We provide support for early years settings, primary and secondary schools working with young children and people with a diagnosis of Autism.

We are part of Bristol City Council's Birth to 25 Service. We contribute to better outcomes for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families by developing school staff's:

  • awareness and knowledge of Autistic Spectrum Condition,
  • good practice Autistic Spectrum Condition strategies to support learning and social emotional needs of children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions.

We work with children and young people in Bristol schools. We can work with children and young people in other Local Authority schools (for example South Gloucestershire) but we charge for our services.


What support do you offer schools?

Bristol Autism Team are a specialist team of teachers and mentors who all receive ongoing Continual Professional Development regarding Autism. We work closely with all agencies including Inclusion Service, Speech & Language Service, Community Paediatricians and SEN Services.

We offer support in blocks of 'input', depending on the needs of individual pupils.  'Input' typically involves  1 to 6 visits to the school with a member of our team:

  • doing class observations,
  • doing playtime and/or lunchtime observations,
  • meeting staff and parents and staff training,
  • a review meeting.

At the review it is decided whether further input is required. If it is decided that further input is not need a school can re-refer if they decide they want more support.

The support a child or young person gets from our team is always based on their individual needs.  This means the input we offer might look different for each child and young person.


How do I start getting your support in school?

Bristol Autism Team supports settings and schools with pupils with a diagnosis of Autism from aged 4 – 18 years. At present we do not support pupils who do not have a diagnosis of Autism.

For Early Years pupils, settings can send a referral to the Early Years Portage and Inclusion Service.

For school age pupils, Bristol Autism team do not have a referral process. Schools meet with a member of team x3 times per year for an Autism Tracking Meeting (ATM). At these meetings, pupils with Autism are discussed (with parent and carer consent) and level of need/support is determined.

At present input is part of the teams core offer and the only aspect of the team’s role that is charged is training for staff.

Our criteria for input is that a pupil requires a diagnosis of Autism. This has been determined by the Local Authority. Before any input can start (following discussion at an Autism Tracking Meeting) x2 reports from professionals stating diagnosis will need to received.


How will families know about the support you are giving and how well it is working?

At the end of each block of input, schools are asked to complete an online questionnaire to give feedback on the support they have received. We encourage schools to seek parent and carers opinions to be included in this feedback. Bristol Autism Team have a wealth of information leaflets and information to share with schools and parent and carers. We encourage schools to book an interpreter for families for whom English is not their first language.

Schools will receive detailed reports/visit notes. We ask schools to share these with parent and carers and print copies for home.

For more information on the Bristol Autism Team we would encourage parent and carers to discuss concerns with their school SENCO first. Parent and carers are most welcome to contact Bristol Autism Team by phone (0117 903 1388) or email the team manager on sara.goldhawk@bristol.gov.uk.


Our Autism Hotline

If you have a question about autism you can contact us on Bristol.Autism.HotLine@bristol.gov.uk.  This service operates term-time only. Find out more.


How do you support children and young people outside of school?

Family Support Workers

Bristol Autism Team also has two Family Support Workers who support families who are referred by teams from within the Bristol Birth to 25 Integrated Service and Collaboration. Please contact the team manager for more information.

Courses for parents and carers

We oversee some courses for parents and carers who have a child or young person with autism.  These courses offer:

  • information and advice on Autism
  • a chance to learn ways to support your child
  • opportunities to meet other parents
  • information on what services and benefits you can access. 

These courses run throughout the year. Read Bristol Autism Team's Family Course brochure.


Understanding Autism Parent Seminar

For families who have a child/young person 5 - 18 who has just been given a diagnosis of Autism.

More information on Understanding Autism.

Early Birds

This course is for parents and carers of children under 5 with autism.

More information on Early Birds.


This course is for parents and carers of primary school age children with autism.

More information on Cygnet

Dates for Cygnet

Teenage life

This course is for parents and carers of young people (8-18) with autism or social communication and interaction needs (no diagnosis needed).

More information on Teenage Life.

Dates for Teenage Life.

Bristol Autism Team Ways of Working 2017-2018

Bristol Autism Team Referral and Pupil Record 2017-2018

Referral form to attend a Bristol Autism Team Parent Course.

Contact Menai Gore (Family Courses Business Support Officer) for more information on courses from Bristol Autism Team on 0117 377 3218 or autismfamilycourses@bristol.gov.uk.


This page has information for residents in the City of Bristol.  Find out about what other Local Authorities do.

Last Update 7 December 2017 by Findability Team.


We make sure we keep information on Findability as up to date as we can.  If you think this page is out of date or inaccurate please contact us on sendplus@bristol.gov.uk.  Findability is not responsible for the content of external websites.