In the early 1970s, a group of parents with children diagnosed with autism were very concerned to find that no appropriate education facilities existed for them in Devon and Cornwall.

This small group of parents, supported by enthusiastic friends, formed a charity, the Devon and Cornwall Society for Autistic Children.

They worked hard to raise funds and purchased a property at Gulworthy, near Tavistock, which they converted into a boarding school.

At the end of the 1970s, they turned their attention to the problem of providing care for their children when they reached adulthood. The name of the charity was changed to the Devon and Cornwall Autistic Society and in 1982, after much hard work fundraising, they purchased an old rectory at St Erme, near Truro.

After initial refurbishment the first care home for adolescents and adults was established. In order to run this service it was decided to form a subsidiary organisation, the Devon and Cornwall Autistic Community Trust, which later became a charity in its own right and which is now known as Spectrum.