Welcome to Barnardo's Forward Steps website
If you have a young child with autism or want to know more about the condition then this site offers you practical help and support as well as information and resources.
What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong condition which affects how a person makes sense of the world around them. People with autism spectrum disorders usually experience problems with social relationships, communication and imagination. They may also exhibit associated behaviours such as unusual responses to sensory stimulation, a repetitive behaviour pattern or reluctance to change a routine.
The condition is wide-ranging - for example some people with autism also have learning difficulties while others, such as those with Asperger syndrome, are likely to have an average or above average IQ.
It is difficult to say how many people have autism but taking into account all autism spectrum disorders, the National Autistic Society estimates that as many as 1 per 100 of the UK population may have the condition.
What is Forward Steps?
Forward Steps is a unique service which helps pre-school children with autism and their families. It is a Barnardo's project located in Belfast and is partly funded by the Department of Education, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust. We provide services to pre-school children with autism and their families referred by these Trusts.