Children's Services

Working in partnership with NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups

What does the service provide?

Low Level Support for families in East Lancashire & Blackburn with Darwen: The children’s service are a small team of family support workers and volunteers offering low level family support, advice & signposting. We work with families to provide early intervention including advice, information and positive strategies.

Introduction workshops for new members: New enquiries, referrals and members will be offered an introductory workshop to talk through what Action for ASD’s children’s service can offer your family. If you are struggling to complete our membership forms, one of the team can assist you during your meeting.

Signposting & Information: We have good relationships with local schools, colleges and universities and will provide support to gain access to local organisations across East Lancashire & Blackburn with Darwen. We have resources that young people and their families can access which includes books, leaflets & information. We have resources such as PECS (Picture Exchange Communication Systems), visual timetables, sensory toys and weighted blankets.

Facebook parent/carer members group: Our closed parent and carer Facebook support group is a growing community, this group offers a safe place to talk to other parents and family members especially during the covid-19 pandemic. Our Facebook group admins cover many topics including EHCP, sensory needs, communication, general advice and signposting.

Information Sessions: We offer face to face appointments at King Edward House, Burnley. These information sessions are open to anyone who would like help to complete paperwork or need some advice and information. These appointments are usually held on Friday’s 12.30-2.30pm. If you are struggling to complete our membership forms, one of the team can assist you during your meeting. We also will have course information and enrolment forms available.

Autism Online Hub: Our parent and carer support meetings are held weekly on zoom, they are a good opportunity to meet other parents who are going through similar struggles. This group is open to parents and carers of children aged 0-19 years who have received a diagnosis of autism/ASC or are currently seeking a diagnosis. Come along for a chat with other parents and share positive strategies. If you feel unable to access zoom please get in touch.

Our parent & carer support zooms take place on Mondays at 1.30pm (please talk to a member of the team to be invited) We also run evening zoom meetings on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 8pm, we have regular discussion topics covering communication, sensory needs, behaviour and more.

Support for children & young adults

Emotional Wellbeing & Counselling: Action for ASD’s children’s service are able to provide limited 1:1 support and counselling opportunities for Children and Young People who are struggling to understand their diagnosis. All 1:1 work is currently taking place virtually and we have a waiting list in place. For more information please email

Emotional Wellbeing Drop in: We are offering a monthly drop in for children aged 12-16 years who would like to talk about improving their emotional wellbeing, talk about autism and develop strategies.

Sibling Support: We offer sibling support to any brothers & sisters who would like to access more information about autism or would like to meet other siblings who are going through similar situations.

Once a month Action for ASD will hold a short online workshop for the siblings of children & young people who have a diagnosis of ASC and provide a group chat. These workshops will provide an opportunity for siblings to get together and access support & information about Autism.

Children’s Social Sessions & Activities: We run group activity sessions for children and young people these sessions will be run by our children's team and will have limited availability. All our social activities will be held online until further notice. For more information please get in touch.

Socialeyes Training: Our Socialeyes training is a weekly course for autistic adolescents & young adults who have difficulties meeting and maintaining friendships and relationships and who may have social difficulties that cause recurrent depression and anxiety. We have limited availability for this group. Autism Chat 16-25’s: This is a group chat opportunity for anyone who is wanting to find out more about autism & will involve group discussion.

Transition Group: This is a group for young autistic adults aged 16 –25 years. This group is a social communication group for young people going through the transition into adulthood and provides an opportunity to make friends, develop relationships, and increase self-esteem and confidence. The group bridges the gap between the children’s and adult services for young adults. These sessions currently run weekly on a Friday evening at 6pm in a closed social media platform and via zoom.

If you struggle to access virtual platforms or don’t feel confident enough to take part in a group please contact us as we may be able to provide 1:1 support. To be involved please contact the children’s service via email or call 01282 415455.

For young adults over 16, Action for ASD also have a diagnostic service and adult service, young adults can self refer for a diagnosis once they reach age 16. If you are a member of the children’s service and you require more information please get in contact.

16+ Pre-diagnosis and Assessment Screening: Action for ASD are currently providing the Adult Autism, Diagnostic pathway for East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Blackburn with Darwen CCG. Individuals that have been screened and meet the criteria, are referred for a full clinical assessment within our charity. For more information please contact 01282 415455 or email

Action for ASD, Adult Services 16+: Providing information, low level support and advice for adults before, during and after their diagnosis. They also provide ongoing low level support through a variety of different support groups, sessions and short courses. Please note that at this time and until further notice, all support is being provided remotely. For more information please email or call 01282 415 455

Training for parents, carers & professionals

We offer various training options for parents, carers and professionals in East Lancashire & Blackburn with Darwen

Please note that all courses are currently held online via a virtual platform and courses will only run with sufficient interest.

