A Directory of Organisations Offering Support to those Impacted by Disability, Specifically Autism.

General Support

National Autistic Society are the UK's leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families. They provide support, guidance and advice, as well as campaigning for improved rights, services and opportunities to help create a society that works for autistic people.


NAS Online Community is a place for autistic people and their families to meet like-minded people and share their experiences.

https://www.autism.org.uk/what-we- do/community

NAS Autism Service Directory is an online UK-wide database designed to help autistic people, their families and the people who work with them professionally, to find out more about local and national services and events. They can find residential, supported living and respite services, employment support, diagnostic services, schools and nurseries, social groups and leisure activities, solicitors and advocacy organisations, conferences, accredited courses and short courses, and more.


Kent Autistic Trust are a well-respected specialist provider of services for young people and adults with autism and have a passion for people on the spectrum. Autism Information Advisors work throughout Kent and Medway, offering a wide variety of support and services.


Kent Parents and Carers Together is a parent carer forum for parents of children and young people with disabilities and additional needs.


Kent Autistic Trust Support Groups run across Kent and Medway. To find out more information including upcoming dates and times, please head to their website.

https://www.katfamilysupport.co.uk/support- groups

Autism Education Trust helps children and young people with autism to receive an education, enabling them to reach their potential. It is led by two national autism charities – the National Autistic Society and Ambitious about Autism and is supported by the Department for Education. The AET offers training, resources and assessment guidelines.


The Autism Toolbox is a free online resource developed to support the inclusion of autistic learners.


Child and Family Support, Information and Advice

The Avenues Trust Group works with people who are disabled, autistic or have complex support needs, helping them to enjoy fulfilling lives in the community. They offer children, young people, adults and older people the right level of support at the right times so they can develop or retain maximum independence throughout life


Beams is a local charity that supports disabled children, young people and their families.


Beams Family Advice Service’s aim is to ensure parents, carers and young people have access to timely, accurate, and independent information as well as advice and support. This enables you to take an informed and active role in any decisions relating to SEND processes and day to day activities.


Beams Father’s Club offers support and guidance to fathers and grandfathers of children with Autism. You are also welcome if you work with a family that has a child with ASD.

https://wearebeams.org.uk/fathers-club/ Tel:01322668501

Bower Grove Support Group meets to offer support for families of children with special and additional educational needs. The meetings are open to all parents and carers of pupils at our school.

https://www.bower-grove.kent.sch.uk/parent- support-group

Carers FIRST has a single point of access for carers and anyone wanting to find out more about them and the services they offer from assessments to financial support.


Challenging Behaviour Foundation provide information and support to families and professionals, and we are committed to driving change to ensure that people with severe learning disabilities whose behaviour is described as challenging and their families can live happily and have active lives in their communities with access to healthcare, employment, leisure and education.


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Contact a Family is for every shape and size of family, whatever they need and

whatever their child’s disability, we’re here.


Cerebra offers guides, factsheets and other resources full of comprehensive and current information on a wide variety of issues – physical, social and legal – that parents and carers of children with brain conditions may be facing. Services available include a Sleep Advice Service, the Cerebra Innovation Centre, our book and toy library and LEaP, our innovative problem-solving project that runs alongside our Legal Advice Service.


Dandelion Time gives children and families time and space to love and trust again. Time to heal from emotional trauma and abuse. Time to rebuild confidence and strengthen relationships And time to develop skills and aspirations for a brighter future


Dmax Disability Sports Club is a sports club in Maidstone for 6 – 19-year olds. £3.00 per session

https://local.kent.gov.uk/kb5/kent/directory/ser vice.page?id=Q0FjtIWBx0s

Fegans provides a full range of professional counselling services in our centres and also in primary and secondary schools throughout London and the South East. Our BACP registered counsellors are all fully qualified and work with parents and children to enable them to manage their lives, build relationships and make positive choices.


Find a Voice Outreach distribute the equipment from their Resource Library to individuals, schools, hospitals, SALT's and carers, across Kent. This service is free of charge and the communication aids are loaned for a period of six weeks at a time.

https://www.findavoice.org.uk/outreach- services/

IASK provide free, impartial, and confidential information, advice and support about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) for children, young people up to age 25, parents and carers.


Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (IPSEA) offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). They also provide training on the SEND legal framework to parents and carers, professionals and other organisations.


Imago a social action organisation delivering diverse services and supporting individuals, organisations and communities across Kent. They deliver a range of services and projects, supporting independence, reducing social isolation and creating opportunities, for some of the most vulnerable in our communities.


Kent Friendz offers tailored practical support for people with learning disabilities to lead independent lives and their families. The service also offers transport to leisure activities.

https://local.kent.gov.uk/kb5/kent/directory/servic e.page?id=rQ3uehheYhk

Me2 is a peer mentoring programme for young people with additional needs or disabilities who want to meet new people and develop their skills over a 20-week period. Mentee and mentor matching is based on similar age, likes and interests.


Options Autism provide care and education to children, young people and adults with autism, complex needs and learning difficulties. We offer a pathway of services, with specialist teams of highly trained staff, including education, care and therapeutic teams.


Options Autism Resources is a series of free to download, help sheets offering advice and guidance for parents and carers who look after children, young people and adults with autism.


Portage is a home-visiting educational service for pre-school children with SEND and their families. Portage aims to work with families to help them develop a quality of life and experience, for themselves and their young children, in which they can learn together, play together, participate and be included in their community in their own right. Portage aims to play a part in minimising the disabling barriers that confront young children and their families.


Scope is the disability equality charity in England and Wales. They provide practical information and emotional support when it's most needed,

https://www.scope.org.uk/ https://www.scope.org.uk/services/

Scottish Autism have a dedicated team of experienced autism advisors who are on hand to give emotional and practical support to families and professionals. Whether it is signposting to particular services, information on getting a diagnosis or just someone to talk to who understands, we have someone here who can help.


https://www.scottishautism.org/services- support/support-individuals/autism-advice-line- 01259-222-022

SIBS offers support for the brothers and sisters of disabled children and adults.

https://www.sibs.org.uk/supporting-young- siblings/

SOS SEN offer a free, friendly, independent and confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). They concentrate on helping people to find their way through the legal and procedural maze aiming to obtain satisfactory provision for a child’s special needs.


KCC Youth Hubs have several places for young people to come meet friends and hang out, with lots of things going on. You can also drop in and meet with local advisers and get specialist support.

https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and- children/young-people#sectionpanel-two

Space 2 be Me work across west Kent with disabled children and young people with additional needs aged from birth to 25 and their families. We work in partnership with our member families to design all our activities and services.


West Kent Mind: ASD Carer’s Support Group is a support group for parents and carers of children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASDs) – this can include Autism, Asperger Syndrome and other related conditions. The group is currently meeting online via Zoom.


West Kent Mind Mum’s Support Group is a mutual support group for mums who are finding life with children challenging in some way. A relaxed, friendly and confidential space in which mums can share their feelings with others who have had similar experiences, which may include stress, isolation and depression.

https://westkentmind.org.uk/what-we- offer/mums-support-group

Young Carers Crossroads Care Kent, we offer a range of support, information, advice and guidance to Young Carers.

https://www.crossroadskent.org/how-we-can- help-young-carers

Young Kent support young people (aged 8-25 years) from across Kent & Medway, via our work with the youth sector, in county’s youth clubs, and via direct delivery of support programmes for disadvantaged, disengaged or disabled young people.

https://local.kent.gov.uk/kb5/kent/directory/ser vice.page?id=ryuK0GHcj6U

Sport and Activities

AET - The Den is an interactive site full of videos, quizzes and information covering all sort of topics including information about sibling relationships.

https://www.autismeducationtrust.org.uk/the- den/

Bubbles Swim Club is a Maidstone based swim club for children, teens and adults who find it difficult to access mainstream classes. We provide fun sessions tailored to individual needs, whether it be sensory impairment, behavioural difficulty, anxiety, learning or physical disability, all are welcome.


Flip Out Ashford brings all the bouncing fun you can possibly imagine to Kent. With 59 trampolines and two stunt areas, you can make the most of these great facilities. Flip Out has something for children, teenagers and adults - with designated areas to ensure you have the very best experience and reach great heights.

https://www.flipout.co.uk/explore/flip-out- ashford/6

Tiger Gymnastics offer a variety of gymnastic activities and programmes suitable for all genders and abilities for school aged children.


Junior Bowls Tonbridge are an important part of the local community where our members can meet up and enjoy the great sport of bowls in a warm social environment, developing friendships that will last a lifetime.


Maidstone Leisure Centre have a whole range of fun activities to help keep children of all ages active, whether that’s through progressing their sporting abilities, or for you to enjoy time together as a family at the weekend or in the school holidays.

https://www.maidstoneleisure.com/family- children/

Youth Hubs KCC have a number of places for young people to come meet friends and hang out, with lots of things going on. Young people can also drop in and meet with local advisers and get specialist support.

https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and- children/young-people/youth-hubs

Community Information


Gatwick: PDF visual guides to the terminals can be downloaded and lanyards can be worn. In addition, North Terminal now has a sensory room for those travelling who might benefit from a calm and relaxed environment before their flight. Heathrow: PDF guides to the terminals are available and sunflower lanyards can be worn to alert airport staff that you may need assistance.

https://www.airport-parking- shop.co.uk/blog/uk-airports-need-step- assistance-autism/

ASDA Happy Little Helpers shopping lists are now available in more than 300 of our larger stores to make trips to the supermarket less stressful for autistic children. Many the ASDA stores take part in an Inclusive Hour in which for one hour every week when they turn down the lights and turn off the music and tannoys to help people with autism, dementia and who may otherwise struggle with noise.


Please contact your local store for more details.

The CEA Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema.


The Citizens Advice provide free, confidential, and impartial advice and campaign on big issues affecting people's lives. Their goal is to help an individual find a way forward, whatever problem they face.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/north- west-kent/

The Counselling Directory National Directory Connecting you with help for your mental health.


Dandelion Time In a combination of one-to-one and group family sessions, families take part in practical farm and craft activities in which they engage with the natural world and processes, bringing therapeutic and developmental benefits whilst families enjoy being together in a relaxed supportive environment.


DIAL provides free confidential information and advice on all aspects of disability to the residents of North West Kent


Dimensions support people with learning disabilities and autism to have a louder voice, choice and control in their lives. Over 7000 colleagues deliver ambitious, effective, personalised support often with those whose previous support has not been successful.


Dimensions Autism Friendly Looking for autism friendly things to do? Find out about Dimensions’ autism friendly cinemas, libraries, museums etc.

https://dimensions-uk.org/get- involved/campaigns/dimensions-autism-friendly- environments/

Supporting Paws is an Assistance Dog Organisation based in South East England primarily providing Autism and Neuro disability support dogs.


Morrison’s Quiet Hour Morrisons has ‘quieter hours’ on Sundays and Saturdays with no music, checkout beeps or PA announcements for the first hour of shopping. Sunday quiet hours operate from 10am-11am and a Saturday between 9am – 10am.