Resources

Some helpful places, people and organisations that either I have used or that have been recommended to me. Your feedback is very welcome in order to keep the list up to date, relevant and accurate.

Autistic voices

Ask Me, I’m Autistic – a closed Facebook group (moderated) – you can ask to join

Autistic Not Weird – by Chris Bonnello, a former teacher who is also autistic. Balanced and humorous

Someone’s Mum – a warm and honest account of parenting a young autistic boy

The Artism Spectrum – powerful writing about life on the autism spectrum

On Twitter:

Neurodivergent Rebel @NeuroRebel (also Youtube)

Rhi @OutFoxgloved

Amythest Schaber @neurowonderful (also Youtube)

Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism @thinkingautism

#ActuallyAutistic – by and for autistic people. Non-autistics are politely requested not to use this hashtag but you will learn much from reading tweets and responses

#AskingAutistics – for non-autistics to ask questions. Be very respectful.

#autisticparents – for autistic adults who are also parents (either with a diagnosis or self-diagnosed)

Playschemes and clubs

Challengers – Tel: 01483 230939

Yippee Club – club for children aged 5-11

YIP 4 Youth – Tel: 01737 222859 – youth club and playscheme for 12-18 year olds

Support for families

Autismlinks – quick links to information about autism support

Carers’ Support Merton – Tel: 020 8646 7515 – service and advice to unpaid carers living in Merton

Contact-a-Family – advice on your rights and local support services

Family Voice Surrey – speaking up for families of children and young people with additional needs

Fidgetbum – to help with sleep for children who kick covers off or who need light pressure to sleep well

InterAKtive – Surrey-based support group. Also runs playschemes

Merton Mencap – support, talks and workshops for Merton parents; ‘Talk Autism’ and ‘Kids First’ – Tel: 020 8687 4644

Me too and Co – a parent-led charity offering support to children with additional needs and their families in the Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames and surrounding areas

National Autistic Society – Surrey branch

Nordorff Robbins Music Therapy, Croydon

Pickles support group – based in Stoneleigh

SOS!SEN – expert independent helpline for Special Educational Needs

Surrey Social Services

Surrey Young Carers – support for siblings

Financial Support

Carer’s allowance

Cinema card – allows carer to go free to participating cinemas

Disability Living Allowance for children

Free nappies for children over 3 years old

M-card – every child or young person on Merton’s Disability database can be provided with an M-card. This can help with fast-tracking long queues on days out and often the carer will go free

Autism-friendly organisations – UK

Assistance dogs for autistic people

Clarks shoe shops – autism-friendly fitting service

National Trust – provide carer’s card (free) on request

Odeon – autism-friendly relaxed screenings

Tesco and Asda supermarkets – quiet hours for autistic people. Contact your local store for details

Toys-R-Us – hold autism-friendly days, when the store is closed to the general public and the lights are dimmed. Contact your local store for details.

Virgin Holidays – developing autism-friendly holiday packages

Autism-friendly places to visit in Surrey and beyond

Abinger Hammer, nr Dorking – natural playground and woodland, very quiet

Autism in Museums – an up-to-date summary of autism-friendly museums around the UK

Battersea Park – walks, adventure playground, ducks, ice cream, boat rides, water fountains and crazy golf

Bocketts Farm – free entry for carers; sandtimers provided if needed; tractor rides

Brooklands Museum – free entry for carers; chance to board an aeroplane and a bus, and see all the different modes of transport; café; bus rides

Bushy Park – companion cycling

Diggerland – autism-friendly theme parks in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire

Garson’s Farm, Esher – pick-your-own fruit, vegetables and flowers; cafe

Gatton Park

Historic Royal Palaces – access guides online

Horniman Museum – parkland with mini-zoo, mini aquarium, exhibitions, interactive display, natural history, storytelling

Jungle Golf, Hersham – a crazy golf course with jungle animals set in a wonderful jungle-themed course. The elephant squirts water and the volcano makes sounds – fun for all the family. Discount for people with disabilities and their carers.

Mayfield Lavender – late June to mid-September – calming smells; nature; beautiful colours; cafe

Painshill Park, Cobham

Polka Theatre, Wimbledon – autism-friendly relaxed performances

Unicorn Theatre – autism-friendly relaxed performances

Technology

Autism apps – comprehensive list of apps created for people with autism and special needs

ASD-specific app reviews – University of Edinburgh

E-safety for young autistic people in Key Stages 3 and 4

Grid Player app – a free Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) app for those who do not speak or who have unclear speech

SEN software