Understanding Autism Workshop series: Has your child recently been diagnosed with Autism/Autistic Spectrum Condition? Are you wondering what next and would like some support? This short workshop will be a practical session with the opportunity to share your experiences with other parents and take away ideas, strategies and resources. We also have more topics including Understanding Behaviour, Anxiety & PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance), Communication strategies & Sensory needs.

Cygnet Parent Carer Support Programme: The children’s service offers cygnet training for parents and carers on a range of topics such as autism & diagnosis, communication, sensory needs, understanding and managing behaviour. This course is for parents & carers of children aged 5-19 years who have received a diagnosis of ASC. The course runs for six weeks and each session lasts two and a half hours.

Cygnet Supporting Siblings Training: This additional cygnet session aims to acknowledge the concerns that parents may have in relation to children with a brother or sister on the autistic spectrum. This training also discusses the impact on adult siblings. This course is for parents who accessed the main cygnet programme.

Cygnet Puberty, Sexual Awareness & Relationships Training: These courses are for parents to develop their understanding and confidence relating to puberty, sexual wellbeing and relationships and how they may impact on children on the autistic spectrum. To offer parents the opportunity to participate in activities that they could use to explore puberty, sexual wellbeing and relationships with their children at home. This course is for parents who have previously accessed the main cygnet programme.

Cygnet for Parents Sleep Programme: This additional cygnet session aims to provide parents with a supportive environment with other parents who are experiencing similar challenges and also information on autism and sleep. This course is for parents who have previously accessed the main cygnet programme.

Sleep Practitioner Support: Sleep practitioners are trained in all aspects of sleep science, including the mechanism of sleep, sleep phases and cycles, common sleep disorders, how complex health needs can impact sleep, and the role of melatonin on sleep. As part of their training with The Children’s Sleep Charity, they are taught how to assess sleep problems using diaries and questionnaires, and use the information gained to develop a personalised sleep program for families.

Teen Life: Teen Life is a six-session programme for parents/carers of young autistic people aged 10 to 16 years. The aim of the Teen Life Programme is to bring parents together to share information, experiences and ideas in a structured way. Teen Life emphasises the importance of autistic perspectives, with a variety of videos and quotes used throughout the sessions.

Coming soon from 2022 ’Riding the Rapids’: parenting programme: this is a 10 week course for Parents/ Carers of children who have a diagnosis of Autism and/or severe learning disabilities. The aim of the course is to help Parents/Carers to understand and manage challenging behaviours in their children.

Cygnet for Practitioners/Autism Training for Professionals: Our training programmes for practitioners who work with children, young people and adults with a diagnosis of an Autistic Spectrum Condition and their families. We run three day courses for practitioners, day one covers understanding autism, day two covers practical strategies and day three covers working with autistic adults.

How to access Action for ASD's Children's Service?

How do I access the Children’s Service at Action for ASD?

Families of autistic children or children who are seeking a diagnosis can self refer by completing our referral form for children’s service membership which is available by contacting us on or by calling the office on 01282 415 455.

We also accept family support referrals from all professionals. If you would like more information, you can contact the Action for ASD (see contact details at the bottom of this page) who will arrange to send out the relevant forms and explain more about the services available to you.

Once you have completed the referral for membership form and returned it to Action for ASD (see address below) your membership will be processed and you will be contacted shortly after and offered an introduction workshop or an initial meeting via phone or zoom.

Please be aware that because of the increased volume of families requesting support at this time, your application may take approx., 8 weeks to be processed. If you would like to attend our support groups and are unfamiliar with the social media platform, a member of the team may be able to offer some support to gain access to the groups.

Because we are a charity, the support we provide will be subject to the funding we have available at that point in time and is limited to children and families within the East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen areas, that have autistic children or whose children are seeking a diagnosis of Autism/ASC

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact the Children’s Service at Action for ASD:

General Enquiries and Professional Referrals:

Tel: 01282 415455 or 07809903852

Cygnet enquiries:

Counselling enquiries:

Parent/Carer Members Group:

Action for ASD’s Facebook page can also be found at:

The Children’s Service Team

Amy Whittle Children’s Service Manager 07809903852

Robin Denton Assistant Manager 07543219695

Karen Hutz Family Support Worker 07834561316