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Current Training for Practitioners

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Core Capabilities Framework for Supporting Autistic People

Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training

Attitudes to autism and other neurodivergences are undergoing a massive change as neurodiversity has become a more widely embraced topic. Autism Bedfordshire offer a comprehensive range of specialist training suitable for anyone wanting to develop a better understanding of autism, what it means to be autistic, and of strategies to use to support individuals.

Our training has been designed, in line with the Core Capabilities framework for Supporting Autistic People Core Capabilities framework for Supporting Autistic People, to focus on the key outcomes that learners need to achieve, the content to be included, and with the use of appropriate teaching and learning strategies. This includes co-production of training with autistic people and families and carers, which has always been part of our training development. Our trainers have lived experience of autism and continually update their own knowledge and understanding. All our training is written with the input of autistic people and where possible, delivered in partnership with autistic guest speakers.

Individuals can book onto our advertised course programme see ‘Current Training for Practitioners’; organisations may prefer to commission from our range of training courses see ‘Our Courses’, or request bespoke training, to reach more employees simultaneously. If you want to stay updated with the latest training events please join our mailing list here.

Our training has reached over 5,000 people to date and since Covid-19 prompted us to offer training online, we have been able to reach delegates as far away as New Zealand! We continue to offer a mixed model of virtual and face to face training. Please note that our online workshops are never recorded to respect the privacy and confidentiality of the attendees, and to retain interactivity with our audiences.

When you choose training from Autism Bedfordshire, you are guaranteed the very best. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that any surplus revenue generated from our Training & Consultancy offer will be ploughed directly back into services for autistic individuals.

If you would like to find out more about training for your organisation or discuss any of your training needs, please email training@autismbeds.org

You can see a copy of our current training brochure here

We offer training to everyone – practitioners, parents & carers, health & social care services, schools, colleges, individuals, businesses, and community groups, across Bedfordshire and beyond.

Course prices include electronic handouts and certificates of attendance.

We can design bespoke training courses to suit your needs, if you don’t see what you need below. Some of our bespoke training has included, but is not limited to:

  • Offering our half day workshops as two twilight sessions (e.g., for school staff)
  • A ‘Train the Trainer’ offer for organisations with shift pattern workers (please ask for details)
  • Training adapted for specific service providers (carers/sports coaches/prison officers)
  • We’re happy to explore new topics upon request – we love a challenge!

    Autism - Introduction for Practitioners

    An introductory tier 1 course designed to provide a basic understanding of autism spectrum conditions, suitable for anyone who may encounter autistic individuals.

    Delegates will explore:

    • an overview of current legislation relating to autism
    • what autism is and the key areas that may impact autistic people
    • some practical strategies to become more ‘autism friendly’ in the workplace and in supporting autistic individuals

    Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 12

    Pre-requisites: None

    Cost: £500 or £50 per place if booked through our rolling programme

    Supporting Autistic Clients & Colleagues

    This tier 2 course is designed to develop skills, knowledge, and strategies for supporting autistic adults. The course is suitable for those who work directly with or alongside autistic individuals, or who need a more detailed understanding of autism.

    To explore:

    • what autism is and the areas in which autistic individuals may need support
    • practical strategies to become more ‘autism friendly’
    • an overview of workplace specific current legislation relating to autism differences autistic people may experience in emotional regulation and managing distress
    • differences autistic people may experience in their thinking style – the theoretical concept of Social StoriesTM as a supportive tool
    • how environments and practices can better meet individual needs and prevent situations escalating
    • managing difficult situations when all else fails

    Course Length: Full Day/ Two Half Days

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: £1000 or £100 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism in the Classroom

    This tier 2 course is designed for practitioners working in a school environment who work with autistic children of all ages: particularly useful for SEN Coordinators, class teachers and other professionals directly supporting autistic children in the classroom.

    To explore:

    • the main differences experienced by autistic children – and some of their strengths
    • practical strategies that all staff can implement to support autistic children
    • knowledge to cascade to colleagues to ensure your school is/remains an autism-friendly setting

    Course Length: 2 half days

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Pre-requisites: Basic autism knowledge or practical experience

    Cost: For both parts, a total of £1,000 or £100 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme (both parts must be attended to gain a certificate of attendance)

    Autism - Advanced Professional Practice

    This tier 3 course is based on evidence gathered from autistic people and clinical research professionals, with content being reviewed and updated in line with ongoing developments in research and our understanding of autism. Designed for people working with autistic individuals in a professional capacity; people with a personal interest are welcome to attend but the focus will be on professional practice

    To explore:

    • detailed information on autism theories and practice
    • the clinical diagnosis process
    • key approaches and reasonable adjustments required to support autistic individuals

    Course Length: Full Day/ Two Half Days

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Pre-requisites: Professional involvement with autistic individuals; a good understanding of autism based on prior attendance at our introductory and practitioner courses or similar (please contact us to establish whether this course is suitable for you). Certificates only issued on completion of a task, submitted to us after the course.

    Cost: Cost: £1000 or £100 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism & Behaviour

    A tier 2 course providing information about the underpinning causes of differing behaviours in autistic individuals of all ages and how they may best be supported.

    To explore:

  • the differences autistic individuals may experience in regulating behaviours
  • how to adapt environments & practices to meet the needs of autistic children and adults
  • some possible ways to support during difficult situations
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism & Communication for Practitioners

    A tier 2 course looking into communication differences that may be experienced by some autistic individuals and how to meet their needs.

