FAMILIES of children awaiting an autism assessment are being invited to update sessions ­to find out more about the service and help shape its future.

The event — organised by the NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group ­— ­will give families the opportunity to hear from health, education, special educational needs, speech and language therapists and commissioners.

As well as being provided with an update on the service, families will also be invited to volunteer and get involved in how the autism service is provided going forward.

Dr Sarah Westmore, clinical lead for mental health for the Isle of Wight CCG, said: "Families and children have always been at the heart of any service we commission, and it’s important their experience and insight helps us shape the service in the future.

"Our priority remains to ensure the service we set up is as safe and effective as possible.

"We encourage as many families as possible to attend.

There were 250 children waiting to be seen when the former autism diagnosis service stopped running, but the CCG said all of those children had now been seen by newly-commissioned providers.

"We know families are still anxious about the service going forward and so we want to put minds at rest that Psicon and Healios will continue with assessments so there will be no gap in services," said Dr Westmore.

"Previously, parents would have needed a diagnosis to access this service. However, we have now removed this barrier so the family of any child showing traits of autism can find help."

The event takes place on Monday, July 1, at the Riverside Centre in Newport.

Three sessions are being run ­— 10am to noon, 1pm to 3pm, and 5pm to 7pm.

To book a place, email


, giving your name and chosen time slot.