PALMS (Positive behaviour, Autism, Learning disability and Mental health Service) works across the county providing a specialist multi-disciplinary approach to children and young people aged 0-19 who have a global learning disability and/or Autistic Spectrum Disorder and their families. PALMS clinicians comprise a ‘virtual team’ delivering a consistent service in a variety of community settings.
PALMS aims to keep children and young people with their families within Hertfordshire thereby improving outcomes for all family members.
We are a cohesive team who support one another to work in dynamic and innovate ways to provide the best possible service.
We are a family-led service working to understand and support the significant impact of challenges experienced by families of children and young people with learning disabilities and/or ASD
To achieve this we work closely with children and young people, their families, colleagues and commissioners and view working closely as a key approach that underpins PALMS.
We strive to focus on both prevention and intervention. We endeavour to help children and young people move towards attaining their ambitions and leading happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.
We aim to promote the involvement of children, young people and their families and carers in the evolution of PALMS in a meaningful and helpful way for the local communities across Hertfordshire.
Tel: 01727 732007
PALMS is a multi-disciplinary team who provide individually tailored support to help manage a number of concerns experienced at home. The service is available for children and young people up to their 19th birthday.
PALMS provides intervention where necessary and intensive support to families reaching crisis with a step up and step down approach throughout their care journey.
The range of interventions PALMS will offer includes:
We undertake interventions in a range of settings. The clinicians that undertake the assessment and intervention depend on your child’s need.
Following the recently commissioned PALMS review: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/freedom-of-information-and-council-data/open-data-statistics-about-hertfordshire/our-policies-and-procedures/our-policies-and-procedures.aspx# PALMS are no longer commissioned to provide ASD 2nd opinions.
A child or young person meets PALMS criteria if they
When your child has been referred to PALMS we will contact you to let you know the next steps by letter or telephone. You will be offered an assessment appointment in the first instance.
If English is not your first language we can provide an interpreter, but we need to know in advance if you are likely to need one. When your appointment is made please request this service, which is free of charge.
Initial Assessment Appointments
The initial assessment appointment can last up to one hour. Parents or carers need to attend but we also encourage you to invite other people who you deem are important to your child’s care. This may include family members, carers, professionals such as a social worker and/or teacher and voluntary support agencies. This would help us decide the most appropriate PALMS professionals to support your family and begin integrated work.
We appreciate that it can be hard for children and young people to feel comfortable for a long period of time in a ‘formal meeting setting’. We realise it can also be difficult and may not be appropriate to discuss all the issues you feel are important. If the young person does attend this appointment, it is important that we focus on the positives however we recognise there may be some more difficult discussions you may wish to have. In this instance it may be helpful if you could bring another family member or friend to the appointment to enable the young person to leave for the second part of the appointment giving you the opportunity to discuss some of the difficulties.
In most circumstances the appointment will be with one member of the team, although at times the appointment may be undertaken by two members of the team.
If the young person will be attending the appointment, we will also send you a social story which can be used to help prepare them for the appointment.
The assessment process will involve:
• Getting to know you and your family.
• Discussing your and your child’s concerns.
• Gaining an initial understanding of your current needs.
• Gaining relevant background information including a developmental history where appropriate.
• Finding out what you have already tried to improve the situation.
• Identifying your goals.
• Gaining information about which professionals are involved in your child’s life, and requesting your consent to contact them for further information, if required.
What happens after the initial assessment?
If PALMS is the most appropriate service to meet your child’s needs, we will agree a care package and write to you with a summary of our session and agreed next steps. The way forward and additional appointments will be agreed together with your clinician. The next steps could include:
• Workshops Link to PALMS Workshop Factsheet PDF
• Groups Link to PALMS Groups Factsheet PDF
• Therapeutic work with children and young people, parents, carers and siblings Link to PALMS Therapeutic work Factsheet PDF
• Extended Assessment Link to PALMS Extended Assessment and observation factsheets
• Intensive support to families in or reaching crisis Link to PALMS Intensive support Factsheet PDF
Sometimes following assessment it may be decided that further input from PALMS is not required and your child will therefore be discharged and if appropriate referred to another service.
Resources and information for Parents and professionals:
Kids Hub East and West
The Hub provides information and support to parents and carers of children with additional needs so can deal with a wide range of issues including:
• Attending educational or social service meetings with you
• Supporting you to apply for specialist parking or benefits such as DLA
• Supplying information on Early Years provision, schools, clubs and activities
• Signposting to relevant local and national services
• Support over the phone
• Support to obtain the services you need
Further information can be found at http://www.kids.org.uk/hub
KIDS East HUB
Telephone: 01992 504013
KIDS West HUB
Telephone: 01923 676549
The Family Services Directory
This provides a wide range of information about services across Hertfordshire for children and families through an online database.
If you prefer to get information over the phone, The Family Information Service provides free, friendly impartial information/guidance on a full range of childcare, children's services and resources across Hertfordshire. Telephone: 0300 123 4052 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm
Other useful websites:
The National Autistic Society
A UK charity for people with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome providing information, support and services.
harc is the Hertfordshire branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS) British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) BILD provide a wide range of information and support for people with learning disabilities.
A charity providing a range of support and information to people with learning disabilities both locally and nationally, including a telephone helpline.
The Specialist Advisory Service
The Autistic Spectrum Condition Team within the specialist advisory service consists of trained teachers and support workers who have additional training in the education of children with special educational needs and autism.
An early intervention service for 0 to 19 year olds working to improve children’s mental health and emotional well-being.
Work with children, their schools and families to offer advice, support and guidance, including specifically for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
A voluntary organisation providing specialist information, training and advice on issues relating to Autism and ADHD. This includes courses for parents, coaching, monthly support group meetings and a telephone helpline.
