Support for autistic people Autism is a lifelong condition and affects people of all ages. There is help and support available for autistic people at every stage of their life, depending on their needs. Some of these services will be delivered by us, the NHS, education providers or the Government. Early years and education If your child has autism it may mean that they have learning difficulties in certain areas or require additional support at school. This is often referred to as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Childcare providers have to provide an inclusive service that meets the needs of children with SEND, including autism. Every school is required to have a teacher who is responsible for special educational needs, often referred to as a Special Educational Needs Coordinator, or SENCO. It's their job to ensure that children's needs are met with the appropriate level of support. You can find out more about services for children and young people with SEND on the Essex Local Offer website. Essex Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service offer confidential and impartial advice to people who use SEND services. Moving from children's to adult services Planning the move from children's services to adult services for people with autism, sometimes known as transition, normally starts in year 9 at school. A team of professionals will make a Transition Action Plan. This could include things like a special educational needs statement or an Education, Health and Care plan. These will be discussed at annual reviews and should focus on the young person's wishes for their future. This can include help with personal budgets and support plans. People who struggle with everyday activities may be referred for occupational therapy. Help for adults Autism can affect your life in all sorts of different ways. If you are finding it difficult to look after yourself and manage particular tasks, you can contact us to discuss your care and support needs. During this discussion, we'll ask you about day-to-day tasks you might be struggling with, and how we can support you with them. This takes place over the phone. You might want to have an independent advocate with you, to make sure your needs are captured accurately. Volunteering and work Voluntary work means working unpaid for a short period of time. This is a good way to gain valuable experience, learn new skills and build self-confidence. You may be able to arrange this through your school or college. The National Autistic Society has advice for people looking for a job, and information about your rights in the workplace. Financial support Your autism might mean that you need extra financial support. You can apply for benefits on GOV.UK. Find out more about benefits for autistic young people and adults on the National Autistic Society website. Support for carers If you look after a child, young person or adult with autism, you could be eligible for extra support. You can find out more about getting a carer's assessment, respite care and financial support for carers on our support for carers pages.