Category Archives: Parents

For parents of children with autism

About Us

Grantham Autistic Information Network (GAIN) is dedicated to supporting parents and carers of children and young people on the autistic spectrum.       It is a not-for-profit voluntary group based in the market town of Grantham, in the rural county of Lincolnshire, in the British Isles.        It is Tax Registered as a Charity with HMRC.

Our story

Our founder member, Jane Emery recognised the absence of  one-to-one support for those struggling with (or without) a diagnosis of this condition.       She became our first GAIN chair, when she set up the support group in 2006.

After Jane stepped down, due to ill health, Christine Barrs was promoted to serve for several years as chair.      With the help of her committee,  Christine did a great deal to put GAIN on the map.      There was Picnic in the paddock each autumn, a Christmas party each year and quite an extensive series of speaker meetings from people involved with autistic support.      She put a lot into building the team that took over from her, standing down in 2013. 

Edward Mayes was then elected as chair and developed our range of events for children, which he had already started with cinema screenings.       See events for more about these.

Our events

Mainstream events are not always suitable for children with autism.       Click icon to find out why we put on events.

Some of the venues provide support for children with autism in their personal development.       We held coffee mornings at Belton Lane children’s centre before Covid, and other events at Ambergate sports college a good few years ago.       We keep in touch with both of them.
See events for other venues.

Our donors

Thanks to all our kind donors, including:  Autism Support Network 2021     Harrowby Utd      Fox & Hounds      Newton House Nursery     Start Right Nursery      Sunrise Rotary      Meridian Daylight Lodge      Sleaford Funday     Girl Guides     Co-op branch     Firefighters     Walt Disney Cinema.

Thanks also to our individual donors.

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Click preview to view our 2022 introductory poster.       See also:  Events updates











Specialist Services

Options Autism

This is the new name for Options Group.      They accept referrals for specialist autistic services in North Lincolnshire.      They offer:


NHS services

Lincolnshire NHS offers a range of services to support people over 18 with learning disabilities and/or autism  in the community.      Click icon for their web page.      The Lincolnshire Family Services directory has a series of pages covering that range of services .       See: Introduction and notice links to specific services at the bottom.

Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists may be able to help children and adults on the autism spectrum with sensory issues.       Where can they be found?       Click icon to help find out.

Floating services

Framwork’s floating support aims to promote the kind if skills and confidences needed for young people aged 18-25 in Lincoln to live independently.      Self-referrals can be made.      Click icon for more information.

Cauldwell Autism Services

Cauldwell Children’s Centre was opened at  Keele Science & Innovation Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 5NT, in 2019.      Click icon to find out about autism services.        The page has a service guide download.       Autism services cater for ages 4 – 11.      See also:  Home       FAQ      apply       map.

Family graffiti 

Before Covid, Family Graffiti was putting on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based workshops in Sleaford and Boston for parents – including those with an autistic child.       Children learn via their cognitive process.    They are constantly receiving and retaining information from everything they see, do, hear, witness, touch, taste… but children are psychologically ‘tuned in’ with their primary carer.    Therefore, cognitive behavioural therapy is quicker, more effective and longer lasting when it is delivered via the parent.       Click icon to see if anything is happening now.


The National Autistic Society (NAS) Early Bird Programme is a three-month programme designed to help parents and carers understand their child’s autism and find ways to communicate, interact and generally make contact.       See Family support to find out more.


Advance offers support and housing across Lincolnshire for young people with a learning disability.       Their support is primary delivered in the Boston area.       Anyone can contact them.

Family Action Support

North East Lincs Family Action Support Team (FAST) is a specialist service for families with children with attention and behavioural difficulties, including Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other complex needs, aged 3-17 years. 


Linkage supports children, parents and carers where the children are aged between the age of 5-18 and have special educational needs, learning disabilities /difficulties across the whole of Lincolnshire.       The service is free.      They can:

  • Provide guidance and reassurance in completing referral, benefit forms and support in following appeal processes and attending tribunals.
  • Provide support on strategies that can be used in the home or in school.
  • Support young people and their parents getting the right support in school, preparing to leave school or college, training courses, colleges, supported internships and supported employment  and day activity opportunities.
  • Planning for the future – work, supported accommodation, available leisure activities.
  • Meet children and families at home, liaise with the school.

