News and Information

harc – the Hertfordshire branch of the NAS publish quarterly newsletters for members.  We also send out information via email on a fairly regular basis.   You can catch up here on any emails or newsletter you may have missed or want to read again by going to either Information or Newsletters.

World Autism Awareness Week 2016

Watch this space for our plans for WAAW 2016!


Careless Campaign


This is the latest campaign from the NAS highlighting the difficulties faced by adults with autism when the new care plans are in place.

The Government’s new Care Act will establish the new framework in England under which councils will decide which adults with autism will be eligible to receive support. But,  as they stand, these new measures fail to adequately recognise the basic needs of many adults with autism; needs such as staying safe, building relationships or being verbally prompted to carry out tasks.

Under the proposed system there is a risk that many adults with autism who need this support will not qualify for it, which could leave them unfed, unwashed and afraid to leave the house.

You can find more information including real stories here and links to enable you to email the Care Minister,  Norman Lamb,  to make sure your voice and the voices of autism are heard.


GPs to make Autism a Clinical Priority 2014 – 2017

Following campaigning by the NAS as part of their Push for Action the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) have announced that autism will be a clinical priority for them from 2014 – 2017.  This will ensure that GPs receive appropriate training about autism.   Read more about this on the NAS website.   Another reason perhaps for us all to “Push the Button”.

Passport to Individual Autism Support

This is a simple at a glance document to help adults with autism to explain how they communicate and their sensory and support needs.  You can find out more at the NAS website or download the passport here .

Ask Autism

Ask autism is an exciting new training service from The National Autistic Society, offering a range of products for professional development.  Uniquely developed and delivered by people on the autism spectrum,  Ask autism provides an ‘insider’ perspective of autism to give you a unique understanding of how people on the autism spectrum would like to be understood and supported.  To find out more visit the NAS website.

Free School in Hertfordshire

Update on progress with the proposed NAS Free School

Earlier this year, Herts Parent Carer Involvement (HCPI) organised two workshops, which investigated the possibility of establishing a Free School for children with autism in Hertfordshire, in conjunction with the National Autistic Society (NAS).

Since then, Hertfordshire County Council have been approached but has indicated that they would not support the idea of establishing the proposed school.

We are disappointed by this and so are working with other organisations in Hertfordshire  to continue to make the case for the Free School.

But we need your help! It is vital that County Councillors, our local political representatives, know more about the needs of children with autism in education – and the need for the Free School – from parents themselves. This will help them understand the issues and represent parents’ views effectively.  A letter is attached which you could customise and e-mail/ send to your County Councillor.

And if you are able to meet your County Councillor, that would be especially helpful! Councillors are usually happy to meet local parents in their surgery, their home, your home or some other mutually convenient place. We have produced a guide that explains more about contacting and meeting your Councillor.

Whilst funds for the building and setting up of a Free School comes from the Government,  Hertfordshire County Council are required to approve the Free School and to fund the pupil places.  That is why we need your help in contacting your County Councillor rather than your MP.  You can,  of course,  contact your MP as well.

Please do get involved and help us with our lobbying work –

your input will be vital to improving educational provision for children with autism in Hertfordshire!


NAS Campaigns Team urge Government to publish regulations on the Bedroom Tax

This from Twitter –  bedroom tax pdf

Autism Strategy Review 2013

The Government are currently reviewing the implementation of the Autism Strategy and plan to publish their report in October 2013.   A Written Ministerial Statement  was put before the House of Commons on Wednesday 17th July.  The statement was written by the Rt. Hon.  Norman Lamb,  Minister of State,  Department of Health.  The statement highlights the five key areas of the Autism Strategy aimed at improving the lives of adults with autism.

NAS Push for Action blog – July 2013

On 10th  we launched our new report and campaign Getting on? Growing older with autism at a special reception in the House of Lords, hosted by Baroness Greengross OBE. 

Getting on? sets out the challenges facing people with autism as they move into older age and makes recommendations on how government can help to meet those challenges.
The sixty guests at the reception included parliamentarians, researchers, representatives of older people charities and autism organisations, and our generous funders, The Clothworkers’ Foundation, as well as older people with autism and their families – some of whom met with their MPs at the reception to discuss the report and their own experiences.
Guests heard excellent speeches from Baroness Greengross, Carol Povey, Director of the NAS Centre for Autism, and Phil Staton – who is in his 60s and has Aspergers syndrome – all of whom really helped to raise awareness of this important issue.

