Cygnet Autism Support.

A programme for parents and carers.

A  support programme for parents and carers of  children and young people, aged 5-18, who are autistic.

Parents of autistic children face the usual positive and difficult challenges of parenting and quite a few more. Attending a Cygnet autism support programme gives parents and carers an opportunity to develop their understanding of autism and consider ways to support their child.

It also provides the opportunity to meet other people in a similar position and hear about their experiences in an informal but supportive atmosphere.

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Cygnet Providers

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What can I get out of Cygnet?

Increased knowledge of Autism.

Further, understand your child’s perspective and view on the world.

Develop a practical strategies that can be beneficial to your child.

Direct you to relevant support and resources, locally and nationally.

Provide the opportunity to meet other parents and create a support network.

Provide the opportunity to explore specific topics e.g. supporting siblings; Puberty, sexual wellbeing & relationships; Sleep

Parents feedback


How can I access the Cygnet programme

Barnardo’s have developed the Cygnet in partnership with young people, parents and practitioners to enable a variety of organisations to deliver programmes under license to parents in their locality.

To find the nearest programme provider to you put in your postcode to find relevant contact details. Please note that each organisation will have its own referral criteria, particularly related to geography, diagnosis and age.

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Read frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for email or phone 07596 569702 Mon – Wed or 07729 116214 Thurs 


Why is it called Cygnet?

This is because it has historically followed on from the NAS Early Bird Programme for under 5’s. Hence we are following the bird theme.


What does Cygnet cover?

The core Cygnet programme is delivered over seven two and a half to three-hour sessions which include:

  • Introductory session
  • An overview of autism with parent and carer experience
  • Thinking & Sensory
  • Social Interaction & Communication
  • Understanding and supporting behaviour
  • Analysing behaviour
  • Group choice

Some organisations will also deliver additional sessions on

  • Supporting Siblings
  • Puberty, sexual wellbeing & relationships
  • Sleep


How much does it cost?

Unless agreed with Barnardo’s Cygnet should be delivered to parents and carers at no cost.


How many people are in a group?

There should be no more than 12.


Where do groups run and how often?

This will be decided by your provider.


Does my child have to have a diagnosis of autism for me to access a group?

For most providers this will form part of their referral criteria but there may be some exceptional circumstances where this is not the case. Your nearest provider will be able to provide you with this information.


How do I know that Cygnet will be beneficial to me?

Feedback from parents is overwhelmingly positive as well as independent evaluations by Northumbria and York Universities.


How can I give feedback about the delivery of a Cygnet programme in my area?

Either contact your local provider directly or contact Barnardo’s on the email and contact number provided.