For parents of children with autism

Speech and language


Lincolnshire NHS children’s therapy services website has a Social communication and autism page.     Click icon to browse.     Scroll down for a list of expandable topics.     They also have a page about their services.

Also, Norfolk NHS children’s and young people’s health services has a Speech and language section.     It starts with Talk & play, under communication development before going on to a range of speech and language topics.

  • Perhaps Attention autism, under extra help, might be worth pointing out.     For more about it, see our page on this approach.
  • Although you cannot access the services in Norfolk, their site might offer some helpful guidance.     There are short video clips on some pages.

 Speech and language UK

Speech and language UK offers a comprehensive picture of children’s communication issues.      Click icon for guidance.      It includes the following:

  • Signs of difficulty – what to look out for
  • Ages and stages of development – what is normal?
  • Resource library.      There are many fact sheets.

Talk to a therapist

  • You can talk to a speech therapist on the phone for 30 minutes free of charge.
  • You can take part in free webinars.      Click icon to book either.

Their nearest speech and language assessment centre is Dawn House, Nottinghamshire.

  Tips for parents

The FCA fostering website has set out a few tips for communicating with a non-verbal autistic child.      Click icon to view.

There are a number of ways to foster communication that can work alongside speech therapy.      For more tips see this article in Verywell website.      For a more detailed presentation see this page in Kinderly website.      They provide training for professionals.

  Speech therapy

Lincolnshire NHS has an open referral system for children’s speech therapy.        Parents can phone children’s therapy services to ask about it.      Click icon for their social communication and autism page.       Specifically see Speech and language therapy.

See also Family Services Directory.      Speech therapy can cover a wide range of issues of significance to autism.

Private therapists

The Association of speech and language therapists in independent practice (ASLTIP) offers a search facility for private therapists.      Click icon for search form.

  • Here is their list of speech therapists catering for pre-school children with autism, within 30 miles of Grantham.      The nearest is near Sleaford.     new        Alternatively, they list many offering online therapy.
  • Here is their guide to therapy for children.

 Attention autism

Paying attention is a key skill for learning but children with ASD tend to have shorter attention spans than other children.     Attention autism aims to help with this.      It can be used to help to improve communication.      Click icon to find out more.

Visual aids

Visual aids and techniques may help young children to develop speech and language.      Click icon to find out more.       It includes Mr Tumble and the Makaton language.

Total communication

Options autism have produced a helpsheet about the development of communication skills in people on the autism spectrum.       The author is a specialist speech and language therapist. 

Click icon to view.

Tap button to download, then open in PDF viewer.  

Download PDF – 610KB

The girl who thought in pictures

Dr Temple Grandin did not speak until the age of 4.      Doctors did not think she would ever speak but her parents refused to accept it.       With determination, her unusual mind enabled her to improve animal welfare on farms around the world.      Click icon to find video clips introducing the book.      See also Amazon.       The book contains an illustrated rhyming tale for children followed by reading matter for parents.


Children’s centre staff encourage parents to think beyond the disability:    e.g. Come and play aims to promote independence, confidence and social skills.         It may be good for toddlers with delayed speech.        Little explorers could be another one to consider.       See about
children’s centres in Grantham or Ambitious about Autism has a lot of online discussion about educational issues.      Look for the magnifying glass icon on the top right of their site and search for specific topics.


Even if a child does not develop speech, all is not lost.       Click icon for a few examples.      See also Tips for parents above.

Growing up


The National autistic society has a set of three pages on communication:

  • Quick tips to help communicate more effectively with someone on the spectrum.
  • Tools and devices to help with communication – including Social stories, comic strip conversations, and visual supports.
  • Understanding and developing an autistic person’s communication

Click icon for the webpage. new     Our Speech & language page has several related items, too.

Total communication

Options autism has produced a help sheet called Total communication.       It takes a broad view of communication, including the environment at the time.

Click icon to browse.

Tap button to download, then open in PDF viewer.  

Download PDF – 610KB

Children on the autistic spectrum develop their own ways of thinking and coping with life.
See also our Safe social networking page.

What age?

Select an age range icon for some resources that might help parents in supporting their children’s development:


Siblings, that is brothers and sisters, can be affected by their sibling on the autistic spectrum.

  1. Options Group have produced a handy new guide to supporting siblings.
  2. The National Autistic Society has a page with information about siblings.
  3. It is not all bad news.      See: What my autistic brother has taught me.
  4. NetMums has a discussion about Copy-cat siblings.         Mums talk about a neuro-typical child copying one who is on the autistic spectrum.       They also have a discussion about Explaining autism to a sibling.
  5. Here is a complete article about Explaining Aspergers to a child.

Dogs for Good

Specially trained dogs can be a great help to people with autism but they are very hard to come by in the UK.        Family dog workshops are much more accessible, though.

  • Dogs for good has centres around the UK.       They hold workshops to help families get the most out of their pet dog for a child with autism.       The booking link at the bottom of the page takes you to locations of workshops, e.g. Lincoln.      See also FAQ about the barriers and options.
  • Here is a heart-warming story about a boy and his dog working together particularly well.

For an article about choosing pets for autistic children see:  Children’s development specialists

  Emotional well-being

There seem to be some new  resources and services developed to support for emotional well-being and mental health in Lincolnshire.       Click icon for GAIN guide.

Also Childline is a free, private and confidential service where you can be yourself.      Get in touch about anything:  online or on the phone at any time.       See website.

Medical appointments

Options autism has produced a help sheet on preparing for appointments with medical or clinical professionals, produced by a speech therapist with Options.

Click icon to view.      See also: more help sheets.

Tap button to download, then open in PDF viewer.

Download PDF – 290KB

Letting go

Yvonne Newbold is a writer, speaker and trainer who is also the mother to three children.      She writes, One of the hardest parts of being a parent of someone who is very vulnerable is learning how to trust other people to share in the taking care of them.      In my experience, the difference is nearly always entirely down to whether or not the staff member concerned and I, as the family member, have a good relationship, built on mutual trust, respect, acceptance and understanding.

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