Provide impartial information and guidance on special educational needs to parents, schools and other professionals. This includes a telephone helpline and support if there is a disagreement about the way a child’s needs are being met.
Herts Parent Carer Involvement
Parent-led organisation working to get parents more involved in shaping and improving services.
The family matters institute is a charity undertaking research, training and direct work with children and families.
Families in focus
Provide free parenting courses across Hertfordshire for parents of children with additional needs.
A charity offering advice and support to parents, including the Parentline free and confidential helpline.
If you need help and don’t know where to turn, if you have a question or problem, you can contact HertsHelp.
Have you heard of the Local Offer? If you are a young person with, or have a child with special educational needs and disabilities, (SEND) the Local Offer is Hertfordshire’s central source of information for SEND services and support. Visit www.hertsdirect.org/localoffer for an easily accessible one stop shop.
Carers in Herts
Providing information, problem solving, support and giving carers a voice to influence service improvements.
I have autism what’s that? – Doherty, McNally & Sherrard – ISBN: 1899280790 – 2000 – 4-9yrs – Helps young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder discover how they differ from neurotypical young people, it is straightforward to understand, well illustrated and also offers coping strategies for the young person amongst other things.
Different like me. My book of autism heroes – Elder, J – ISBN: 1843108151 – 2006 – 8-12yrs – Introduces children to famous inspirational figures with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
I am utterly unique. Celebrating the strengths of children with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism – Larson, E.M – ISBN: 1931282897 – 2006 – 4-9 yrs – Each page represents one of the many abilities and talents of autistic children in a playful alphabetic format and helps the child grow in self awareness.
I am Special. A book by Peter Vermuelen – ISBN: 1853029165 – A workbook designed for a child to work through with an adult – parent, teacher or professional – in 2 parts. First part is a theoretical introduction explaining how to inform a child that they have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and how to use the second part of the book. The second part of the book is a series of worksheets for the child to work through with an adult to create a personal book about themselves and it includes exercises that present ASD positively but which strikes a nice balance between facts, information and personal information, also ensuring that it covers both the strengths of ASD as well as difficulties that a person with ASD may face.
Aspergers…what does it mean to me – Catherine Faherty – ISBN: 1885477597 – 2000 - This is a book that will never become irrelevant or "outdated." Every child who uses it also becomes its co-author. Each chapter is divided in two parts: the first part - the Workbook - is for the child to complete, by writing or highlighting "What is True for Me" in lists of simple statements. The second part - "For Parents and Teachers" - contains helpful tips/information for the adult who guides him through the exercises. The book will provide insight into your child's mind, and make him/her more self-aware, learning what autism means in relation to crucial areas of his/her life: friendships, fears, abilities, and much more.
Asperger Syndrome; The universe and everything – Kenneth Hall – ISBN: 1853029300 – 2000 - Kenneth Hall was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of eight. Here he describes some of the inner experiences and perceptions of autism in childhood. He has a warm and positive attitude which other children will find inspiring. Insights, struggles and joys are recounted vividly in a frank and humorous way.
An animated introduction to Asperger Syndrome (short, accessible film explaining through a series of lively animations what Asperger Syndrome is, what it feels like and how it can be helped – informative, easy to understand – created by children with professional animations – highly entertaining, summarized basics and insight into condition.
Ian’s Walk: A story about autism – Laurie Lears – ISBN: 9780807534816 – 1998 – 6-10yrs – (a good book for siblings) - When her autistic little brother, Ian, wanders off while on a walk to the park, Julie must try to see the world through his eyes in order to find him.
The reason I jump – Naoki Higashida – ISBN: 9781444776751
- 2013 – Composed by a 13 year old boy with severe autism. Naoki learnt to communicate via pointing to letters on a ‘cardboard keyboard’ – and what he has to say gives an exceptional insight into an autistically-wired mind. He explains the often baffling behaviour of people with autism, invites us to share his perception of time, life, beauty and nature. Proving beyond doubt that people with autism do not lack imagination, humour or empathy, Naoki makes a heartfelt plea for our patience and compassion.
Support resources for helping you to look after yourself:
Looking after yourself
The family may wish to explore the different ways available to enable them to be as effective as possible in supporting their child’s development. Further information and exploration of how best to meet the personal challenges faced can be found at
“It can get better” by Paul Dickinson and Liz Hannah
Gives practical advice to parents of children to help with several problem behaviours, including temper tantrums, toileting problems, sleep, feeding, self-help skills and learning to play, coping with obsessional and repetitive behaviour.
The girl with the Curly Hair: Alis Rowe
My family have known me my entire life.
They have been by my side at the doctor’s.
They have brought me out of shutdowns.
They have supported me through depression.
Yet, despite being a part of all of these things,
they still don’t really know what it’s like being me, having Asperger’s Syndrome.
So I wrote this book.
The hardest thing about having Asperger’s Syndrome is that it can seem like an invisible condition. Females in particular, can be expert at masking their symptoms.
Tomorrow I will get up and leave the house, go into work and get on with things, my challenges totally oblivious to the people around me. The next day will be the same. And the day after.
I hope this book will build the bridge between people with Asperger’s Syndrome and the rest of the world. Most people with Asperger’s Syndrome are able and willing to work and live a “normal” life, with the right support and adjustment. The main problem is that most people are just unaware of how they can help.
So, let us begin our journey into the wearing but wonderful world that is Asperger’s Syndrome.
A referral can be made via a number of options, including:
• Via Electronic SystemOne referral within Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust
• Via Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust's Single Point of Access Service
• By completing a PALMS Referral Form or detailed letter sent to:
PALMS Admin Team
Sandridge Gate Business Centre
• By completing a PALMS Referral Form and emailing it to PALMS@hct.nhs.uk
Copyright © 2015 - 2017 Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust