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Local authorities

Please be aware that this section contains information prepared in 2009 and may now be out of date. Some links may no longer work. We are reviewing this section.

Advocacy . Data collection and management . Early years . Family support and short breaks . Home-based provision & elective home education . Multi-agency support . Parental engagement . Local Authority Policy . Preventing exclusions . Building local and regional capacity for children with complex needs and reducing out of authority placements . Regional co-ordination . Mainstream or special school placement decisions . Transition


All children and young people have the rightto have their views, wishes and feelings taken into account whendecisions are made about their lives. This legal right is protected inArticle 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and in theChildren Act 1989. Find out more about advocacy.

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Data collection and management

The Children Act 1989 requires every local authority to open and maintain a register of disabled children within their area. This information should include children on the autism spectrum and be used for the purposes of planning and providing appropriate social services. Find out more about data collection and management.

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Early years

Early years - before the age of five - is a crucial time for children on the autism spectrum. Diagnosis and identification is occurring at an earlier age and there is increased recognition that early intervention is vital to improved outcomes. Find out more about early years.

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Family support and short breaks

Families ofchildren on the autism spectrum can face considerable stress. Somechildren can require constant supervision, help with self-care skills,may eat a limited range of foods, be very resistant to change, and canspend many hours awake when others of the same age would be asleep. Thelives of siblings can be severely affected. Find out more about family support and short breaks.

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Home-based provision & elective home education

Local Authorities should provide or arrange access to a range of provision (from early years to post-16) for children on the autism spectrum and ensure a coordinated and coherent approach. Find out more about home-based provision.

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Multi-agency support

Children on the autism spectrum often need access to a wide range of services and need a co-ordinated package of support. They should be able to benefit from services which are easily accessibly at key transition points in their lives, designed around the child and family, and delivered in a coordinated and timely manner. Find out more about multi-agency support.

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Parental engagement

There is strong evidence of the beneficial impact of parental engagement in public services on children’s outcomes. Parents of disabled children and young people care passionately about the services they receive, whether agencies are working together and most of all whether the needs of their child are truly being met. Find out more about parental engagement.

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Local Authority Policy 

The Government wants disabled children to be a priority, both nationally and locally. Aiming High for Disabled Children (AHDC), launched in May 2007, is the transformation programme for disabled children's services. Find out more about local authority policy.

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Preventing exclusions 

The National Autistic Society's (NAS) Report: Make School Make Sense (2006) found that one in five children with autism had been excluded from school and that figure rises to one in four for children with Asperger syndrome. Find out more about preventing exclusions.

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Building local and regional capacity for children with complex needs and reducing out of authority placements 

Many local authorities' children's services, together with their partners, are experiencing challenges in securing appropriate provision for children and young people with a range of complex and low-incidence needs, including autism. Find out more about local and regional capacity.

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Regional co-ordination

It is often difficult for a local authority in isolation to meet the whole spectrum of needs of children on the autism spectrum. The sharing of resources between authorities enables a broad range of appropriate provision. Find out more about regional co-ordination.

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Mainstream or special school placement decisions

The Government’s 10 year special educational needs (SEN) strategy Removing Barriers to Achievement promotes an inclusive school system where mainstream and special schools cooperate. Find out more about school placement decisions.

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Preparing for and managing change is important for all children, but this is particularly so for those on the autism spectrum who can find change difficult. Find out more about transition.

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