The Education Rights Service exists to help parents and carers advocate on behalf of their child. You are usually the best person to advocate for your child and we have a team of trained volunteer advisers who can offer guidance on the law to enable you to do this effectively. However, you may prefer to have a legally qualified person advising or advocating directly on behalf of your child and in this case it may be more appropriate to instruct a solicitor. You may be able to use our Autism Services Directory to find one in your area.
Legal advice and assistance may be available in some education cases for families on a low income or benefits.
If you live in England or Wales and think you may be entitled to legal help then you can contact Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0845 345 4 345 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm and Saturday, 9am to 12:30pm) or visit their website: https://www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice They will carry out a full assessment and, if you are entitled to legal help, will then direct you to a solicitor who is able to take on special educational needs cases funded under the legal aid scheme.
If you live in Scotland you can contact the Scottish Legal Aid Board on 0845 122 8686 (7am to 11pm but services available vary depending on time) or visit their website: http://www.slab.org.uk
If you live in Northern Ireland you can contact the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission on 028 9040 8888 (from 9.15 am to 5.15 pm, Monday to Friday) or visit their website: http://www.nilsc.org.uk/
Finding information local to you
You may find it useful to use our Autism Services Directory, the UK's most comprehensive directory of services and support for people with an autism spectrum disorder, their families, and people who work with them.
The Directory could help you to find local:
• Legal help
• Education and health professionals
• NAS Branches
Please note that we do not inspect the services listed.
For information about strategies and approaches available for children and young people with autism please visit Research Autism.
Further and higher education
The Education Rights Service offers information and advice relating to school education. For information relating to post-school education, such as colleges and universities:
If you live in England or Wales you can contact Disability Rights UK’s Disabled Student Helpline on 0800 328 5050 or visit their website: http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help/helplines/disabled-students-helpline
If you live in Scotland you can contact Lead Scotland on 0800 999 2568 or visit their website: www.lead.org.uk
If you live in Northern Ireland you can contact Disability Action on 028 9029 7880 or visit their website: www.disabilityaction.org