Making a Referral for Autism Support

Find out about the referral process.

Making a Referral for Autism Support

Educational settings are reminded of the graduated response to supporting their children and young people with SEN under the new SEN Framework and SEN Code of Practice: Identification, Assessment and Provision by Schools:

A request for Stage 2 provision begins with a decision either at a Stage 1 review, or following discussions between the Principal, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), the teachers, appropriate EA advisory and support service and the parent or child over compulsory school age, that Stage 2 provision may be necessary. 

To help inform the school’s deliberations, the school should review the actions that have been taken in line with the Stage 1 to Stage 2 School Checklist at Annex 3 d) for nursery/nursery classes; 4 d) for primary school settings; and 5 d) for post-primary school settings.

AAIS Referral Pathway

1 The Special Educational Needs Coordinator consults with the EA Educational Psychologist

The Educational Psychologist will determine if a referral is required. The Educational Psychologist will also signpost to relevant resources and training. 

2 Educational Psychologist Referral

An EA Educational Psychologist makes a referral to the Service on behalf of the parents or carers and the school that the child attends.

3 Referral Outcome

If the referral is accepted the Service will contact the parent and the school to gather further information to inform recommendations and further support, if so required at that time. If the referral is not accepted the Service will contact the Educational Psychologist to discuss further.

4 Next Steps

If the referral for Direct Pupil Support is not accepted, parents may contact their local office for parent advice and support for home-based issues (Parent Consultation) and schools may contact the AAIS School Contact to request advice and support (LSC Consultation).

AAIS support may be provided, with or without a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN), for children with a diagnosis of autism with an associated SEN.

  • A referral from an Education Authority Educational Psychologist (EP), is made on behalf of parents or carers and the educational setting that the child attends.
  • The EP, in conjunction with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo), completes an AAIS Referral Form and a School Consultation form, which details the child’s strengths, presentation of autism and their special educational needs. The child’s parents/carers, teachers, and Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) will have an opportunity to contribute information. 
  • Where a referral is deemed necessary, the referral form is emailed by the EP to the appropriate AAIS referral mailbox, i.e. Early Years, Primary or Post-primary within the EA. 
  • Once received and processed, a designated AAIS School Contact will be in touch with the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) to gather information from them, their parents or carers, and school staff. This information will inform recommendations’
  • Where a referral is not deemed necessary, we will return the referral form to the EP, explaining why the referral has not been accepted and discuss any additional information which may be required. The AAIS Referral Form may be resubmitted with additional information, or the EP will contact the school to discuss next steps. 

Similar content

Contact the Autism Advisory and Intervention Service

The Autism Advisory and Intervention Team can be contacted for advice and information specific to children and young people who have, or may have, autism.