Click icon for more information,

Autism East Midlands

Autism East Midlands aims to to ensure people with autism can live their lives with dignity, choice and independence.      The nearest services to Grantham are in the Nottingham area.      They offer:

Short breaks

Lincolnshire County Council has a Short breaks team.

Developmental conditions


A Developmental co-ordination disorder.


These are conditions that are associated with autism and may be of most interest when a child or young person is developing their life skills.       For conditions that are likely to be of interest for adults as well as children click icon.


Options has produced a help sheet about developing early handwriting skills for children with autism.       Click icon to view.      See also:

  • Letter dominoes is a game that is easy to make yourself.
  • Here is a video tutorial setting out several aids – including pencil grips.      It offers insight into what does and does not work.
  • This video tutorial demonstrates the sock method of teaching proper pencil grip.
  • This video tutorial demonstrates writing 3 letters of the alphabet.       There are more related videos in the margin, too.
  • Some mums provide a sloping board/surface to write on.


Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that mainly affects the way people read and spell words.     Click icon for an easy reading introduction.      Scroll down for comments.

    • For more detail, see  British Dyslexia Association  (BDA).     They also have resources for parents.       And much more …
    • See Dislexia outreach for support in Lincolnshire.      They support parents, teachers, and pupils.
    • See also under handwriting aids below.


Dysgraphia is having difficulty learning to:     1. recognise and write letters and words       2.  link sounds, speech and writing.

  • For an easy reading introduction, see  About Health.      See links for more detailed information.
  • Here is a collection of scientific presentations:  Science direct       They address Specific learning disabilities and creativity.

Doc iconSpecific Learning Difficulties

SpLD is an umbrella term used to cover a range of frequently co-occurring difficulties, more commonly:

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia / DCD
  • Dyscalculia
  • D.D / A.D.H.D

Specific Learning Difficulties (or SpLDs), affect the way information is learned and processed. They are neurological (rather than psychological), usually run in families and occur independently of intelligence. They can have significant impact on education and learning and on the acquisition of literacy skills.

In general, a student may be diagnosed with a SpLD where there is a lack of achievement at age and ability level, or a large discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability.

See also an analytical view.


  • Here is an introduction to echolalia.       Mimicry is an efficient way to experiment with different sounds and practice emerging social language skills. 
  • This article offers a medical analysis.       People with echolalia repeat noises and phrases that they hear.      They may not be able to communicate effectively because they struggle to express their own thoughts.        If they struggle to do anything other than repeat what has been said, they may have echolalia.        Some children with autism are regularly tested for this during their speech lessons.
  • Here is a more detailed article about echolalia with autism Even echolalia is a normal way to learn language.      Most children use echolalia to learn language.       The majority of children babble in a rhythmic way, which is actually mimicking the cadence of our language. 
  • In adults Echolalia should normally disappear around two and half years of age.      It is often considered abnormal if it persists beyond age 3 years.


Dyscalculia is a specific difficulty with arithmetic, or maths.

  • The Dyscalculia website looks pretty definitive.         It offers a handy introduction
  • For more information see Dyscalculia Talks.       It has articles to read as well as video clips to watch.
  • The Dyscalculia Conference website is aimed at professionals, but might be interesting to anyone teaching their own child at home.

Growing up

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.       new


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

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.


Options Group 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.   

Visual aids

Visual aids may be helpful for most young children with autism.      Click icon to find out more.

Attention autism

Attention Autism is an approach to getting autistic children to join in with adult led activities.       Click icon to find out more.

Medical appointments

Click icon for an autism help sheet on preparing for appointments with medical or clinical professionals, produced by a speech therapist with Options.          See also: more help sheets.


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 range of pages 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.

Letting go

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.

What age?

Chose an age range for some resources that might help parents in supporting their children’s development.



Options Autism

Options Autism has two schools in our area.        Click icon for an index of all their schools.

  • Options Barton is in Humberside.       It is for 8 – 19 year-olds.       It provides a holistic service to children with autistic spectrum conditions and associated complex needs.
  • The Shires is in Rutland.      It provides specialist education and care for young people aged 11 – 19 years of age with autism, associated learning disabilities and complex needs.      new


Here, and  in Lincoln and Peterborough schools pages, are many of the special schools in Lincolnshire.      They may be of interest for pupils and students with additional needs.      See also in:  Lincolnshire directory

To look for more schools try the Good Schools search facility:

See also SEN – it includes Grantham special schools.


