A Better Start Southend

Autism Acceptance Week 28 March – 3 April 2022

We’re supporting Autism Acceptance Week.  Like all people, autistic people have their own strengths and weaknesses.  Meet Eli. A lively boy who is autistic. Eli and his mother have written a poem about being autistic.  

About autism

The definition for autism is ever changing as we find out more. Autistic children have varying and complex needs from 24-hour care to simply needing clearer communication and a little longer to do things.   

Autism is a complex condition that a recent study* has indicated might affect as many as 1 in 57 people. 

It can be difficult to diagnose autism in very young children. Many children can reach relevant development stages quicker than others, while some may reach them a little later than the expected age. This isn’t generally a cause for concern. But if you are worried, you can contact your Health Visitor and arrange for them to visit you and assess how your child is doing developmentally.

The Southend SEND Independent Forum has produced Southend’s Guide to Your Neurodevelopment Journey.

Livewell Southend provides information on Southend’s Local Offer in terms of support for children and local people with SEND (Special Educational Needs).

ABSS Support

Let’s Talk

If you have concerns about your child’s speech, language or communication skills, why not come along to our stay-and-play Let’s Talk walk-in. Your child can play and interact with others in a relaxed environment, and you will meet a Speech and Language Therapist for information and advice.

Family Support Workers for Social Communication Needs

The team provides support for families whose child is on the multi-disciplinary waiting list or has a recent diagnosis related to concerns around communications, interaction and/or imaginative play.


The friendly YourFamily team are here to listen and to signpost you to expert and experienced support.

Local Support

Little Heroes ASD

Little Heroes ASD Support Group is a parent led support group for families of children who are on the autism spectrum. They provide support and assistance for families within Southend-on-Sea and the surrounding areas from as soon as they discover their children have additional needs. They have a full calendar of regular activities and events. 

SEND the right message

This is a parent-run charity that provides support services and training for families with special educational needs and/or disabilities in Southend and surrounding areas. They have worked with Takiwatanga Support Services and Essex Family Forum to produce a pack of useful information for families with a neurodiverse child. You can download the pack here.

Chaos & Calm

Chaos & Calm seeks to enrich the live of children with complex needs and those who care for them by providing opportunities for training, play, care, and support.
There are two different weekly sessions that take place in our very own ABSS Parent, Family and Community Hub which are open to all families living in Southend. More details available here.

Other Helpful Information

The National Autistic Society

The UK’s national autism charity also provide a wealth of information on their website

Reference: Roman-Urrestarazu A, van Kessel R, Allison C, Matthews FE, Brayne C, Baron-Cohen S. (2021) Association of Race/Ethnicity and Social Disadvantage With Autism Prevalence in 7 Million School Children in England. JAMA Pediatrics, 175 (6):e210054. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.0054 

Find out more here 

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