2.1 NAS services
The National Autistic Society (NAS) has assembledfor families with an autistic member. It includes a wide range of service providers as well as services offered by the NAS itself, two of which are outlined below.
Besides the many services that the NAS offers to autistic people, it also offers some excellent services for parents and families. Parents of younger children (up to age 8) may be able to access an
EarlyBird is a three-month programme that provides group training sessions for parents with individual home visits. Video feedback is used to help parents apply what they learn as they work with their child in the familiar home setting.
EarlyBird programmes are run by trained and licensed professionals with the aim of:
- supporting parents in the period between diagnosis and school placement
- empowering parents to facilitate their child’s communication skills
- supporting parents to deal resourcefully and positively with their child’s behaviour, including more challenging aspects.
EarlyBird Plus is an enhanced form of the service that invites a professional who works with the child (such as a teacher at school) to attend the sessions, so that the child receives consistent support.
Evaluations of both EarlyBird and EarlyBird Plus programmes are positive (Stevens and Shields, 2013). Parents who have participated show reduced stress, more positive perceptions of their children and enhanced communication with them.
The two EarlyBird services are here:
Parent to Parent Service
‘I cannot thank the volunteer I spoke to enough. For the first time as a parent I felt understood. I have felt so isolated for such a long time’.
The NAS also offers a telephone service for parents seeking advice, support or just someone to share things with. The