Willoughby School is an all age (2 – 19) Special School, for pupils with profound, severe and complex learning needs.      See: website


The John Fielding Special School is in Boston.       They cater for students aged 2 – 19 with a severe leaning disability.      Some are on the autistic spectrum.


Mayflower Specialist School Academy Trust is made up of Aegir and Warren Wood schools.       Click icon for their admissions policy.

Aegir is a specialist academy in Gainsborough for students aged 11 – 19, with moderate to severe learning difficulties.      These may include autism and/or dyslexia.       See:  welcome       website

Warren Wood is a specialist academy in Gainsborough for pupils aged 2 – 11, with a pervasive or complex difficulty.      They could include autism and/or or dyslexia.       See:  welcome           website

Lincolnshire Wolds Federation

The federation is made up of St Lawrence, Horncastle and St Bernard’s, Louth.             They cater for students aged 2 – 19 with moderate to severe/profound learning difficulties and complex needs.       Most are on the autistic spectrum.


Gosberton House Academy is a specialist primary school, near Spalding, that caters for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.       See website

The Priory School and the Garth School are part of the Spalding Special Schools Federation, which caters for pupils between the ages of 2 – 19 with wide ranging special educational needs.

  • The Garth School is a day special school for boys and girls with Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD), Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).             
  • The Priory School is A special state school for pupils aged from 11 – 16       It has a parent/carer support group


Woodlands Academy is a specialist school in Spilsby for SEMH pupils – Social, Emotional, Mental Health, aged 11 – 16.      See:  welcome       website       map        review

Eresby Special School, in Spilsby, caters for pupils aged 2 – 19, with a wide range of special educational needs.       See:  directory       website

Alternative settings

If things are not working out for your child or teenager at a mainstream school there may be other places to go in Lincolnshire that might be able to help.       Click icon to find out more.      Notably, pupils who are too unwell to attend their own school may be referred to The Pilgrim School.      It has several bases around the county, e.g. Lincoln.

Types of school

SEMH needs
Severe Learning Difficulties

Related Calendar

Dysart Park Fun Day

GAIN will have a stall at The Dysart Park Fun Day this year, on Sunday 3rd July 2022, 11am to after 4pm.       See:: Journal      map.

We would be grateful for any donated tombola prizes – old toys, books, food/drink, plants, trinkets, toiletries, teddies, etc (we won’t turn anything down).        Please contact GAIN at
01476 600 074 to arrange a collection or to drop off.       You may need to leave a voicemail message.

Family dog workshops

How  pet dogs can help families that have a child with autism.       Dogs for Good has workshops planned for September 2022.       Details to follow.


The events on this page are chosen because they may be of interest to a child and/or adult on the autistic spectrum.         See also Local Groups for autism support groups in the South Lincolnshire, in the UK, and beyond.        They put on events in their area.

Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum

Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum, host a range of Zoom online meetings.       Wed 8th June 2022 – Local offer workshop.      Click icons to for more information.

EHC plans

Lincolnshire autistic society has booked IPSEA for their next training day on Wed 2 Mar 10am-:30pm on Zoom.     The topic is Reviewing existing EHC plans.      Click icon for details.      Please email:  to reserve a place – subject to availability.

EHC plan workshop

IPSEA legal training for parents on Tuesday 25th Jan 2022.      The course is now entirely free.      Click icon for course outline.      It will be on Zoom, so participants need access to a laptop.       Please email:   to reserve a place.

Ron’s gone wrong

Stamford arts centre, St Mary’s St, PE9 2DL, will be putting on their relaxed screening of this Disney animation on Wed 22 Dec, 2021 at 2pm.        It is about an awkward boy and his computerised robot.      Click image for details and to book.      See also the film and scroll down to video preview.

Audience members are asked to wear face coverings and follow the signage.       Box office: 01780 763203.

Jack and the beanstalk

Polka Dot Pantomimes will be performing the 2021 pantomime at the Guildhall Arts Centre, St Peter’s Hill, Grantham, NG31 6PZ on Saturday 18 Dec 2021     This particular performance will be sensitive to, and accepting of, audience members on the autistic spectrum.       Click image for details and to book.       Box office:   01476 406158.

