) for children and young people over 5


This team offers inclusion provide support and advice to all early years settings (private, voluntary, independent and maintained) around young children with complex needs including social communication difficulties.

Portage is part of the team and provide home-based specialist teaching support to very young children with complex needs including those with social communication needs (where not yet attending an early years setting).

CCI Team

This team meets the special educational needs of children and young people in schools with social communication difficulties including Autism.  This covers all children and young people with social communication needs regardless of any referral to the Autism Assessment Team.

More information about these outreach services can be found on our EYSEND page or our Outreach services page.

CCI Outreach Team

This team have a parents and carers “Phone-in” helpline which is available for parents and carers of children nursery 2 to year 6 who have been referred to the CCI Service.

It is available on Wednesdays between 10am and 12pm.

Telephone: 01924 483744 and give details of:

  • parent/carer’s name
  • child’s name
  • childs age/year group
  • child’s school
  • a contact phone number

The Business Support Officer will put your call through to the appropriate team member.

Educational Psychology Service (EP service)

Educational Psychology are part of the Kirklees Council Learning and Early Support Service and work with parents, schools and other agencies to support children and young people age 0-25.  They help school staff, parents and carers to find solutions to improve the learning outcomes of children and young people and support children and young people’s social and emotional development and wellbeing.

More information can be found on our Education Psychology page.

Sensory Occupational Therapy service

Some children and young people with Autism also have some sensory needs.  Within Kirklees we have a team of sensory occupational therapists who can provide support.   Sensory OT's work across Kirklees with children and young people with sensory integration difficulties that are impacting on their development and independence.  They work closely with teachers and other professionals to train and advise those working with the child and young person to understand and recognise their sensory needs. They give advice on making changes to the child’s environment and strategies to meet sensory needs and to help develop independence. 

More information can be found on our Sensory Occupational Therapy page.

These videos are about creating Autism friendly environments.

Part 1
Part 2
Local Help And Advice

(Click on the pictures to go to their websites.  They all open a new page)

Thriving Kirklees

Health and wellbeing services, for Kirklees children and young people aged 0-19 years (up to 25 years for children with special needs) and their families, have been brought together under one name… Thriving Kirklees.
Thriving Kirklees is a partnership of local health and wellbeing providers

 all working together to support children, young people and their families to thrive and be healthy.
You can call them direct on 0300 304 5555 or visit their website.


Northorpe Hall Child and Family Trust provide a range of workshops for parents including: 

  • Understanding ASC
  • Introduction to sensory integration difficulties
  • Supporting yourself as a carer
  • Behaviours as communication

Huddersfield support group for autism (HSGA)

The Huddersfield Support Group for Autism offers advice, meetings, trips and events amongst other things. They are a voluntary, self-help group of individuals and families living or working with Autism. Please join the group if it is for you. A confirmed diagnosis of ASD is not needed to join.


The Whole Autism Family

A local Autism support group in Kirklees that offers mutual support and access to literature, training courses and professional guests. The support group is accessible by the whole family, from individuals affected by Autism, siblings, parents and carers to extended family members, greatly reducing the isolation felt by many.



Various cinemas – Autism friendly cinema screenings

Innovative autism friendly screenings providing opportunities for people with Autism or sensory sensitivity to enjoy a trip to the cinema. They work with ODEON, Cineworld, Vue and Showcase to host Autism friendly screenings at over 250 cinemas nationwide. They are on Sunday mornings, are screened in a sensory friendly and inclusive environment and are suitable for all audiences. Adjustments at the cinema reduce over-stimulation and create a welcoming place for people with Autism to enjoy films with their families, friends or carers.

You can also find information about local support groups for parents/carers on the Local Offer Support Groups and Advice page.


Help, support and information outside your local area

(Click on the pictures to go to their websites.  They all open a new page)

National Autism society

The UK's leading charity for people on the Autism spectrum and their families. They provide support, guidance and advice, as well as campaigning for improved rights, services and opportunities to help create a society that works for Autistic people.


Autism Education Trust (AET)

The AET works to support schools, local authorities and parents & carers with information advice and guidance around improving access to education and outcomes for those with autism.  They have made a lot of really useful guides for parents including (all links open a PDF in new page):



The NHS's website provides some general knowledge, guidance, information on what to do next and getting a diagnosis on Autism.

Last updated: 21/09/2021

Useful links

Support for adults with autism

Kirklees Autism support

Sparkle - Autism support and advice

Sparkle -Helping Families With Autistic Children

Special iApps

Childrens Apps