The Barnardo's Cygnet programme is based on the Parent Adviser Model, which was developed to support families of disabled children.
The model came from parents' concerns that they were not being listened to by professionals, who they felt focused almost exclusively on the management of children's problems, without taking account of their adaptation to difficult situations.
The Barnardo's Cygnet programme is delivered in a group format, and each session is designed to help participants examine a specific issue (such as diagnosis, communication, sensory issues and challenging behaviours).
The Barnardo's Cygnet programme is aimed at families of children on the autism spectrum aged 7 to 18.
It builds a mutually supportive environment in which parents and carers learn about autism, learn about behaviours, learn strategies for managing difficult behaviours, and are signposted to relevant resources.
Some people claim that the programme can help parents increase their own sense of competence and enable them to improve some behaviours in their children.