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Autism and social communication

We support the progress and development of children and young people with social communication differences in school.

We have a multi-disciplinary team which includes advisory and inclusion teachers, assistant psychologists, specialist educational psychologist and a specialist speech and language therapist. 

Support for schools

We offer direct support to children and young people, their parents and carers and school staff to understand how the autism or social communication needs impact on a child or young person's presentation in school; and we offer advice on supports and strategies that can minimise the difficulties experienced and maximise progress.

Our team relate closely to national and regional organisations and partners including the National Autistic Society, The Autism Education Trust, as well as partners in health and therapies, and local diagnostic pathways. Educational Psychologists (EPs) and specialist teaching staff also contribute to strategic developments within the council, for example policies, commissioning arrangements and the County Durham 'Think Autism' strategy.

Schools can request involvement from the team either directly or through their Community of Learning (COL) arrangements. Whilst we always offer support which is individualised to the children and young person and setting, our work usually falls under the following areas:

Consultation and assessment for individual children

The degree of involvement ranges from a single consultation to more detailed individual assessment and discussion with staff and parents relating to outcomes and interventions.


  • Individual pupil assessment - £415. Individual assessments typically include an initial meeting with staff and parents/carers to identify concerns; assessment and one to one work with the pupil; an outcomes planning session and a written report. A review visit is also included in this package.
  • Consultation - £205 Individual consultation typically includes: up to one hour observation and/or working with the child/young person; up to one hour consultation or solution focused meeting with school staff and parents/carers together; a brief written report with outcomes and suggestions for strategies and approaches.


Training is available from introductory to more advanced and accredited levels across a range of topics including awareness raising, more detailed understanding of autism and related difficulties and strategies, social development, transitions, adolescence and relationships. Training and capacity building events are held centrally or in your school, and can be organised for your COL.

In school training costs for up to 20 members of staff:

  • Twilight - £290
  • Half day - £580
  • Full day - £865

Bespoke support

Bespoke support can be purchased from the team at a cost of £195 per half day of time. Schools can choose how they would like this time to be used, for example:

  • 'surgeries' or drop in sessions for staff to consult about individual and groups of pupils
  • workshops for staff development on a range of topics, such as: communication, learning, relationships, play, emotional development, behaviour that challenges
  • individual and group intervention programmes
  • 'hands-on' support alongside school staff
  • coaching for individual members of staff.


The team offer a wide range of intervention programmes for individuals and groups, including social skills, emotional regulation, managing anxiety, understanding autism.

All programmes are bespoke. An assessment of a child/young person's social communication needs is the starting point of this support. If information is already available e.g. through consultation with school and family, this will be used as a basis for the intervention support.

Should further information be required our advisory teachers will carry out the required work in order to inform outcomes for intervention.


Interventions will be delivered by the most appropriate member of the team and are costed by time at £195 for 3 hours. We would usually suggest a minimum of 6 sessions for an intervention, but this should be negotiated with the team before starting the work. Our interventions typically include: an initial planning meeting; planning and preparation; delivery of the intervention; a feedback session at the end with suggestions for next steps. If assessment is required before starting an intervention, our team can provide this at an additional charge of £195.

Minimum time in school is one hour per visit.

Schools can also request a mentoring model at the same cost, whereby a member of your staff can join our team member who will model the intervention, offer your staff opportunities to lead activities, and support your staff with planning and resources. This is a good way to develop staff skills and create sustainability for the child or young person.

Contact us
SEND and Inclusion Service (communication and interaction)
03000 263 333
Our address is:
  • Education Development Centre
  • Enterprise Way
  • Spennymoor
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DL16 6YP