Green Synergy

Green Synergy are putting on events at Hillside Garden, in Lincoln, for people with mental health issues from April – June 2021.      This is part of their Better together partnership project to offer pre-employability opportunities.      Click icon on the left to find out more.
See also their website

They are also running their popular Get Into gardening course as part of their Move employability project for people interested in becoming self-employed gardeners.      Get in touch with them before 15 April for this course.      Other options may also be available.      Click icon on the right to find out more.

They have also launched a project for 10-14 year olds who want to do more for the environment and their community.      Their Green Influencers learn new skills and gain experience and confidence.      The scheme aims to make environmental social action a regular, habitual part of young people’s lives.       Sign up with Brodi:       Tel: 07586 777623

Virtual workshops

Check out the online workshops from Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum, on the left.      They are free to members.       Contact workshops, on the right. are free to all.      Some workshops seek to address issues related to autism, others to foster wellbeing.

Worsening health

The NHS is putting on free virtual training during March 2021 to help family carers Identify early signs of worsening health in a person with a learning disability.       Click icon to find out more.

Virtual workshops

Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum are arranging two free series of workshops on Zoom.       One is aimed at friends, relatives and carers of children or adults with additional needs.       Dates range from 5 Jan 10 Feb 2021.      It is called Waving not drowning!        Click icon on the left for Waving not drowning!

They are also putting on LPCF week of SEND.  –  from 25 Jan – 29 Jan.      These are aimed at parents and carers of children with additional needs and professionals who work with them.       Click icon on the right for poster.

More workshops

Contact has quite an extensive range of  virtual workshops for families with additional needs in Jan – Feb.       See workshops for more information.

Positive behaviour

There were a few places left as of Tue afternoon for a Promoting Postivie Behaviour and Autism Workshop.      The workshop will be on Fri 4 Dec 2020 at 9:45am and it will be online.       Click icon for details.

Lincoln conference

PAACT is taking bookings for the 22nd Lincoln annual autism conference, Mon 16 – Fri 20 Nov 2020.       Click icon for details.

Lincoln Castle

Only Lincoln Castle grounds are open to the public until 2 Dec.      Click page icon to see visitor update.       Exclusive autism-friendly Explorers sessions at the castle have not yet re-started, though, as of Sept 2020.       Next one may be in the evening.       Click castle icon for background information.

The Groove

The Guildhall Arts Centre has a few virtual events and on-line resources but The Groove has not re-started as of Sept 2020.      Click page icon to set what they have to offer.

Dysart Park Fun Day

Unfortunately Dysart Park Fun Day has been cancelled for 2020.       Click icon and scroll down to find the post cancelling all their events.

Makaton course

The Makaton course for Friday 20 Mar at Belton Lane Children’s Centre, Grantham has been cancelled


Zoo Co presents a visual story with original music, puppets and tap dancing.        Performed by a deaf and hearing cast.       This relaxed performance, created in partnership with ADHD Foundation, will be at the Guildhall Arts Centre in Grantham on 17 Feb.       Click icon for web page or poster thumbnail.


Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum (LPCF) will be putting on a general signposting event on Fri 31 Jan in Hubberts Bridge, near Boston.
It will be free to parents and carers.         Click icon and scroll down for details.        See map

Mental health engagement

Give Lincolnshire NHS your feedback on mental health community rehabilitation.         Click icon  for dates in January around the county.


Polka Dot Pantomimes are performing another season at the Guildhall Arts Centre theatre in Grantham.       Click icon for information about relaxed performances.        They are scheduled for 2nd Jan 2020 at 2pm & 6:30pm.         Phone the booking office using (01476) 406 158  for available seats at:  6:30pm       (2pm  seats sold out.)

Farm quiet hour

Rand Park Farm, near Lincoln, will be putting on a quiet hour for children with additional needs and their families.        Date: 14th Dec, 9 – 10am.        See map

Making sense of the senses

Free conference with Dr John Biddolph on Wed 4 Dec at The Fleet, Peterborough.       Click icon for more information including booking details.

Autism Conference

PAACT is taking bookings to attend and for information stands for annual conference in Lincoln on Tuesday 19th Nov 2019.
The venue will be The Showroom, Tritton Road, Lincoln, LN6 7QY.        Click icon for poster.        See also map

Lincoln Castle Explorers

An exclusive opportunity outside of opening hours for children and adults on the autistic spectrum to visit with their families.        Lincoln Castle Explorers, 2nd Nov, 9am – 10am.        Click page icon for event details and to book or castle icon about autism-friendly opening.        See map.

