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.

I regularly share helpful articles and ideas on my Facebook page.

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

Agony Autie – hugely engaging YouTube videos. Agony Autie also runs a closed group on Facebook for autistic people and allies. You can ask to join – it’s a positive and supportive place to learn and ask questions. To find it, go to “Agony Autie’s AUTISTIC SAFER SPACE”

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