Parents, Carers & Professionals

This section is designed to signpost a range of support for Parents, Carers and Professionals living or working with individuals with Autism.  It highlights a range of Services and Support Groups that run throughout the South Quadrant of Essex.  These range from the Local Offers to Charitable organisations that offer specialist support and activities for a range of individual needs.

Action for Children – Essex Short Breaks

Essex Short Breaks, Clubs and Activities provides services for children and young people across Essex, who have a disability or special education need. There are a variety of integrated clubs as well as specialist clubs where staff working directly with the children and young people are trained in safeguarding, health and safety, equality and diversity, paediatric first aid, autism awareness, behaviour support, moving and handling, epilepsy awareness and various clinical procedures (generic and child specific where needed).

Autism Anglia

Autism Anglia is an independent charity which provides care and support to autistic children, adults and their families in East Anglia. We offer personalised approaches that provide each individual with the necessary skills and strategies to enable them to realise their own strengths and abilities.

ADHD+ Support Group in Chelmsford

Based in Chelmsford, Essex, we are charitable organisation with a primary aim of providing information, support and services to those with ADHD and its many associated and co-existing conditions; their families, parents/guardians, and professionals to help find and provide better ways to help cope with the day to day struggles.  We are primarily run by volunteers who have a personal connection with these conditions.


We protect, support and nurture the UK’s most vulnerable children. We help hundreds of thousands of children, young people, parents and carers via our 1000+ services across the UK. The scale of what we do may be big and complex, but our aim is simple – to provide the best outcome for every child, no matter who they are or what they have been through.

Carers UK

Carers UK is here to listen, to give you expert information and advice that’s tailored to your situation, to champion your rights and support you in finding new ways to manage at home, at work, or wherever you are.

Chris Cross Holiday Club

Based at St Christopher’s School, Leigh on Sea. For boys and girls aged 6-14 years old. Come along and meet new friends and join the fun with our unique mix of activities and sports. Suitable for children with additional needs.


Emotional Well-being and Mental Health Service for young people up to the age of 18 living in Southend, Essex, Colchester and Thurrock.  Get in touch on 0300 300 1600 option 2 or email 

Essex Effective Support Portal for Children and Families

The Effective Support Windscreen illustrates how Universal, Early Help (Additional and Intensive) and Specialist services in Essex are provided and how support is made available at each level of need for children and young people and their families.

Essex Local Offer

Information about Services, support and local opportunities for children and young people with special educational needs and disability.  Find what you need all in one place.


In partnership with Royal Mencap we continually strive to increase awareness of those with a learning disability and campaign for better services such as respite and short term care provision. We aim to engage with as many individuals, groups, organisations and companies as possible to develop a comprehensive database of useful information, advice and frequently asked questions that can be shared and be accessible to all.

Families in Focus

We are a leading independent parent led registered charity providing holistic support to families of children with disabilities and special needs (aged 0 to 25) across Essex, who require advice, information and support, particularly at times of change, challenge and crisis.

Family Action Essex

Family Action works to tackle some of the most complex and difficult issues facing families today – including financial hardship, mental health problems, social isolation, learning disabilities, domestic abuse, or substance misuse and alcohol problems. We work directly with vulnerable children and families through our services and we also support professionals and organisations through our training and consultancy provision. 

Family Fund

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. Last year, we provided 88,407 grants or services worth over £33 million to families across the UK. Our mission is to provide items and services to all low-income families in the UK raising disabled or seriously ill children, that they could not otherwise afford or access, and that help improve their quality of life, realise their rights, and remove some of the barriers they face.


Promoting creativity and empowerment, InterAct is dedicated to improving the emotional well-being and opportunities of young people and young adults with disabilities, primarily learning disabilities/difficulties and autism, and individuals, families and communities who experience barriers through disability, challenging mental health, other disadvantage and social difficulties.   

As an Essex-based local charity, believe that everyone should have the opportunity to fulfil their life aspirations. We work in local communities across Essex promoting inclusion, increasing participation and independence.


Kooth, from XenZone, is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop and free at the point of use.

Little Heros ASD Support Group

We are a parent led group offering support to families in the local community whose children are going through the ASD diagnosis process. We also work with families whose children have already been diagnosed.  Our intention is that all children, no matter what their ability/disability, are able to participate in activities and events that other neurotypical children can do. We give families the means to do this by arranging such activities in safe and secure surroundings. We hold weekly drop in sessions for parents, regular organised activities during the school holidays and invite professionals to the meetings to offer supports and advice to parents. 

Living Well Essex website

The Living Well website was created by Essex County Council in partnership with Healthwatch Essex, and aims to help Essex people take care of their health and well-being, manage health conditions, and find information about support and services in the local area. We also provide information on benefits and finances, staying safe, and tips on staying healthy and active.

Megacentre Rayleigh

An Essex-based Christian charity bringing joy, hope and life to the whole community. We run a variety of programmes to support local young people and children including youth clubs, children’s groups, complimentary education, family programmes and 1-2-1 support. We also offer recreational activities including Megazone Laser Tag and Soft Play and sensory room.


We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.

Motivated Minds

As a non-profit ‘Community Interest Company’ (CIC) we design and facilitate sustainable health and wellbeing solutions. Our focus is both preventative, as well as offering a range of one-stop-shop services to meet the needs of those suffering from mental ill health, as well as offer support for those who would like to enhance their life chances. Our aim is to reduce stigma of mental ill health and support individuals through positive psychological/behaviour change, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives. We offer a variety of services including: advocacy, practical support, training and workshops.

