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Understanding Autism

In Newham all people with autism, whatever their age, should have the same opportunities as anyone else to live rewarding and fulfilling lives. This vision is shared by all public, voluntary and independent organisations that are working collaboratively in Newham to improve services for people with autism, their families and carers.

We want to support adults with autism to:

  • be independent
  • have choice and control so they can live fulfilling lives
  • be fully participating members of the wider community,
  • voice their opinions and experiences.
  • have services that meet their individual needs

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental ‘hidden’ disability that affects the way a person communicates with, and relates to, people and the world around them.

People with autism have a wide spectrum of skills as well as needs. Some people with autism can function well in certain areas, but have day to day activities that they need support with. They may spend a lot of effort trying to hide the areas that they find difficult. Or they may have difficulty communicating their strengths.

There are three key areas of difficulty known as the ‘triad of impairments’ that all people with autism are likely to experience:

  • Social communication – difficulties understanding and using verbal and non-verbal language, such as gestures and tone of voice
  • Social interaction – difficulties understanding and recognising other people’s feelings and managing their own
  • Social imagination – difficulties in understanding and predicting other people’s intentions and behaviour and adapting to new and unfamiliar situations

In addition, many people with autism find processing information difficult and can be over sensitive or under-sensitive to particular things such as:

  • smells
  • tastes
  • colours
  • sound
  • touch
  • balance (Known as Vestibular awareness)
  • body awareness (Known as Proprioception)

Newham Autism Steering Group

Newham has established a multidisciplinary Autism Steering Group which includes:

  • People with autism, their families and carers
  • Newham National Autistic Society(NAS) local branch
  • Representatives from NHS(East London Foundation Trust)
  • Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • Providers, the Police
  • Education and Social Care

The Autism Steering Group reports to the Strategic Reference Group which reports directly to the Health and Wellbeing Board.

The steering group oversees the implementation of the Newham Autism Strategy and monitors progress on the action plan.

Newham autism strategy for adults (pdf)

Newham autism strategy for adults - Easy Read (pdf)

If you are interested in joining the Newham Autism Steering Group or would like to know more about the work of the group, please contact Helen Murphy, Commissioner Adult Social Care (LBN)
Tel. 0203 373 4381

Newham Autism and Aspergers Syndrome Support Group

People with autism, their families and carers have set up an Autism and Asperger Syndrome Support Group which is concerned about the issues faced by people with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome and the support needed.

The group links into the Newham Autism Steering group, the Co-Production Forum and other Co-Production Networks in Newham.

If you are interested in joining the Autism and Asperger Support Group or would like to know more about the work of the group, please contact:

Latifat Honey Sarfo
Co-Production and Participation Facilitator
Community Neighbourhoods
Tel: 0203 373 1638

Preventative Services/facilities

Newham Autism Alert Card

The Newham Autism Alert Card is an ID card for people to have so they can show it to anyone including professionals to help them or support them in accessing main stream services.

Benefits of the Autism Alert Card:

  • Helps the police, emergency services and other organisations to recognise that they are dealing with someone who has autism
  • Helps the card holder to feel safe and more confident when out and about
  • Promotes better all round management of issues and situations involving people with autism
  • Helps to raise awareness of autism among professionals and the Criminal Justice System

To order an autism Alert card or for more information please email: or call Sandra Herman on 02033739788

Groups and Activities

The Mental Health Enablement Service and Aspergers Service run several groups a month, including:

  • Weekly cooking group
  • A monthly o​uting
  • Cinema group

They also have one-off information sessions and Expert afternoons where other people with Aspergers can share their knowledge about a special interest with others.

Community Neighbourhood Link Workers

How to use the card and support people with an autism spectrum condition

More Information

Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives, The National Strategy for adults with Autism in England

You can find more information on support available for young adults with autism in our Transition section. Including information about support groups, employment, social and leisure services and more.

Transitions - more information

Find out about services available for children and young people with special educational needs as part of the local offer.

Local Offer - more information

How to access our services

Under the Autism Act, all adults with autism are entitled to a Social Care Assessment. A Social Care assessment will ask you questions about the following areas:

  • Managing and maintaining nutrition
  • Maintaining personal hygiene
  • Managing toileting needs
  • Being appropriately clothed
  • Making use of your home safely
  • Maintaining a habitable home
  • Developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
  • Accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
  • Making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community (such as public transport, leisure or recreational facilities)
  • Carrying out caring responsibilities for a Child
  • Wellbeing

Referrals for services can be made by anyone; individuals can refer themselves, or carers, family or professionals working with adults with autism directly by contacting the Access to Adult Social Care Team if you have a learning disability. Those who have autism without a learning disability (e.g. Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism) should contact the Mental Health Access and Assessment Team.

Tel: 0208 430 2000 option 2 (Monday to Thursday 9.00am to 5.15pm and Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm).

Assessments - more information

Making a referral

Referrals for services can be made by anyone.

Autism with a Learning Disability

For referrals for adults with Autism with a Learning Disability please contact the:

Access to Adult Social Care Team
Call: 0208 430 2000 Option 2
Text phone:18001 020 8430 2000

Opening hours
Mon-Thurs 9am-5pm
Friday 9am-4.45pm

When you contact us we'll discuss your situation over the phone to talk about your needs and discuss what is available to help you.

Request an assessment

Autism without a Learning Disability

For adults who have Autism without a Learning Disability (e.g. Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism) please contact the:

Mental Health Access and Assessment Team
Tel: 0203 373 0733

Mental Health Assessment Team - more information