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Autism, ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions

Find information and advice about autism, ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions
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What are neurodiverse conditions?

Autism and ADHD are two of the more common conditions that are part of a range of Neurodevelopmental difficulties - Neuro (nerves) developmental (how the nerve pathways carrying messages to and from the brain are created) involve the brain’s influence on how your body functions.

Everyone’s brain works in different ways but Neurodevelopmental challenges and or/difficulties, such as Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), mean that the way you see, hear or feel the world is different to others. Some experiences may include social, communication, concentration and memory difficulties.

Other neurodiverse conditions include Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, OCD, Tourette's Syndrome, Literacy and Numeracy difficulties

Children in Suffolk with neurodiverse conditions

Most children with neurodiverse conditions attend mainstream school. If your child has difficulties with learning, their early years keyworker or teacher will adapt teaching methods and materials to suit the child's style and rate of learning.

If there are still concerns, your child may have Special Educational Needs (SEN) and SEN Support will be put in place. An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) can help meet greater levels of need.

A minority of children with the most challenging needs attend a special school.

Information, advice and useful self-help resources

Autism is a life-long condition and covers a wide spectrum.

Although an NHS clinical assessment is helpful for some families the waiting lists can be long. There are lots of things that you can do to help and support your child outside of getting a clinical assessment for autism.

A child does not need to have a neurodevelopmental diagnosis to get  Special Educational Needs support. It is important to remember that having a name for your child’s condition does not change how your child behaves.

Some helpful sources of information, advice and self-help are: 

Getting local help

Talk to teachers at school or the school Special Education Needs Co-ordinator

Suffolk SENDIASS provide free confidential and impartial information, advice and support about special educational needs & disabilities (SEND) for children, young people, parents and carers.

East and West Suffolk

Barnardo’s phoneline service can help with:

  • general well-being information and support on common mental health issues, including help to address autism and ADHD and signposting to voluntary or community support services and a range of virtual and face-to-face support
  • a safe space to talk to a Barnardo’s worker who is committed to helping callers get the right support quickly to meet the child and family’s needs

Barnardo's can be reached using the Emotional Wellbeing Hub helpline number: 0345 600 2090, press option 2. (Phoneline open Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Lowestoft and Waveney 

If you live in Lowestoft and Waveney contact the 'Just One' service on 0300 300 0123 (Phoneline open Monday-Friday 8am to 6pm and 9am-1pm on Saturdays).

Getting clinical support

Some families will need more help than can be provided by information, advice and local organisations. The following links will help you access support from clinicians who can provide advice based on your family’s needs and advice about a clinical assessment:

East and West Suffolk

Pre-school age

Speak to your Health Visitor or your Early Years Provider or ring the Health Visiting Service on 0345 607 8866. You can also email at

Visit the Health Visiting and Children's Centre service webpage.

School-age and young people under 25

Contact Barnardo's on 0345 600 2090, press option 2. (Phoneline open Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm). Click on this link for more information: Suffolk InfoLink | East and West Suffolk Neurodevelopmental Pathway

Lowestoft and Waveney

Contact your GP

If your GP decides that your child needs to be referred to a neurodevelopmental team, they will contact your local NHS team. Click on this link for more information: Neurodevelopmental Service (Norfolk Community Health & Care NHS Trust) | Norfolk Community Directory

Crisis support

For NHS 24/7 Crisis Support please call 111 and press option 2. This is available for anyone of any age.

Support available in your local area