My child has autism

Guidance for parents and carers about help in school.


Schools have a responsibility to make provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEN).

We provide funding through normal school budgets to help schools to support pupils with SEN. We have produced the Derbyshire Descriptors of SEN Provision.

The descriptors offer advice to primary and secondary schools about the level and type of support they should provide for pupils with additional needs. 

We use the descriptors to monitor provision for pupils with SEN without a statement.

They outline how schools should:

  • assess, plan and review provision

  • arrange teaching groups

  • adjust the curriculum and teaching methods

  • provide resources such as access to additional support from a teaching assistant for up to three hours per week for pupils at School Action or up to eight hours a week for pupils at School Action Plus.

Your child may:

  • have a diagnosis of Autism, Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger's Syndrome

  • have difficulties with communication, interaction and imagination which affect his or her learning

  • have difficulties developing language

  • have friendship problems

  • prefer to play alone

  • have difficulty understanding other people's feelings

  • lack conversation skills

  • find change difficult to cope with

  • have difficulties getting organised

  • have sensory issues such as over-sensitivity to noise

  • show stress at home

What can your school do?

  • Use teacher assessment and observations to establish how your child learns best

  • Find out which ways of teaching are the most effective

  • Discuss your child with relevant professionals who visit the school

  • Use this advice to plan different work for your child

  • Arrange for your child to have some extra help in smaller teaching groups supported by a teaching assistant

  • Have routines that will help your child understand what happens in each day

  • Use visual timetables and prompt sheets

  • Organise groups carefully to promote your child's opportunities for mixing with other children, using language and understanding and using imagination

  • Plan carefully for transitions when your child moves year groups or schools

  • Follow guidance from Derbyshire's File for Autism Friendly Schools.

Who else can help?

Schools and early years settings can make a referral to an Autism Outreach service.

Other services which can help include:

If your child has other difficulties as well as autism, all schools have access to county services which can offer support and advice for pupils with:

You or your child's teacher (with your permission) can ask a speech and language therapist to see your child.

Your GP can make a referral for physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and will also advise on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and voluntary services such as Barnardo's.

What other advice is available?

We have published comprehensive files of advice and information on autism, speech and language difficulties and dyslexia.

Contact details

  • Buxton office - 01629 533535

  • Chesterfield office - 01246 204851

  • Denby office - 01629 533815

  • County Hall - 01629 536850

The full version of the SEN Descriptors is available in every school.

If you require this and other local inclusion officer service leaflets in large print or another format, please contact the head of Local Inclusion Officer service listed above. 

Derbyshire Autism Pathways

These pathways describe how children whose needs may fall on the autistic spectrum should be identified and supported. 

Stages one, two and four of the pathways also apply to children with other developmental disorders.

Related documents

The following documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)

The following documents are in Word format. You can download software to view Word documents for free from the Word viewer page (opens in a new window) of the Microsoft website.

Information on other websites

How useful did you find this page?

Not useful

Very useful

Thank you for rating this page

You can provide further feedback using our Contact us form