Makaton course

An early years specialist will be running a Makaton course on Friday Oct 4th at Belton Lane Children’s Centre, Grantham.       It will run from 9.30 – 12.30pm and then 12.30pm until 3.30pm with a working lunch.       She will cover Level 1 in the morning and Level 2 in the afternoon.      The cost is £15 per level payable to the trainer on the day.        Morning session recommended for parents.       If you would like to attend contact:         See Speech & language about Makaton.


Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum (LPCF) will be putting on a general signposting event on Wed 30 Sep in Market Rasen,        Click icon for details.        See map

Harrowby football match

Harrowby vs Cottesmore football match on Saturday 14 Sep at Harrowby United’s Dickens Road Community Stadium, Grantham, NG31 9QY.       Free entry for under 16’s and carers with Carer’s Allowance letter.        See also map.

Dysart Park Fun Day

GAIN will have a stall at The Dysart Park Fun Day again this year, on Sunday 7th July 2019, 11am to after 4pm.       See::  Facebook      map.

We would be grateful for any donated tombola prizes – old toys, books, food/drink, plants, trinkets, toiletries, teddies, etc (we won’t turn anything down).        Please contact GAIN at
(01476) 855 070 to arrange to drop off or collect.        Thanks to everyone who has already donated prizes, including:  Poundland, Home Bargains, The Works and Subway.

Makaton course

An early years specialist will be running a Makaton course on July 5th at Belton Lane Children’s Centre, Grantham.        It will run from 9.30 – 12.30pm and then 12.30pm until 3.30pm with a working lunch.        She will cover Level 1 in the morning and Level 2 in the afternoon.       The cost is £15 per level payable to the trainer on the day.

Healthy Conversation

The NHS will be holding public engagement drop in sessions around Lincolnshire during May and June.       They want to take soundings about the future of local  health services.

Family dog workshops

Workshops for families with children diagnosed with autism in Lincoln on 7 Jun.       Click icon for details.        See Growing up about Dogs for Good.


Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum (LPCF) will be putting on a general signposting event on Wed 22 May in Lincoln,

Overcoming trauma

Hesley are putting on a free event for parents about overcoming trauma and building resilience for people with autism.        It will be on 8 May in Nottingham.        Click icon for details and to book.

Easter Quest

An exclusive opportunity outside of opening hours for children and adults on the autistic spectrum to visit with their families.        Alice in Wonderland Easter Quest at Lincoln Castle.        Follow the white rabbit and seek out the clues to solve the Mad Hatter’s riddle and claim your chocolate reward.        Sat  20th Apr, 9am – 10am.        Click icon for more information.

East Midlands events

Workshop for parents of special needs children – Coping with Challenging Behaviour.       Wed, 3rd Apr, 10am – 12pm.        25 FREE places available for parents.        At Voluntary Action Rutland, Rutland Community Hub, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6RB.         To book your free place email with your name, address and telephone number.        Please also state the age of your child with special needs, and the nature of his/ her disability.        Click poster preview to view.

Speech and language

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.


Where to start?

Talking Point offers a comprehensive guide to children’s communication issues.         Click icon for guidance.      Look for Starter guide download.       You might also want to look for the following:

  • Ages and stages of development – what is normal?
  • Some children struggle – what to look out for.
  • What can I do?      Finding the right school.

Choose from the menu list down the left hand side

Talking Point services are in Lincolnshire Family services directory.      Their nearest centre is in Nottinghamshire.

Attention autism

Attention Autism is an approach 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.

Dillan’s Voice

Apple released a video clip called Dillan’s Voice, in 2016, about a teenager with autism.      He had difficulty getting across what he wanted to say until he started typing it into his iPad, which had an app to read them out loud.

Click icon to find the video clip.      There is also an accompanying video clip called Dylan’s Path outlining his life experience.

Total communication

Options group 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.

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.         t may be good for toddlers with delayed speech.        Little explorers could be another one to consider.       See about
children’s centres in Grantham or Wider area.


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 to read article.        Its themes are developed in Diversitypress.        There are also one or two similar articles in Whatisitlike?.

Lincolnshire Family services directory has a few entries with a search for non-verbal.       Linchfield is in the Market Deeping area.

