PARENTS or carers of children with autism can attend a free three-day course in Barnstaple starting on Monday of next week (July 14.) Help! is a support programme for those looking after young children aged five to 11-years-old who have been diagnosed wit

PARENTS or carers of children with autism can attend a free three-day course in Barnstaple starting on Monday of next week (July 14.)Help! is a support programme for those looking after young children aged five to 11-years-old who have been diagnosed with autism, including Asperger syndrome, in the past 18 months. Parents of children with a longer diagnosis can also apply.It is being run by the National Autistic Society charity and will be at the Cedars Inn, Roundswell, from 9.45am-2.30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday July 14, 15 and 16 next week.The course provides an introduction to autism and looks at positive ways to address the difficult issues that families can face, from every-day communication, social interaction and behavioural problems, to education legislation, benefits, rights and local support services. "Autism can be a serious and disabling condition and is much more common than most people think," said Andrew Powell from the charity."The right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people's lives. Help! reaches families at a crucial time to aid them in understanding autism and how to support their child. "After receiving a diagnosis, parents and carers can feel very alone and the NAS help! programme exists to provide useful information, support and advice."Parents and carers need to attend all three days to benefit fully from the programme and must book in advance.For more information or to book, contact Lisa Smith on (01179) 748438 or email lisa.smith@nas.org.uk