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Autism: Early intervention

EARLY Bird is set to wing its way across Britain. The National Autistic Society's pioneering programme for early years education for children with autism has completed a successful two-year pilot. It is now offering training in the licensed use of its unique learning programme and supporting materials to teams of professionals around the country.

After training, professionals work with parents in an intensive three-month programme consisting of a three-hour training meeting or home visit. The focus of the work is on helping parents to understand their child's autism and develop good practice in, for exampl, pre-empting the development of inappropriate behaviour patterns.

Although early intervention is recognised as essential for making progress with autistic children, it all too often doesn't happen because of delayed diagnosis, lack of specialist services or, as is often the case, both. Early Bird is hoping to fill that gap and is already operating in over a dozen sites in the UK.

Early Bird Programme's training, tel: 01709 761 273. Parents' helpline, tel: 0870 600 8585. General information on autism and services provided by the National Autistic Society,website: www.oneworld.orgautism_uk

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