One of the main decisions you'll have to make is the type of school you want your child to go to.
You'll have to decide if you think your child should go to a:
This can be a hard decision to make and there might not always be lots of choice where you live.
You can read advice from the National Autistic Society about:
The National Autistic Society education rights service can also give advice about school options by phone or email.
If your child can go to a mainstream school or nursery, you can help them get support if you think they need it.
Speaking to staff at their nursery or school is the best place to start.
You could speak to:
Talk to them about the needs you think your child has. For example, if they need help with communication, learning or social skills.
Ask the teacher or SENCO what support they can provide.
This may be things like:
This may be enough for some autistic children. Other children may need extra support.
If your child needs extra support their school does not usually provide, they'll need an education, health and care plan (EHC plan, or EHCP).
This is a document from your local council. It says what education and health needs your child has and what support they should get.
This can either help:
Your child does not need to have been diagnosed with autism to get extra support.
The whole process can take a few months. Ask the school what support they can offer while it's happening.
The council may decide your child does not need an EHC assessment or plan. If this happens, they should tell you why.
If you do not agree with their decision, you have the right to appeal.
You'll be told how to do this when you hear from the council.
To get a place at a special school, your child will usually need an EHC plan.
As part of an EHC plan, you have the right to tell your council what school you'd like your child to go to.
The council can only refuse this if they think there's a clear reason why the school is unsuitable.
The charity IPSEA has more about choosing a school with an EHC plan.
Getting support for your child can be a long and complicated process.
You can get advice about it from:
It may also help to speak to other parents of autistic children.
Find out more:
Going to school can be an anxious time for any child. Some autistic children might find it very hard.
The National Autistic Society has advice about coping with:
Page last reviewed: 18/04/2019
Next review due: 18/04/2022