Welcome to sthelens.gov.uk

Best place to find information and services that your council provides...

Language, Autism and Social Communication Service

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

You may hear the terms -

‘ASD’, 'autism', 'autism spectrum disorder' or 'autism spectrum condition' used. Each of these terms relates to the same condition but terminology can vary depending on location and Health Authority preferences.

Autism can be described as a spectrum, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, each individual will be affected in a unique way. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience sensory processing differences related to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light, colours, and balance.



Who are we?

We are known as the Language, Autism and Social Communication Service or LASCS and have been in St Helens for over 10 years.

The team consists of a lead teacher specialising in autism, a specialist teacher for autism, a specialist teacher for language and five specialist teaching assistants who have a range of relevant skills and experience.

Who do we work with?

We train, advise, support and work with schools, families, children and young people.

What do we do?

LASCS offer a diverse range of support which includes:

  • Assessment of children and young people with language, autism and social communication difficulties
  • A full range of individual and small group interventions based on good practice
  • Advice and consultation for education staff in schools and colleges
  • Specialist advice for Education, Health and Care assessments
  • Supporting 4 year olds with ASD transition successfully to their Reception class
  • Supporting 11 year olds with ASD and significant language difficulties transition to their high school
  • Introducing Person Centred Planning approaches at KS3/4
  • Attendance at school reviews, multi-agency meetings, school’s Planning and Consultation Meetings
  • Training for schools and other professionals
  • Advice and support for families, including training, and attendance at meetings in school
  • Sign posting to online resources and other services

Our Senior Learning Assistants offer advice on adaptations to the curriculum and the learning environment; support and advise on transitions; listen, hear, act on and feedback to children and young people; provide training to families and identify opportunities for social skills development.

What are our key priorities?

Some of our key priorities for 2017/18 include:

  • Listening to the children and young people we work with and telling them what actions we have taken
  • Promoting positive health and emotional wellbeing for our cohort of children and young people
  • Providing specialist teacher assessments for ESS or EHCP requests
  • Providing advice and support to help schools deliver the outcomes in EHCPs related to ASD and language difficulties
  • Involvement with children and young people with ASD       who are of high risk e.g. poor attendance, social anxiety, risk of exclusion, social needs
  • Delivering post diagnosis support and training for families including NAS One day Autism Awareness Seminar, NAS EarlyBird Plus, Banardo’s Cygnet and The Sunshine Group
  • Delivering a full range of training to teachers and support staff including ELKLAN, Autism Awareness, Social Stories™, managing challenging behaviour, sensory processing and much more
  • Working strategically with all partners across education, health and social care


LASCS encourages all professionals and parent or carers to make a referral to LASCS via the child or young person’s school. Schools are aware of our current referral criteria for language, autism and social communication. Schools hold multi- professional Planning and Consultation Meetings each term, where children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability can be discussed, with parental consent, and decisions made. This is in line with St Helens Graduated Approach. Schools can provide all the information needed for the referral, to give a full a picture as possible, to aid decisions.

Some referrals, for parent support, are made automatically after a child or young person receives a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If a child has been known to Speech and Language Therapy and has a significant language delay advice can be sought directly from Specialist Teacher for Language.

Referral forms are held in all schools but for an extra copy please email


Parents, carers and professionals can ring for advice on: 01744 673135

Training for schools

In school training

LASCS has a full menu of training which it delivers to schools and other professionals. We are very flexible and adaptable, designing the training to meet the needs of schools on request. We offer all personnel in schools ASD Awareness Training; building on the skills of practioners with more specialised training approaches such as Social Stories ™, Comic Strip Conversations, Incredible 5 Point Scale and much more besides.

See our LASC training booklet 2017-18 for more details.

LASCS has been delivering after school twilight sessions for many years now.  There are approximately six to eight per year and the topics vary; we respond to feedback from attendees, creating sessions to meet their needs.

Training for Families

NAS One Day Understanding Autism Seminar for Families

This seminar is held frequently throughout the year. As a child or young person receives a diagnosis of autism his or her family are offered this initial introduction to autism. For further information please see NAS One Day Understanding Autism Seminar for Families. Families receive personal invites once their details are forwarded on from the St Helens Autism Spectrum Pathway. However, some families may move in to the area or receive the diagnosis for their child outside of St Helens. In this case please email LASCS at schoolageteam@sthelens.gov.uk for more details.

NAS EarlyBird Plus training for families

EarlyBird Plus is delivered by a team of licenced trainers to families of children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. A maximum of six families can attend the 10 week long training, including two family members and a member of the school staff who knows the child well. Details of the course are provided during attendance at the One Day Understanding Autism Seminar, EarlyBird Plus Information Session. However, some families may move in to the area or receive the diagnosis for their child outside of St Helens. In this case please email LASCS at schoolageteam@sthelens.gov.uk for more details.


Cygnet is a parent training programme for parents and carers of children/young people aged 9 years plus in St Helens who have a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is delivered by our specialist senior learning assistants over the course of eight weeks. The course is available twice per year, sometimes an evening course can be arranged. Details of the course are provided during the attendance of the One Day Understanding Autism Seminar or see Cygnet. Some families may move in to the area or receive the diagnosis for their child outside of St Helens. In this case please email LASCS at schoolageteam@sthelens.gov.uk for more details.

The Sunshine Sessions

The Language, Autism and Social Communication Service (LASCS) run a monthly session for parents and carers of children with ASD who attend mainstream schools.  During the sessions, the group focuses on key issues related to children and young people with ASD.  It is an opportunity for parents and carers to share successful strategies or problem solve.

Throughout the sessions LASCS practitioners and guest speakers will offer advice, strategies and tips on particular topics of difficulty e.g. safety, hormones, diet.

The Sunshine Sessions welcome any parent/carer who wants the support.

Sessions are free but a donation for refreshments is greatly appreciated.

Please see our flyer for dates and topics. See also Spring 2018 dates.

If you wish to attend or want to find out more information please contact:

Telephone: 01744 673135

Email: schoolageteam@sthelens.gov.uk

Elklan* was established in 1999 by two experienced speech and language therapists Liz Elks and Henrietta McLachlan in response to a demand for training to be delivered by speech and language therapists to education staff to enable them to be more effective in their support of children with speech, language and communication need (SLCN).

Over a period of 11 years Elklan has trained over 1,200 speech and language therapists to be Elklan tutors and over 550 specialist advisory teachers to work in a co-tutor role. Most of the trainers work in the UK but in recent years there are increasing number of tutors in Ireland, Australia, Luxembourg and The Falkland Islands.

The Language, Autism and Social Communication Service has a specialist Language Teacher trained to deliver Elklan* with colleagues from the Bridgewater Trust Speech & Language Therapy Service.

More information can be found on the Elklan website

or contact

Email:  schoolageteam@sthelens.gov.uk
Tel: 01744 673135

  * Copyright © 2011 Elklan Training Ltd

Language, Autism and Social Communication Service 

Newton Children's Centre
Patterson Street
WA12 9PZ

Tel: 01744 673135