Caring for someone with Autism brings forth unique challenges. We've created a set of information around Autism so that you will be able to learn more about it and what support is available for people caring for someone with Autism in Gateshead.


There are some common behaviours you can look out for:

Children with autism will make little effort to interact with others, including their parents. They will prefer to play alone rather than with other children.

Play can be repetitive, playing with the same toy or doing the same activity again and again. They have a tendency to line things up in rows.

There will be a strong need for routine. Small changes to this routine can cause the child to become distressed.

Children will have difficulties with social interaction and communication. They prefer familiar surroundings with familiar people. Speech can be delayed and, in some cases, not develop at all.

Children can display challenging behaviours. Children with autism can show signs of aggression due to the frustration of not being able to communicate their needs.

Children perform actions known as stims. Children can display behaviours such as spinning, rocking back and fourth, and flapping arms. Stims can be self-soothing for the child who feels distressed.

Children can have sensory issues involving either or all of the five senses. For example, they may dislike loud noises due to hypersensitivity to their hearing or only eat bland food due to hypersensitivity to taste.

Getting a diagnosis

If parents are looking to get their child assessed for autism, they can request a referral to the assessment team. This referral can be made by their GP, Health Visitor, school SENCO, or any other health professional involved in their child's care.

A team of autism specialists carries out the assessment. It will involve observing your child at school and home, asking for reports from your child's GP and school, and asking you to discuss your concerns. It is a good idea to write down what you would like to discuss.

What is an EHCP?

An EHCP is an educational health care plan. This is planned support for your child up to the age of 25. You can apply for this after your child has received a diagnosis via your local authority. This plan ensures your child gets the correct support for their needs throughout their education. It is a legally binding document and any support identified, must be provided.

For further information and support on getting an EHCP, please contact Gateshead Carers.

Living with autism

It can be challenging caring for someone with autism, however, there are things you can put in place that can help.


Children with autism like routine. Stick to a routine and let your child know if there will be a change. Help them prepare for this change by discussing it with them in advance. Sometimes it is not always possible to stick to the same routine. For example, if the car breaks down and you need to take your child to school using public transport. In this situation discuss this with your child. Let them know exactly what will be happening.

Triggers and coping mechanisms

Triggers are things that can cause your child distress and lead to challenging behaviours. Once you become aware of your child's triggers, the best thing to do is to avoid them. This is not always possible. If a trigger cannot be avoided, plan how to deal with it. For example, if your child is overwhelmed due to loud noises, they can wear ear defenders. Or if your child displays behaviours of concern when hungry, always have a snack handy.

Coping mechanisms are ways of dealing with challenging behaviours caused by triggers. Coping mechanisms can help you and you child cope in difficult situations. They can include;

  • Listening to music
  • Going for a walk
  • Breathing exercises
  • Using a sensory toy
  • Calmly talking to your child
  • Doing a relaxing activity



School can be overwhelming for a child with autism. The busy environment can cause sensory overload and your child becoming distressed. It is helpful if the school knows your child and how best to support them.

School Passport

This is a little booklet put together by your and the school. It will contain loads of helpful information about your child, including their likes and dislikes, the lesson they like and don't like, what makes them happy and sad, and how to support them if they become upset. Make it fun with photos and pictures. The school can add photos of your child's teachers and information about them. Get your child involved with making it and ask what they want to add. 

School-home Book

This is an excellent resource for communication between the school and the parents of the child with autism.

How does it work? Your child's teacher can write in their book topics such as;

  • How their day has been
  • What have they been doing
  • What went well
  • What challenges have they had
  • Any concerns

The child can write in book. Your child then brings this home with them, and you get an insight into their day.

Parents can then add any questions they may have to the book. This can be related to any aspect of school life.

Add anything the school may need to know for the next day. Such as if their child has had a bad night's sleep which may affect their behaviour. Maybe they have shown challenging behaviours on that morning, this behaviour may be carried forward into the school day. This allows the teachers to plan ahead and best support your child throughout their day at school. The child can also add any concerns to the book.

Transitioning Schools

This can be difficult for all children, but especially difficult for a child with autism. Preparation is key. Talk about the new school with your child. Make regular visits to the school, and meet the teachers. Use the school passport to let the school know how best to support your child.

Home Life

Home should be a safe environment for them to fully express themselves, while also being encouraged to show positive behaviours. Your home should;

  • Provide routine and structure
  • Help your child understand autism by talking about it
  • Allow them to stim
  • Have a quiet place available for them to go if they are feeling overwhelmed
  • Praise good behaviour

Parent Courses

The National Autistic Society offers support programmes for parents of children with autism.

EarlyBird Programme - aimed at parents of children aged 2-5

EarlyBird Plus Programme - aimed at parents of children aged 5-9

Teen Life - aimed at parents of children aged 9-18

The Toby Henderson Trust have many webinars aimed at supporting parents of children with autism.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Autism?
Autism is not an illness or disease. People with autism think differently to those who do not have autism. It is a lifelong condition. With the correct support, those with autism can live a happy, fulfilled life.

What is Asperger’s?
Asperger’s is a type of autism. People with Asperger’s tend to excel academically, although they still struggle with social skills and communicating with others.

How do I get a diagnosis of autism?
If you suspect your child may have autism you should talk about this with your GP, health visitor, or Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator (SENCO) at your child’s school. They will discuss the process with you.

What is an Individual Educational Plan?
This is a plan devised by you and the school to support your child. It should include any resources and strategies the school can put in place to fully support your child to achieve the desired outcomes.

Will autism change with age?
Autism can change as your child gets older. As you live with autism both you and your child can put in strategies that help you understand the condition more and deal with situations effectively. During puberty, autism can become more challenging as your child is dealing with physical and hormonal changes.

Want to learn more?

If you are caring for someone with Autism, be sure to contact us, and discover what opportunities may be available to you and the person you care for.