National Autistic Society

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The National Autistic Society
National Autistic Society (logo).svg
Group of London-based parents
TypeRegistered charity
Supporting the rights and interests of all autistic people
  • London, UK
Area served
United Kingdom
Members (2013)
18,000[citation needed]
Revenue (2012–13)
£88 million[citation needed]
3,630[citation needed]

The National Autistic Society (NAS) is a British charity for autistic people. The purpose of the organisation is to improve the lives of autistic people 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 autistic people 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 autistics and a campaigning function.[citation needed]

In 1963 Gerald Gasson, a parent and member of the Executive Committee, designed the primary symbol for autism: a puzzle piece with a picture of a crying child inside of it, which was first used as logo by the NAS itself.[1][2][3]

History and organisation[edit]

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).[4] Sybil Elgar was asked by the parents to be their first teacher for their children.[5] The Society school for Autistic Children was established and later renamed as the Sybil Elgar School with her as the first principal. 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.[6] 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%).[citation needed]

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.[7][8]

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[edit]

The NAS manages a number of residential schools in the United Kingdom.

  • Anderson School is an independent, free school, day school opened in Chigwell, Essex. It is for children between 11 and 19 years old.[9]
  • 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 the end 2014 or the start of 2015 to close the school's education aspect and turn the complex into an adult residential facility.[10]
  • Church Lawton School is a day school in Church Lawton, Stoke-on-Trent. It opened after Broomhayes School closed down in January 2015 and is the second free school to be opened by the NAS.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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 founded at Gravesend in 1968, before moving to its present location in 1991.[13]
  • 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.[14][15][16]
  • 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.[17]
  • 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.[18]
  • Thames Valley School is a day school in Reading, Berkshire which opened in 2013 (a year after Anderson School).[19]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result Refs
2017 Diversity in Media Awards Marketing Campaign of the Year Make it Stop Nominated [20][21]


  1. ^ "National Autistic Society Timeline - 1963. First NAS logo developed". Retrieved 2 April 2017.
  2. ^ Grinker, Roy Richard; Mandell, David (1 June 2015). "Notes on a puzzle piece". Autism. SAGE Publications. 19 (6): 643–645. doi:10.1177/1362361315589293.
  3. ^ Muzikar, Debra (20 April 2015). "The Autism Puzzle Piece: A symbol that's going to stay or go?". The Art of Autism. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  4. ^ Allison, Helen Green (June 1997). "Perspectives on a puzzle piece". National Autistic Society. Archived from the original on 25 February 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Our Story So Far". National Autistic Society. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Our structure and people". National Autistic Society. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  7. ^ Autism Alert Card, Wiltshire Police, Retrieved 6 May 2011
  8. ^ Autism Anglia, Retrieved 6 May 2011
  9. ^ "NAS Anderson School, Chigwell". National Autistic Society. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. ^ "The National Autistic Society Minutes Of The Annual General Meeting And Family Day". 22 November 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Church Lawton School - The National Autistic Society - NAS". National Autistic Society.
  12. ^ "Daldorch: Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  13. ^ "Helen Allison School - The National Autistic Society - NAS". National Autistic Society.
  14. ^ "Robert Ogden School - The National Autistic Society - NAS". National Autistic Society.
  15. ^ "The Robert Ogden School". OFSTED.
  16. ^ "SC032154". OFSTED.
  17. ^ "Radlett Lodge School - The National Autistic Society - NAS". National Autistic Society.
  18. ^ "Sybil Elgar School - The National Autistic Society - NAS". National Autistic Society.
  19. ^ "Thames Valley School - The National Autistic Society - NAS". National Autistic Society.
  20. ^ "2017 Shortlisted Creative - Diversity In Media Awards". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Make It Stop". The National Autistic Society. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2018 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]