Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

About autism

The National Autistic Society website has lots of useful information in relation to autism, Asperger syndrome and related diagnoses.

This page aims to bring together information in one place about the provision and services available in Norfolk for children and young people with an autistic spectrum disorder.

Autism friendly screenings are mainstream films shown in a sensory friendly environment for example:

  • Lights are turned down low
  • Sound is turned down
  • No trailer or advertisements – just the film
  • Viewers can make noise and move around the cinema as they feel comfortable
  • You are welcome to bring your own food and drink

Various cinemas across the county host autism friendly screenings, including Vue, Odeon, Merlin Cinemas and Cinema City.

It is also worth looking out for relaxed performances which some theatres offer.  These are less formal performances for people with an autistic spectrum disorder, learning difficulty, sensory or communication difficulties who may find it difficult to come to see a show. 

The lighting and special effects will be slightly altered but the content of the show will remain the same.  Many theatres offer a social story at the beginning, so that the audience knows what to expect throughout the show.


  • A parenting support programme for parents/carers whose child has received an autism diagnosis
  • Free to parents/carers with a 7-18 year old autistic child  
  • Run jointly with health and education services 

Early Bird

  • National Autistic Society registered training delivered jointly by ECCH and NCC
  • Free for parents/carers of children who are under 5s with an autism diagnosis
  • 11 weeks 

Norfolk Steps/Positive Handling Training

  • For parents/carers who have a child with special and additional needs, whose behaviours are physically challenging
  • The child must be 4-18 years
  • Designed to help parents or other significant family members and carers who have a caring role, better understand and manage their child’s behaviours
  • The two sessions provide you with some understanding of challenging behaviours, de-escalations skills and an understanding of basic physical intervention techniques
  • Dates/times/venues for the sessions are advertised within our Support events page.

Remember to keep an eye on our Support events page for lots of other training sessions that you might find helpful.

Asperger East Anglia

  • Education: offering parent advisors are trained in providing information and support on issues relating to the education of children with or suspected of having Asperger syndrome.
  • Children and families: Parent advisers provide information, advice and guidance on various matters from DLA form completion to education issues.  There are social groups for 5–13 year olds held on Saturday mornings in Norfolk and Suffolk, summer outings and special activity days.
  • Youth groups: for young people aged 13–19 the groups involve the young people in decision making and participatory activity with an emphasis on fun and being non-threatening.  To find out more telephone 01603 5989941 or email
  • Adult services: helping people make the most of further education, training, and employment opportunities, as well as signposting to information, benefits or assistance with housing and financial information. We also help people to develop their social, communication and relationship skills through our adult groups.

ASD Helping Hands

ASD Helping Hands is a voluntary organisation with over 20 years of experience dealing with autistic children and adults.  It offers a wide range of individual support packages for families, children and young people affected by the Autistic Spectrum Condition including:

  • Youth support with groups in Norwich, Brandon, King’s Lynn, Lowestoft and Thetford
  • Family support with groups in Aylsham, Norwich and Thetford
  • Activities and days out
  • Accredited training courses

Autism Anglia

Autism Anglia has an Autism Advice Service is available in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex for families, individuals and professionals.  Autism advisers can help with:

  • Autism related training
  • Individualised, specialist support, advice and guidance
  • 1:1 advice sessions and clinics
  • Completion of benefit forms (PIP, DLA, ESA)
  • An understanding, knowledgeable, listening ear
  • Issue free Autism Alert Cards

Autism Anglia also offers:

  • Conferences
  • Information days
  • Leaflets, factsheets and downloads
  • Autism Alert Card

West Norfolk Branch National Autistic Society

  • Membership is free but only open to parents/carers of children/people with ASD living in West Norfolk
  • Organises fun activities for children and young people (members only)
  • Coffee mornings are open to all

Asperger Service Norfolk (NCH&C)