Mothers’ insights

Researchers at two Universities in the USA interviewed mothers of non-speaking autistic children to find out how they form bonds with their children.       They noted the vital role of the mothers in interpreting the behaviour of their children.       Click icon for article from UC Santa Cruz


Web links

If a text link has a line through it like this, .  it means that the link might be broken.     That is the page might not be there anymore.

PDF files

When you click a PDF icon the text may sometimes appear uneven, as shown on the right.       Simply click the   icon at the top of the display once or twice and it should become much more readable.

The icon above is by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

This  version of the Icon is by Ethandcltd – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Site safety

Security plugins

This site uses the WordPress website development system.      It benefits from the rich choice of security plugins available.     The development of the WordPress core system and plugins is an on-going process, and they are regularly updated.

This site has one of the better security plugins which is updated more often than most.       The developer encourages the active engagement of the site administrator in setting up the plugin.      It provides the site with an extra layer of protection against unauthorised tampering from hackers.  .

Visitor identity

This site collects very little visitor data.       Click thumbnail to see the data held about visitors by the statistics plugin used on the site.       It is pretty anonymous.

This site does not ask for any visitor identification – such as name or email address.       The facility for visitors to this site to leave comments is switched OFF, which makes it easier to keep it safe.       It avoids the need for visitors to log in.

You can leave comments on our Facebook or Twitter  pages.       See Contact us for our email address.

Zoom in

If the mouse pointer turns into the magnifying glass icon above on a picture or image just click to zoom in.


Pixabay is the source of many of the images on this website.       Hover over image to see credits.       Image file names often include credits as well.

Error messages

On rare occasions visitors to this website may get an error message like the one on the left, for example.      This is a problem at the computer centre that hosts our website.        It does not mean there is a problem with your computer.       It might be wise to wait an hour or so before trying to view the GAIN website again.       Everything should be fine before too long.

Local Groups

Rainbow Stars

A Sleaford based group:  for Parents/Guardians and Siblings with Children who have Autism and additional Needs in Lincolnshire.      Click icon for their website.      They have a hub in Sleaford which is open daily – look at the bottom of their web pages.       They put on events for all ages.      new

They have a closed Facebook page, which means you need to click Join group to see the posts.       A good forum for autism mums to make new contacts.       Please be aware that once you have joined you need to be logged in to Facebook to see the posts.


There are a number of support groups specifically for the autistic spectrum in the towns around Grantham.


Louth Area Autism Support Group was formed by parents.        They offer help, information, care and support to parents and carers of children and young people who have been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.       Meetings are held all year round on the 4th Saturday of every month from 2 – 4pm at Trinity Centre, Eastfield Road, Louth, LN11 8DJ.      Click icon for their Facebook page.

Sharing Minds

Sharing Minds BostonSharing Minds is a support group for  parents and carers of children with special/additional needs.      They run drop-in meetings on the last Wednesday of the month in term time at Sunset House, Boston, PE22 8QS.      The people that run it have experience of coping with children on the autistic spectrum.       Click icon then scroll down for more information.


  • Asperger Autism Support Group runs drop in sessions at Whittlesey Youth Centre, near Peterborough.        Click icon for details.       See also map.
  • Autism Peterborough run one off support group meetings and conferences in Peterborough.       See:  Twitter       map.        Click icon for their Facebook page, where you might find more events.


  • Sharing Minds also have family disabled Swimming sessions every Sunday,
    at a new time and venue:   2- 3pm, at the South Park centre, Skegness, The pool is dedicated to the group for these sessions, so it is not crowded and families are among friends.       Parents are expected to accompany their children in the pool.      Click picture for poster.      See also map.
  • There is also an outdoor Exercise group for parents & carers of disabled children every Tuesday 10:00 – 11:30am at Wainfleet Road Pavilion, Skegness PE25 2EL.

Rainbow Flyers Youth ClubRainbow Flyers Youth Club

This is a special needs club at Ruskington Youth Centre, NG34 9DY, on Sundays 3-5pm.      Ruskington is a village near Sleaford.      For an introduction see About and for more information click graphic.

There is no need to join Rainbow Stars to attend.       Parents can simply turn up with their children.      There are both electronic and physical games for the young people and coffee and conversation for parents – who are asked to stay with their children.       Click Facebook icon for their news or tap mobile icon.       They would love to see some new faces.


