The Disabilities Trust's autism services were inspired by the potential of people on the autistic spectrum to support them to live their lives in ways they choose.

We offer a range of individually tailored support services, aimed at helping people live their lives as independently as possible. Service users are encouraged to develop their social, vocational and recreational skills and ensure that they are fully involved in all decisions affecting their lives, allowing them to achieve their aspirations.

Autism is a complex disability and no two people have the same needs. Our detailed assessment procedure is designed by experts to determine the level of support needed by each individual. We are committed to finding new ways of understanding the views of those who have communication difficulties and tailor our communication methods to best meet the needs of that person.


We believe that education plays a vital role in improving the long-term opportunities of people with autism, who benefit from extra help in both school and further education. By offering education services for children as well as adults, we are able to ensure maximum continuity of care, support and transition as a person grows up.

This is particularly vital for people with autism, who can often experience change as unsettling and threatening. Our educational and residential services help ease the transition into adulthood by providing education, life and vocational skills that complement service users' abilities while enabling them to live independently. All autism services have access to a central educational e-learning and staff training hub, together with specialist individual support with sourcing expertise.

As our first learning centre for children and young people with autism Heathermount offers learning opportunities to over 40 children and young adults with autism aged from 5 to 19 years. Building on this success, we are looking to increase its range of educational services - working closely with statutory authorities to meet growing demand.


We recognise that the transition from childhood to adulthood is particularly difficult for those with autism who face changes in their living arrangements. It has been proven that inappropriate transition from adolescence to adulthood results in poorer long term outcomes in relation to wellbeing, accessing employment and meaningful life experiences.

We are proactively addressing this issue by working with existing and potential service users, their families and local authorities to develop packages around individual needs in the most suitable environment; whether that be in the family home or specialist residential settings.

We ensure that planning takes place long enough before transition, to make the experience as stress-free as possible.

Our educational and residential services will ease transition into adulthood by providing education that matches ability; we also help people to develop life and vocation skills that will enable them to live independently through appropriate opportunities and learning.

Our person-centred approach places service users at the heart of everything we do. We recognise that people with autistic spectrum disorders often behave in ways which challenge traditional service provision.

This is often a way of someone communicating frustration, anxiety, pain or needs. Our highly experienced therapeutic team is trained to manage challenging behaviour by using interventions and enabling service users to communicate their needs and feelings in a non-threatening environment.

Our focus is to highlight and further support 'ability'. We promote the individual's right to privacy, respect, choice and inclusion and encourage people to express their views and concerns through regular liaison with their families, carers and our multi disciplinary team. We always seek to find new ways of understanding the views of those who have communication difficulties and will tailor individualised communication methods to best meet the communication needs of that person.

Housing and support

We offer a range of support options for people with autism, tailored to meet their individual needs including three purpose-built residential centres, Hollyrood in Sussex, The Maples in Reading which offer intensive support to a large number of service users, including those with challenging behaviour.

We also provide community based residential services in Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire, Reading and Maidenhead and in Sussex; offering support to a total of 32 people on the autism spectrum.

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