The report highlights the distinct needs of older adults with autism and, in line with the Push for Action campaign, calls upon these needs to be addressed through this year’s review of the adult autism strategy.

Visit to read our campaign report and find out how you can get involved.

Webmaster’s comment:  This report is a salutary reminder that autism does not go away at the age of 16 or 30 or 50 or 80.  People with autism will age as we all will and will be subjected to the same aging diseases and difficulties we all face but how they deal with it will be dictated by their autism and the support they have around them.  

 Infographic final.jpg


Push Action


NAS Push for Action blog – June 2013

New findings show economic benefit of investing in social care services

The NAS, along with 4 other leading charities, have published new research on the costs of social care.

The research, carried out independently by Deloitte, backs up our ‘Push for Action’ campaign asks by showing that investing in services not only benefits adults with autism but also generates cost savings.

The study looked at how delivering appropriate services can prevent people from falling into crisis situations and can as a result, lead to substantial economic benefits. The study used examples of services, including the NAS’s Horizons service in Godalming, to show that such support can lead to increased quality of life and engagement with society as well as reduced dependency on family members and carers.

The study establishes that every £1 spent on services generates benefits to people, carers, local and central Government worth an average of £1.30.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said:

“The financial case is crystal clear: the Government must act now to address the inherent flaws in the social care system and ensure people with autism and other disabilities receive the support they desperately need.”

You can find more details and read the full report ‘Ending the Other Care Crisis: Making the case for investment in preventative care and support for disabled adults’ here

You can still Push for Action scroll down the page to the big red button.  You can keep up to date with Tom’s blog via the link on the right hand side.

Specialist team aims to fill social care gap for adults with Asperger’s

Monday 03 June 2013 12:33

Supporting people with Asperger’s syndrome through mental health or learning disability services has not worked for service users or carers, leading Hertfordshire council to set up a specialist team to deliver tailored support.

 Team manager Alison Carpenter and Asperger’s adviser Mark Dixon

 Hertfordshire County Council has developed a specialist social care team for people with Asperger syndrome, which went live in April 2013.

The team has been developed in response to feedback from people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism, and their carers, who have been saying consistently they do not fit into traditional learning disability and mental health services and they want to be supported in a different way.

The team will initially take over the social care of people who are currently having support provided by either the council’s learning disability services or mental health services run by Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. They will also take on new referrals from within the county.

The team is made up of a multi-skilled staff group which consists of:

  • a team manager;
  • four social workers, one of whom will take the lead on transition cases for young adults aged 18 to 25;
  • a transition co-ordinator who will work in partnership with young people aged 16 to18, their families and other agencies to ensure that there is a clear pathway for each young person as they approach adulthood;
  • an employment officer: many people with Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism have said they find employment difficult to access and this can damage their mental health and well-being;
  • an expert by experience, who has Asperger’s syndrome and works alongside people to help them understand their condition and signpost them to the right services and support where necessary;
  • two community care officers, who support people to achieve agreed outcomes and make greater use of local services and resources in the community.

The team works with people who meet our Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) criteria – critical or substantial – although individuals whose FACS status is uncertain will also be supported or signposted to other services or local social groups that have been commissioned to provide preventive support.

The team supports future planning, housing, further education, employment, day time opportunities and financial problems, and aims to support people to achieve their goals in life and move towards greater independence, reducing the amount of support they need in the future. This will be achieved by being flexible in the packages of care offered, which will be both person-centred and outcome-focused, providing support when people need it.

In setting up the team, Hertfordshire council has worked closely in partnership with the county’s joint commissioning unit, which commissions health and social care services on behalf of the council and the two clinical commissioning groups. We will also be working closely with Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust during the handover of people to the new team and will continue to work in partnership with the trust to ensure any clinical needs are met.

The team is developmental and it is hoped it will evolve to meet not only people’s needs now but also their changing needs over coming years. This exciting development has involved recruiting various staff from diverse backgrounds who will bring the experience, talent and creativity to enable adults and young people with Asperger’s syndrome and high-functioning autism to experience positive outcomes and greater inclusion.

Alison Carpenter is manager of the Hertfordshire Asperger social care team and Mark Dixon is the council’s Asperger adviser