National Autistic Society

Founded in 1962, we are the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families. Our goal is to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.

National Autistic Society – Essex

Our ambition is to transform the lives of autistic people with the aspiration of providing families with access to professional, efficient diagnostic services and enterprising education that provides students with practical work and life skills. In September 2017 we opened our Enterprise Campus. Situated on a 13-acre site, the campus includes the Anderson School, a Diagnostic Centre and an Enterprise Centre.

National Health Service

This guide can help if you or someone you care about is autistic or might be autistic.

PACT for Autism

PACT for Autism is a Harlow based Charity providing support for the families of autistic children, autistic adults and people with similar conditions. Our key services include the Parent Support Line, monthly meetings for parent and carer support, and a vibrant activities and events calendar, including our popular autism talks and training series.

Papworth Trust

Via a range of services, we support thousands of people, their families and carers every year, and we work with disabled people to create a world where we can all be seen for what we can do.  Papworth Trust is a leading disability charity. Our vision is for a world where disabled people are seen for who they are, and our mission is for disabled people to have equality, choice and independence.

PARC Essex

PARC (Essex) is a registered children’s charity based in Great Notley Country Park, near Braintree in Essex. Our aim is to provide play and recreation facilities for children with additional needs and short break care for their families and carers. PARC is a place where children can develop, learn and have fun, in a safe and friendly environment. There is no formal referral process, parents can contact us directly.

Parent Partnership Link for Essex

Essex County Council website providing support and useful information on what to do if you believe your child has Special Educational Needs.  

Parent Advisory Team Thurrock (PATT)

Independent information, advice and support services (IASS) are available for disabled children and young people, those with special educational needs, and their parents.  In Thurrock, IASS are provided by Parent Advisory Team Thurrock (PATT). Their services are free, impartial and confidential. PATT provides information and advice to parents and carers of children and young people aged 0 to 25 years-old, supporting families through; the education, health and care plan (EHCP) assessment process; the conversion of educational statements into an EHCP; the appeals process; mediation and tribunal; working with schools and other educational professionals.

Ronnie’s Way

Run by a mother of two children with special needs, Ronnie’s Way arranges private hire events for families of children and young people with additional needs who may otherwise struggle accessing mainstream activities and events.  The aim being to allow families to have an enjoyable experience at venues that can become busy and overwhelming for children with additional needs.

There is also a Facebook Page @ronniesway2017

SAFE Essex (Supporting Asperger Families in Essex

SAFE is a support group for individuals and families affected by Asperger Syndrome (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA) in Essex, including the unitaries of Southend and Thurrock. SAFE is a parent support group that works to raise awareness of Asperger syndrome; provide support for individuals and families living with Asperger syndrome; share information in order to raise the quality of care and understanding within our communities and develop services for people and families affected by Asperger syndrome.

Southend Carers

Are you a carer in need of support?  Do you need urgent help to look after your loved one? We can get you the support you need.

Southend Infopoint

Welcome to SHIP, Southend’s Information Point and Directory of Services for Adults, Children and Families.

Southend MENCAP

Formed in October 1955, the charity’s main aim is to serve the interests and needs of children and adults with learning disabilities, as well as those of their parents and carers, in the south east of Essex. We are a completely independent society/organisation, are self governed and self financed. . There is no referral system to Mencap and they do not provide us or any of the other local Mencap society’s with any income or funding.

Southend Parent Partnership Information Advice Service

We provide an information, advice and support service – IASS – to disabled children and young people, and those with SEN, and their parents. This is a free, confidential and impartial service.

Southend’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Local Offer

The Local Offer contains details of provision and support services that are available for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or a disability (SEND) in Southend and the surrounding areas.

The local offer is hosted on the SHIP – Southend’s Children and Families Information Point website.


SNAP’s primary aim is to inform, encourage and support parents and carers, so that they can grow in strength and knowledge and become better equipped to give the best possible help to their children. They do this by offering a wide range of online resources, as well as activities and services accessed at their centre in Brentwood.

Sunshine Centre for disabled children

The Sunshine Centre is for children aged up to 18 years with a whole range of needs both behavioural and physical. The centre includes a fully equipped sensory room and is for parents and siblings, as well as the child with a disability or special educational need. Different groups are run by experienced staff throughout the week, including a Saturday club and young carers’ group.

The Lighthouse Child Development Centre

The lighthouse child development centre is a multi-disciplinary centre for children up to 16 years of age. Professionals accessible at the centre include; consultant pediatricians, nurses, midwives, The Toy Library (a charity organisation), children with disabilities social care team, audiology, speech and language therapy and rehabilitation which is comprised of physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

Thurrock MENCAP

Thurrock Mencap Society is a local charity run by volunteers in Essex which covers Thurrock and the surrounding areas (including Basildon). We help to give support to children and adults with learning disabilities/special needs and their carers. Our main aim is to help give them an active social life and sports & activity projects

Thurrock Local Offer

The purpose of Thurrock’s Local Offer is to allow children, young people and their parents in the borough, who have Special Educational Needs (SEN) and/or a disability, to find information in one place. It aims to provide clear, comprehensive and accessible information about services and provisions available in Thurrock. The Local Offer is also about making services more responsive to local need and aspirations.

Young Minds

The UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. Find out more about us, our mission and how we work.

The Childrens Society – Young Carers

We are a national charity that works with the country’s most vulnerable children and young people. We listen. We support. We act. Because no child should feel alone.