A Lincoln based support group for parents or carers of children and young people on the autistic spectrum.        Click icon for website.       Email:

  • Evening meetings on the first Thursday of every month at 7.30pm
  • Daytime meetings at 10am on the third Thursday of the month during term time.
  • Facbook small iconA monthly games club for members over the age of 8.
  • They have a closed Facebook page, which means you have to make join the group to view it.       Look for Join group button on right side of page header.

Facbook small iconNewark & SherwoodNewark group

Click icon to see Newark & Sherwood autism support group’s Facebook page.
For up coming events click the picture on the right.
If there are not many events it might be worth having a look at past events.

Gainsborough group

Gainsborough Autism Parent Support Group – GAPS.       See:  map

Market Harborough groupLittle explorers

This group is about 30 miles from Grantham, in Leicestershire, based in a family home.       It is an
activity club that started out as an Autism friendly home based club but broadened out to serve a wider range of children.      They have a fine website and a Facebook presence.
See also:  Mumsnet        map.

Hull & East Riding group

The National Autistic Society has a branch based in Hull.      It offers support to families.      Click icon for their website.      See also meetings.

Alternatively, Matthew’s Hub is for people aged 16+ with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism.       It is also based in Hull.      Click icon for his website.

Education news

SEND proposals

Ambitious about autism published its response in March 2022 to UK government proposals for Special educational needs.       It is a mixed review.      Click icon to find it after any adverts.


Reception places 2022

Do you want your child to start reception in September 2022 ?      If so, be sure to apply for a reception place at a school.      The date of birth for children would be between 01/09/2017 and 31/08/2018 and you can apply from 15 Nov 2021 to 15 Jan 2022.

a.  Lincolnshire parents can pick up a letter from any Lincolnshire primary school which will provide them with the information they need to apply.
b.  They can request a paper application form or make a phone application by contacting the Education Team at 01522 782030.
c.  Click icon to apply online.       See also for information about school admissions.

Lincolnshire SEND plans

A £50m investment was approved by Lincolnshire County Council for SEND provision some time ago.        Click icon for summary.      The council is working with Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum to develop a new strategy for special education.

County news reported construction getting underway in Dec 2020. 

Ombudsman complaints

Children with special educational needs and disabilities are increasingly being failed by the system designed to support them, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.        The Ombudsman is now upholding nearly 87% of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan cases.       Click icon for full article.

Educational psychologists

Following a report showing an insufficient number of educational psychologists, £30 million extra for training has been announced.          Click icon to read about it.

SEN crisis

The mother of an autistic son, aged seven, wrote about her fight to get him assessed and placed in a school that could meet his needs.        Click icon to read the article of 26/Oct/2018.

Robot coding

Click icon for a video about a computer coding project that is believed to stimulate children on the spectrum to take an interest in and develop social & communication skills.

Lincolnshire SEND strategy

Lincolnshire County Council is developing a new strategy for special education.       They give it the title:  Building Communities of Specialist Provision for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in Lincolnshire.       The Lincolnshire  Parent Carer Forum has dedicated a section of their website specifically to these developments.          Click icon to find out about it.

Parliament inquiry

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism has produced a report.          The Click icon to see the Special Needs Jungle’s (SNJ) take.            The SNJ is a parent led group.            See SEN Information for more about them.

Teenage geek

Autistic teenager creates artificial intelligence but ‘can’t get school place’.              It took Kari Lawler only a week to build her own virtual assistant, which operates on the same lines as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.            It’s incredible when you consider what the large technology companies have spent on producing something not very different to what Kari has managed to achieve in such a short space of time.               Her parents have not yet been able to get a school place for her since she was diagnosed and finished at primary school.

SEND Reforms

  • How are the SEN & Disability reforms of 2014 going?              The picture does not seem to be all bad but there is room for improvement.
  • Updates continue to be added.
  • If you are experiencing difficulties you are not alone and it might be worth looking for helpful details.               For example, one survey revealed that only just over half of pupils with SEND (54%) believed that teachers and other school staff were preparing them well for adult life once they leave school/college or training    Could this perhaps reflect a generalised insecurity felt by pupils as they look ahead to the future? 

Click icon to browse articles about reforms.       See also: What Parents told the government        See also:  Botched job?