I think my child has special educational needs

Information about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and where to start if you think your child has SEND.


Autism is a developmental condition, sometimes referred to as autistic spectrum condition or ASD.

An assessment of the needs of Hillingdon's autistic residents was completed in 2022 and forms our  Joint Autism Needs Assessment (PDF) [725KB]. The assessment contains recommendations that are being addressed in the All-age Autism Strategy, which is currently in development with autistic people and other partners.

In this section

What is Autism?

Sometimes referred to as autistic spectrum condition, autism is a lifelong, developmental condition that affects how a person relates to and communicates with other people, and the way in which they experience the world around them.

Autism used to be considered a condition that mostly affected boys but there is now a large increase in females being diagnosed as late as their 30s and 40s. 

Read more about Autism

Where can I get help with diagnosis?

A diagnosis is the formal identification of autism by a health professional, such as a paediatrician or psychiatrist.

If you think you or your child may be on the Autistic Spectrum, follow these steps.

  1. Make a list of the reasons why you think you or your child may be autistic.
  2. If you think your child might be autistic, talk to your child's school, ask for their views and if they have information that might also indicate your child has Autism.
  3. Make an appointment to discuss your thoughts and the information with your GP.

    If your GP agrees, they will make a referral to the Child Development Centre and/or relevant health professionals. 

Find out more about getting diagnosed and what happens during an assessment

What support is available to me?

Autism (ASD) Pathway

If you are waiting for a formal diagnosis or your child has recently been diagnosed with autism, you can use the Autism (ASD) Pathway to help you find support for your child's different behavioural needs.

Use the Autism (ASD) Pathway

Care and support directory

Information on benefits/entitlements, workshops and training, support available to you and your family/carer(s) can also be found in our Care and Support Directory.

Find local support via our directory

National organisations

The following links are for national and local organisations that can provide further information.

  • CAAS
    Supports, educates and empowers individuals diagnosed with ADHD or autism, their families, and the community.
  • Dash
    Provides vital support and events for people with disabilities in Hillingdon.
  • Dimensions
    Provides research-based, outcomes-focused services for people with learning disabilities and autism. They also offer vital specialist services, including sector leading Positive Behaviour Support, alongside supported living and residential care. They give details of autism-friendly environments in your area, including cinemas and libraries.
  • HACS
    Supports autistic people to discover their true potential and lead purposeful, fulfilling lives.
  • The National Autistic Society
    Provides information, support and pioneering services and campaigns for a better world for people with autism and their families.

What local activities are there for people with autism?

In Hillingdon, there are various activities that are specifically designed for people with autism. Many of these activities are listed on our Care and Support Directory.

Search our directory for activities for children and young people with autism

Search our directory for activities for adults with autism

Page last updated: 04 Apr 2024