Support for people with Autism

This page aims to provide one single point of access for adults with autism and their families to find out:

  • how to ask for a diagnosis of Autism in Derby
  • how people who are diagnosed can get an assessment for support
  • how carers can get an assessment for support
  • what support is available to people with a diagnosis.

Autism is a lifelong neuro-developmental disorder affecting about one in 100 of the population. Most adults remain undiagnosed. It can have a profound effect across all age groups on individuals, their families and work place/employability. Individuals with autism can have poor social, health and employment outcomes.

The condition is thought to be genetic, can't be 'cured' and affects individuals in unique ways specific to each person. Current thinking is that underlying it are the same three core impairments. (The triad of impairment):

  1. Difficulties with social interaction.
  2. Difficulties with social communication.
  3. Difficulties with social imagination.

Individuals with autism can be resistant to change and/or restricted interests. There may be hyposensitivity or hyper sensitivity to sound, light, touch or pain for example with individuals experiencing sensory overload from their surroundings.

There can be significant co-morbidities associated with autism such as obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit, hyperactivity, learning disability and epilepsy. The impact of living with autism or with related problems can mean that people with autism need support to cope with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction or eating disorders.

The term Asperger's syndrome is often used to refer to someone with autism who is not significantly intellectually disabled, can be of above average intelligence and appear to function on a daily basis quite well. People with Asperger's will still struggle with aspects of interaction, communication or behaviours.

Those diagnosed with autism can be of above average intelligence. Although perhaps not having the genius type 'special skills' seen in films, individuals with autism often have positive and desirable attributes such as honesty, reliability and attention to detail.


Diagnosis is undertaken by the Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust who take referrals from a range of professionals. There are two ways individuals and / or families can access a diagnosis of autism. The first is by your GP. Every GP Practice in Derby has been provided with a booklet which will help them to make reasonable adjustments for people with autism, to decide who may need a diagnosis and then how to refer patients with diagnosed autism for support services.

The second is self referral directly to the Trust. You can do this by contacting: 

Autistic Spectrum Disorder Assessment Service
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
St Andrew’s House
3rd Floor
201 London Road 
Derby, DE1 2SX

Telephone: 0300 123 4574


Care Act Assessment

A Care Act Assessment is carried out by adult social care who can be contacted on 01332 640777. Explain that you have a diagnosis and that you are asking for the automatic care act assessment. The Autism Act 2009 requires local authorities to provide this.

The assessor will then carry out the assessment to be able to agree what your needs are, what outcomes you are aiming to achieve and will work with you to plan how best to achieve them. More detail on assessment can be found on the Assessment for adult social care page.

Carers Assessment

Families and those who are unpaid carers of people with autism may also need support. A Carers Assessment is an opportunity to discuss your needs as a carer and identify any support needs which link to a suitable plan to meet your needs. More detail on carers support can be found in the Carers section.

Post Diagnosis Support

Those with a diagnosis can access support from a number of places. Those with a diagnosis who ask for a care act assessment and who meet the threshold for funded support will be referred on for specialist support. Those who do not meet the threshold will be signposted to local voluntary agencies specialising in autism and self help groups where people with autism and family members offer advice, information and peer support.

Here are some links to local organisations:

Umbrella support people with autism up to the age of 30 to engage in social and leisure activities and provides services for all family members.


Ronnie MacKieth Centre
Royal Derby Hospital
Uttoxeter Road
Derby, DE22 3NE

Telephone: 01332 785658

Opening hours: 10am to 2.30pm


Umbrella House
64 Birdcage Walk
Derby, DE22 4LD

Telephone 01332 521229

Opening hours: 10am to 3pm

Derbyshire Autism Services provide support to local people with autism and their families. For information on support available, please visit the Derbyshire Autism Services website.

Relate Derby and Southern Derbyshire has counsellors specifically trained in understanding Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Face-to-face appointments are available as well as appointments via telephone, LiveChat and email support.

Contact Relate for more details on 01332 349177. 

A Relate Helpline for adults is available every Tuesday 10.30am to 4.30pm and Thursday 1.30pm to 4.30pm.

Speak direct to a counsellor on 0808 178 9363 (calls free from a landline) or there is a free LiveChat drop in for adults which is available every Wednesday afternoon 2pm to 5pm.


Relate also have a new Living Well with Autism service which is available to self funded Derby city residents or those with a direct payment. Further details can be found on this website:

The National Autistic Society (NAS) Autism Helpline provides impartial, confidential information, advice and support for people with autism spectrum disorders, their families, professionals, researchers and students.

393 City Road 

Telephone: 020 7833 2299   
Helpline: 0845 070 4004 (Monday to Friday - 10am to 4pm) 

There is a national campaign, called STOMP, to reduce over reliance on medication for people with learning disabilities and/or autism. Further information can be found on their website

Local and National Reports on Autism

The Government has published a Progress Report on the National Strategy, Think Autism. There is also a colour contrast version and Easy Read version of this report.

Areas are also asked to complete a return to Public Health England against a set of questions about autism services in the locality. This is known as the  Autism Self Assessment Framework (SAF) and the details of the national analysis of the 2016 and 2018 SAF's can be found on the website.

Revised Derby and Derbyshire Autism Strategy 2017-2020

We have worked with Derbyshire County Council and Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group to update the joint Autism Strategy. The strategy has been updated to take into consideration:

  • The National Autism Strategy Guidance and its supporting guidance.
  • Feedback from local people with autism and their families and the county wide Autism Partnership Group.
  • Information from the Derbyshire Transforming Care Partnership.

The Autism Partnership Board welcomes the views of autistic people and their families. Comments can be made by emailing

Children and Young People

Details of assessment and support for children and families will be added to this page in the coming months. Details about support and services for children and young people can be found in our Local Offer, Autism pages.

General Advice

Details of the councils general advice services and links to independent advice agencies in the city can be found in the Advice and Benefits section.

Care and Support Jargon Buster

The Care and Support Jargon Buster, created by Think Local Act Personal, is a Plain English Guide to the most commonly used social care words and phrases and what they mean. You can view the Jargon Buster on the Think Local Act Personal website.

Developing this Web Resource

We are committed to improving access to information and advice to people with autism and their families. If you have any suggestions for improving this page then please email your suggestions to with your suggestions making sure that you put 'autism web page' in the title of your email.


Contact details

Post address:
Adult social care
People Services
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 640777
Minicom: 01332 640666
Customer Service Centre
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street