Member Organisations

Autism & CAMHS Toolkit

The Autism Alliance and the National Autistic Society formed a Cross Sector Partnership in 2016 sponsored by the Department of Health. One of our first priorities was the access of children on the autism spectrum to community CAMHs.

This priority was decided upon due to the number of stories that we had heard from families who had struggled with obtaining the support that they needed. One of the difficulties appeared to be the rigidity of the pathways of care. Children on the spectrum often had co occurring conditions such as anxiety or depression. Parents said they were often told that difficulties were due to their child’s autism. If other conditions were identified and another path followed, staff would not understand autism and not be able to adapt services to meet needs. It is almost as if someone with autism cannot possibly also have mental health issues.

We were told that young people were taken off waiting lists due to not arriving on time or because they could not enter the premises due to environmental factors. Very few felt that their autism had been accommodated and understood in the context of their mental health problems. This often left families feeling desperate and unsupported.

As a partnership we looked at what we could do to try and support services to better meet the needs of these young people. This toolkit is our attempt to provide information and examples of good practice / ideas all in one place that might make it easier for service providers, commissioners and autistic young people and their families to attain good access to the services and support needed.

I would like to thank all of those that have helped us to develop these resources, details of whom are in the acknowledgments section.

Jane Howson – Chair of the Autism Alliance