  • The Asperger Service Norfolk is for 18 years and over, for adults with Asperger syndrome and high-functioning autism living in Norfolk
  • Diagnosis or signposting of Autism Spectrum Disorder and follow up post diagnosis session
  • Therapeutic support
  • Accessing appropriate community services and support, including advocacy, housing, benefits or health
  • Maintaining or starting a job, or finding training
  • Dealing with official letters/departments, communicating with other professionals
  • The service also runs informal workshops, information days and therapeutic courses as an opportunity to provide information and share concerns

Learning Disabilities Child and Adolescent Service (Starfish) (Norfolk Community Health & Care)

  • The Starfish Service is provided to children aged 5-18 years who have a significant learning disability  
  • If a child is diagnosed with ASD and a learning disability they can access Starfish  
  • The team supports young people with complex developmental needs, as well as their families.  The staff can provide information and advice about: growing up, sexual health, healthy eating, confidence building, self-esteem, health related issues and behavioural issues.

Psychology and ADHD Services (Children)

  • The Children’s Community Psychology and ADHD Services provide care to young people across the county who have been diagnosed with an attention deficit disorder and/or an autistic spectrum disorder and who are experiencing emotional and/or mental health difficulties.
  • Clinics are held in Norwich and King’s Lynn

Educational Psychology Specialist Support (EPSS) Service

  • The EPSS service is a multi-disciplinary service which works with children and young people from birth to 25 who may be experiencing a range of challenges.  These may include learning, social, emotional, behavioural and communication needs
  • Provider a charged service to a wide range of educational settings and employers  
  • Includes access to Advisory Learning Support Teachers

Specialist Resource Bases (SRBs)

There are short term Specialist Resource Bases (SRBs) (Learning and Cognition, including the Dyslexia Outreach Service, Speech Language and Communication and Behaviour) and long term, specialist SRBs (Autistic Spectrum, Deaf and The Compass Centres)

Autism Bases - Key stage 1 and 2

  • Broadland - Sprowston Infant School Key Stage 1 (10 places)
  • City - Bluebell Primary School Key Stage 2 (10 places)
  • East - Edward Worledge Junior School Key Stage 2 (10 places)
  • North - Cromer Junior Key Stage 2 (10 places) and Millfield Junior Key Stage 1 & 2 (10 places)
  • West - Nelson Academy Key Stage 1 & 2 (10 places)

Autism Bases - Key stage 3 and 4

  • Breckland – Dereham Neatherd High School (20 places)
  • City – The Hewett School (10 places) & Open Academy (10 places)
  • North – Cromer Academy Trust (10 places)

State funded special schools

A state funded special school is specifically organised to make special educational provision for children and young people with special educational needs who require provision over and above what is available in a mainstream school.

There are eleven state funded special schools in Norfolk and provide specialist provision for a range of very complex learning needs and disabilities.  The following have specialist provision for children and young people who have learning difficulties or complex needs alongside ASD.

  • Orchard House, Fred Nicholson School: 12 Key Stage 1-4 day places for ASD with learning difficulties
  • Harford Manor School: 18 places Key Stage 1-4
  • Clement Lodge, Sidestrand Hall School: 6 residential places for ASD with complex needs
  • Strands, Sidestrand Hall School: 12 day places for ASD high functioning

Non-maintained schools

  • Most children and young people with an EHC plan will have their educational needs met in a maintained school or college.  A small number of children and young people require specialist provision and an even smaller number will need to attend very specialist setting in the independent (private) sector
  • Norfolk County Council operates a select list of independent providers that are in or close to Norfolk to avoid where possible a child or young person being educated a long way from home  
  • Occasionally there is a need to go further afield to other providers that are approved on the Section 41 list

Norfolk’s Local Offer in development

The Wherry School is a proposed new specialist free school in Norfolk for pupils with Autism.  Find out more here.

Colleges and sixth form colleges should publish information about the SEN support they offer to young people with SEND on their websites. 

A few Norfolk colleges also offer specialist provision for young people who have ASD.

City College Norwich

College of West Anglia

East Norfolk Sixth Form College

Easton & Otley College

  • Future choices is a course split into three main groups: an ASD group, A PMLD group and a BESD group.  Mayflower is the name of the ASD group at the Easton campus

Great Yarmouth College

Paston College can be used to search for care homes and other care settings in Norfolk and across the country.