Autism Spectrum Team

Our team works with children and young people with a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition aged 4-16. 

Our vision is that Cornwall supports children and young people with autistic spectrum conditions to achieve positive outcomes.  We also want to inspire, challenge and advise our partners to find shared solutions. Children, young people and their families can access services which meet their needs. 

Most of our work promotes the inclusion of young people with Autism in an educational setting through work in both the home and at school.  Professionals within the Autism Spectrum Team will:

  • support multi agency working
  • promote a joint problem solving approach
  • promote interventions that are evidence based

Download the Autism Spectrum Team brochure

The Autism Spectrum Team (AST) consists of:

  • four Autism Advisers
  • a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and
  • four AST workers and Senior AST workers

The team is line managed by a Senior Educational Psychologist. 

They are organised into three area teams; west, mid and east Cornwall. This is to provide a more efficient service.

Autism Spectrum Team Casework: new referrals in the Summer Term
Please note that in the East of the county, for the rest of the Summer Term, we will only accept new referrals that meet our team’s priority criteria . We will return new referrals that do not meet our priority criteria. Referrals may be re-submitted in September if still appropriate.

We apologise for the reduction in our usual service to schools.

A young person aged 4-16 who has been diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) may be referred to the team by a professional and their parents.

The criteria for acceptance of the referral is the diagnosis, which may be

  • an ASC including Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

There must also be a clear aim for the work. Objectives cover a very broad range. These include:

  • helping pupils understand their diagnosis
  • reducing anxiety
  • analysing and providing strategies to deal with challenging behaviour
  • advising teachers on adapting their classrooms to be Autism Friendly
  • supporting the reintegration of pupils on part-time timetables

If the referral is from an educational setting, a member of staff from that setting must complete the referral form.

Our home based casework is for children and young people with autism who are trying to transition back to school. They are currently unable to attend because of mental health difficulties. We still consult in other cases but this would not involve any home visits.

Maximum number of core cases per school

  • Small Primary School (up to 200 pupils): 2 cases
  • Large Primary School (over 200 pupils): 3 cases
  • Special School, Area Resource Base or Alternative Provision Academy: 2 cases

For schools with a large number of pupils with a diagnosis of ASC the core cases will be increased:

  • Schools with 8 pupils with an ASC diagnosis: 4 cases
  • Schools with 10 pupils with an ASC diagnosis: 5 cases

The number of cases includes any active cases carried over from the previous academic year.

Time allocation for secondary schools

This time allocation covers all work delivered by the AST advisor on behalf of the school including preparation and report writing. See brochure for further details. Allocation is as follows:

  • Fewer than 10 - 33 hours (5 days)
  • 10 to 14 -40 hours (6 days)
  • 15 to 19 - 47 hours (7 days)
  • 20 to 24 - 54 hours (8 days)
  • More than 24 - 62 hours (9.5 days)

Prioritisation of case work

Due to the high level of demand for the team's involvement, there is sometimes a delay of up to three months. We may receive a completed referral but start the case work later. We know that sometimes there will be a significant deterioration in the young person's circumstances during this wait. Our prioritisation system ensures young people in challenging circumstances can get help sooner.

Priority casework requests include the following challenging circumstances:

  • Reduced attendance at school
  • Concerns around stability of school placement evidenced by fixed term exclusions
  • Exceptional situations, eg loss and bereavement, where the timing of support may be critical

Request for case work

If your school needs more than the number of core funded pieces allocated, additional casework can be purchased. Please see page 6 of the Autism Spectrum Team brochure.

In exceptional cases the team will work with young people who do not yet have a diagnosis, upon discussion and agreement from the Manager.

The team has created many resources that are freely available to our partners as follows:


Leaflets covering common issues, strategies and resources.  These are suitable for staff and parents:


  • A sibling work-pack provides all the information needed to run a four week group for siblings of young people with autism.  It is suitable for school staff in primary or secondary schools.
  • A 'Lego-Based Therapy' pack provides all the information needed to run an ongoing Lego Therapy club in a primary or secondary setting.

If you have used either of the packs to run some sessions in your school, please contact us, we would love your feedback.

The Wellbeing and Autism Wheel is designed to help parents find helpful services and resources. We aimed the resources at parents with children who may be on the Autistic spectrum or have a similar condition.

The Wheel has been created in partnership with the:

  • NHS
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists

It came as a response to feedback from Cornwall's Autism Strategy.

The wheel is made up of 4 sections:

  • about autism
  • ways to help my child
  • referral and assessment
  • help after diagnosis

How it can be used

  • Create an individual plan based upon your child's needs
  • Browse over 150 resources. These provide practical activities to try at home, school and in the community
  • Offers resources to share with professionals. This can help as evidence of what you have tried, what works and what doesn't.
  • Find out about the ins and outs of an assessment, including the initial referral process and how the teams make a diagnosis.
  • See the support available both with and without a diagnosis. Find services that can support your child today
  • Find out what is available to support parents and carers

You can find out about:

  • Autism and similar conditions
  • Support parents and carers
  • Early years support
  • Help at school
  • Hearing, sensory, sleep, daily living skills
  • Friendships and relationships, understanding emotions, communication and interaction, non-verbal communication
  • Mental health, challenging behaviour, transitions
  • Autism referral and assessment
  • Support after diagnosis
  • Financial support

Visit the Wellbeing and Autism Wheel

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