One of our longest established services is our Family Support provision which is based in the local communities across Northern Ireland, providing individualised support services. 

Our staff have the skills and dedication to ensure autistic children, autistic adults and their families develop increased confidence, resilience, support networks, well-being, and connectedness.  

Mother and daughter playing with colourful toy blocks together

Helpline support

A vital and high demand service is our Helpline, which is often the first point of contact pre and post diagnosis. In 2022/23, we received over 7,500 direct calls, emails and visits from individuals, parents, and professionals in need of a listening ear and support. Our aim is to provide practical and emotional support that enhances networks and coping mechanisms, whilst also bridging families to appropriate services in their area. 

Our Helpline is available from Monday-Friday 9am-5pm on 028 9040 1729 (option 1).

I really appreciate your help and support, I wish I had of got talking to you sooner. You are an epitome of strength, I took great comfort from our conversation, your dedication and commitment is exemplary.
Parent, Helpline service
Mother and son play with toys together

Early Intervention

Our Early Intervention Service is a partnership service, led by Autism NI, which aims to build and strengthen relationships for families of autistic children aged 17 and under. The service supports families in the Belfast, Northern, South Eastern and Western Trust through:

  • Encouraging early childhood intervention through a programme of practical skills training.
  • Training courses for parents and family members.
  • Support groups for family members in the community.

Families are referred to this service through the Belfast, Northern, South Eastern and Western Trusts and will engage in a home-based programme. These meetings will provide family members with practical tools and support to manage their children's behaviours, play, and socialisation. Each meeting will last approximately one to two hours and topics discussed may include:

  • The use of visual structure to help a child understand.
  • Structuring the home environment.
  • Setting up and maintaining positive routines.
  • Daily living skills and play skills.
  • Organisation skills, for example, homework schedules.

Training will also be available to support parents and family members to build up knowledge, skills and coping strategies, and ongoing community support will be available in the form of local support groups.

Ellen's story

Ellen has a 3-year-old daughter Amelia (pictured) who is autistic and non-verbal, and recently received our early intervention service.

Read Ellen's story

Autism NI member pictured beside a small child playing with toy trains

Autism Resource Officer (ARO)

Autism NI provide a unique family support service which provides critical, community-based support to autistic people and their families. The Autism Resource Officers deliver a community focused bespoke service for children and families who have received a diagnosis. 

The service is flexible in its approach, enhancing social networks and bridging families to the supports they need.  At present, this service is available in the Northern, Western, and Belfast Trust areas, and operates alongside the Autism Intervention teams. Autism NI continues to be an advocate of partnerships and recognises the strength of working together to achieve outcomes.

The ARO worked with me to source local supports that I could access that benefitted me and my child such as the local women's centre.

Even though I have lived within the area, I had never availed of the resources.

Further Information

For further information on supports available, please contact 028 9040 1729 (Option 1).