National Autistic Society
Group of London-based parents
Supporting the rights and interests of all people with autism
"Until everyone understands"
|Autism rights movement|
The National Autistic Society (NAS) is a British charity for people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD), including autism and Asperger syndrome. The purpose of the organisation is to improve the lives of people with autism in the United Kingdom.
Founded in 1962 as the Autistic Children's Aid Society of North London, it has around 18,000 members. The NAS is funded through UK government grants and voluntary contributions.
In addition to a wide range of adult and children's services for people with autism located across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the charity has an Autism Helpline open 5 days a week, a range of products for professionals working with autism and a campaigning function.
History and organisation
The National Autistic Society originated from the foundation of the Autistic Children's Aid Society of North London on 23 January 1962 by parents of autistic children living in the area, with the assistance of a member from The Spastics Society (later Scope). The current name was adopted in 1975 when the charity extended its interest to the whole of the United Kingdom. It has the following names registered with the Charity Commission:
- The National Autistic Society
- National Society for Autistic Children
- Autism UK
- Action for Autism
The NAS is organised into four regions and currently run by an elected Board of Trustees and an elected Council through a Strategic Management Group. The president of the NAS is Jane Asher and the patron is The Countess of Wessex. In 2012-2013, it employed around 3,000 people and spent £85.2 million directly on its charitable activities, out of £91.2 million in expenditures (approx 93.4%).
In 2011, the NAS consulted with numerous police agencies in developing identity card schemes designed to ensure a tolerable environment for autistic individuals during inquiries; participating agencies included the Wiltshire Police, the Essex Police, the Norfolk Constabulary, the Suffolk Constabulary, and the Cumbria Constabulary.
The NAS is also a founding member of Autism-Europe, an umbrella organisation bringing together 80 autism organisations from over 30 European countries. As a member of Autism-Europe the NAS collaborates and shares examples of learning and good practice with other associations throughout the continent.
Schools and facilities
The NAS manages a number of residential schools in the United Kingdom.
- Anderson School is an independent residential school that opened in 2012 near Bristol after the NAS's 50th Anniversary. It is for children between 10 and 19 years old.
- Broomhayes School & Children's Centre (alternatively Kingsley House) is a residential and secondary termly boarding school near Bideford, Devon, and consists mostly of buildings of a former NHS infectious diseases unit. It opened and was established in 1985 in Westward Ho!, before moving to its current location in 1993 and has a maximum capacity of 26 boarding students. As of March 2009 it is currently supplemented by a further education unit for 14 students, utilising a Grade II listed Rectory near Northam, Devon. A decision was taken in 2014 to close the school's education aspect and turn the complex into an adult residential facility.
- Church Lawton School is a day school in Church Lawton, Stoke-on-Trent. It opened in January 2015 and is the second free school to be opened by the NAS.
- Daldorch House School is a residential school in Ayrshire, Scotland. It is for children 5–18 years old. The junior campus is a category B listed building, built in 1801.
- Helen Allison School is a residential school for 42 day pupils and 28 residential pupils (70 pupils in total), and is located near Meopham, Kent. The school was originally founded at Gravesend in 1968, before moving to its present location in 1991.
- Robert Ogden School is an independent residential school for 165 children between the ages 5 and 19 years old. It includes Clayton Croft Children's Home which can cater for 12 children and Thurnscoe House which caters for 5 children, both based in Thurnscoe, Yorkshire.
- Radlett Lodge School is a residential school for 49 pupils (including 14 residential and 35 day pupils) in Radlett, Hertfordshire (temporarily in Hatfield from 1995 to 1996). It was opened in 1974, with boarding facilities being added in 1986.
- Sybil Elgar School is a residential school in Southall with boarding facilities located in Ealing, West London in which feeds from Radlett Lodge School. It opened in 1965 and is the worlds first autism residential school. The further education unit classes moved to Acton in 2000.
- Thames Valley School is a day school in Reading, Berkshire which opened in 2013 (a year after Anderson School).
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- "Our vision and mission - | autism | Asperger syndrome |". National Autistic Society. 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
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- Allison, Helen (June 1997). "Perspectives on a puzzle piece". National Autistic Society. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
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- Autism Alert Card, Wiltshire Police, Retrieved 6 May 2011
- Autism Anglia, Retrieved 6 May 2011
- "About our school - | autism | Asperger syndrome |". National Autistic Society. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
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- "Thames Valley School - The National Autistic Society - NAS". National Autistic Society.
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