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Autism is a lifelong condition which affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

Everyone with autism is different.

  • Some people with autism can find it hard to tell people how they feel and what they need

  • Some find it hard to make new friends

  • Some can find it hard to understand what other people think and how they feel

There are some services that can be accessed without the need for a social care assessment such as:

We call these early help or prevention services and you can find out more about these in the information and advice section on this website.

Help at home

There are services that can support people to live at home. These include things like special equipment, telecare and help with personal care.

Getting out and about and making friends

We can help you to find out about social activities in your area, you can either look at our Derbyshire Directory which is a directory of things that are happening in your area, or you can contact our brokerage service that can help you find the services and activities in your area.

We have a getting out and about section on this website that has information about volunteering, befriending and day opportunities. Our disability employment service can also provide support if you want to find a job.

Moving into adult services (transition)

Transition is the period in your life when you change from being a child to an adult. If you are leaving school and have additional needs we can help with making plans for your transition into adulthood.

Caring for someone

If you care for someone who has autism, you can find out more about services that are available to you at Carers in Derbyshire.

Supporting people with autism

  • always explain what you are about to do and what is happening
  • allow time for them to process what you have said (at least six seconds)
  • check they have understood
  • be prepared to repeat and rephrase what you have said
  • ask direct, brief questions - questions about time and frequency are often difficult to understand
  • they may give an answer they think you want to hear or repeat what you say, seeming to agree - check answers; ask again in a different way
  • ask the person and/or their carer or advocate what support they might need
  • be prepared to ask again at different stages
  • use direct requests and check that the person has understood you, but avoid being patronising
  • use concrete language (with accompanying pictures if necessary)
  • do not rely on your gestures or body language
  • people with autism can take what you say literally, so avoid metaphors, words with a double meaning and humour that may be misunderstood
  • behaviour is how many people communicate how they are feeling and may be a coping mechanism
  • repetitive behaviours and special interests may also be a way of coping and should be respected
  • don't assume the behaviour is a result of the learning disability or autism
  • bear in mind the person may be anxious
  • routine and familiarity are important. Try to make life as predictable as possible (although people with autism may get bored like anyone else)
  • social difficulties may include unusual body language and eye contact
  • some people with autism have heightened sensitivity to light, noise and touch, so pay particular attention to the environment and physical contact
  • keep the environment calm. Some people can't cope with busy areas.

Autism resources

The Derbyshire Autism Partnership Board is made up of local people with autism and organisations and professionals who work alongside people with autism. The Board worked together to create leaflets and posters to help other professionals, employers and anyone else with an interest to better understand autism. The leaflets and posters are attached to this page:

  • understanding autism
  • understating autism ageing
  • understanding autism − employment
  • top tips for communication with someone with autism (poster)
  • small changes can make a big difference to someone with autism (poster).

You can download a copy, or email: to order printed copies.

There is also a leaflet called 'Understanding Autism − Training', however this leaflet is only available to download.

Living Well with Autism

We have now commissioned Relate Derby and Southern Derbyshire to provide a wide range of services for individuals and families who are affected by autism spectrum conditions.  Services available include:

  • Day education course
  • Coaching sessions
  • Counselling sessions

The service is open to Derbyshire County residents aged 18 years and over who have a current or previous diagnosis of ASC. It is also available to their families and carers. Just contact the Living Well with Autism Team at Relate to find out more.

Tel:    01332 301350