    To explore:

  • what we mean by communication
  • how and why autistic communication may differ from non-autistic communication
  • some possible ways to support autistic individuals with communication
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism & Using Social Stories

    A practical tier 2 workshop providing the opportunity to learn and develop skills to communicate with autistic people of all ages more effectively, using social stories. Including the opportunity to compose a social story of your own.

    To explore:

  • the differences we all experience in perspective taking and social understanding – due to different ways of thinking and processing information
  • the original theory behind the concept of social stories in addressing these differences and how they might still be useful
  • writing your own social story based on a situation of your own experience
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism & Eating Disorders

    A tier 2 course to understand the complicated relationship autistic individuals may have with food and eating, due to both sensory processing and thinking differences.

    To explore

  • the impact of autism on the way autistic individuals experience food and eating
  • sensory processing differences and how these specifically relate to eating challenges
  • anxiety and its impact on autistic individuals (including demand avoidance)
  • some resources and strategies that may be helpful to support autistic individuals with eating challenges
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism & Demand Avoidance

    A tier 2 course to increase understanding of the demand avoidant presentation of autism, with advice on how to support those with this challenge.

    To explore:

  • what is meant by ‘demand avoidance’ in relation to autism and the controversy over the ‘PDA’ diagnosis
  • the role of anxiety in creating demand avoidant behaviour
  • how to work collaboratively with children and young people to minimise demand avoidant behaviour
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism & Sensory Processing

    A tier 2 course explaining the relationship between autism and sensory processing differences, in autistic people of all ages.

    To explore:

  • the impact of sensory processing differences on the lives of autistic individuals
  • resources and strategies to support health and wellbeing due to sensory challenges
  • when to ask for professional input
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism, Women & Girls

    A tier 2 course providing an understanding of how autism may present in a more internalised way in females (and some males!)
    To explore:

  • the way autism may present more subtly in females and why this may delay diagnosis
  • how to adapt environments and practices to meet the specific needs of autistic females
  • resources and strategies for supporting autistic females
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15
    Cost: Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism & Mental Health for Practitioners

    A tier 2 course explaining the impact of poor mental health on autistic individuals, particularly useful for practitioners working with autistic individuals who have co-existing mental health conditions and/or dual diagnoses.

    To explore:

  • an overview of co-existing mental health and some neurological conditions commonly experienced by autistic people and how these affect their individual needs
  • how to proactively adapt environments and practices to prevent needs escalating
  • resources and strategies for supporting individuals
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism in the Early Years

    This new, tier 2 course has been written for practitioners of any background but particularly for those working regularly with or supporting autistic children in an Early Years setting.

    To explore:

  • Some of the ways young autistic children may experience the sensory world around them; how to interpret and support their possible responses
  • How early years children may communicate and interact, including autistic language development, play, and the value of visual support for communication
  • Practical approaches that all professionals can draw upon in their work with autistic children
  • When and who to ask for additional support
  • Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme

    Autism – What Next?

    This new, tier 3 course offers participants a template programme to take away, that can be used as therapeutic approach for practitioners and parents/carers to use following an autism diagnosis in children and young people.

    To explore:

  • the implications of an autism diagnosis, and the importance of sharing this diagnosis with the individual in a positive way
  • how to use the template programme provided with the training
  • how to personalise and adapt delivery of the programme to suit individual needs and circumstances
  • Course Length: Two Hours

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Pre-requisites: Professional or personal involvement with autistic individuals; a good understanding of autism based on prior attendance at our introductory and practitioner courses or similar (please contact us if you’re unsure if this course is suitable for you).

    Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme. Includes an electronic copy of our resource template for you to take away and use.

    To find out more or to book a course, please contact our training department: training@autismbeds.org

    Autism Bedfordshire occasionally receive funding that enables us to offer parent training within specific localities at more heavily subsidised rates – when we can offer this, the courses are listed here:


    No Events

    We are currently offering most of our pay per place practitioner training courses via zoom or teams. Partly to improve accessibility, to keep costs as low as possible for attendees, and also to reduce disruption to the working day. Delivery methods are kept under constant review and face to face delivery will continue to be offered for some courses.

    Parents and carers are always welcome to attend practitioner courses should they wish to do so. Where they are Autism Bedfordshire members and able to quote their membership number, they can secure a place for a 20% discount. This discount is only available to Autism Bedfordshire members – we have put this in place to improve access to training for parents who otherwise might have to wait for a parent course.

    Booking and Cancellation Policy
    1. All training places are subject to payment being received in advance of the course date.
    2. We require 7 days notice if a delegate cancels a place and a refund is required.
    3. Should delegates receive a confirmed place but fail to attend, a failed booking fee of the full course fee will be applied.
    4. A minimum of 24 hours prior notice of a substitute delegate will be acceptable.
    5. If a booking is made on behalf of someone else, please provide their contact email as unregistered delegates will not be admitted.
    6. If for any reason we have to cancel a course at short notice, we will refund your course fee or transfer it to any future course.

    Click on a course title to book:

    Autism in the Classroom – Kings House Bedford

    7th March, 2024
    9:30 am-3:30 pm

    This tier 2 course is designed for practitioners working in a school environment who work with autistic children of all ages: particularly useful for SEN Coordinators, class teachers and other professionals directly supporting autistic children in the classroom.
    To explore:
    • the main differences experienced by autistic children – and some of their strengths
    • practical strategies that all staff can implement to support autistic children
    • knowledge to cascade to colleagues to ensure your school is/remains an autism-friendly setting

     

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Pre-requisites: Basic autism knowledge or practical experience

    Cost: Total of £1,000 for a group or £100 on a pay per place basis if booked through our training programme

     

    Kings House, Ampthill Road, Bedford, Beds, MK42 9AZ

    Autism & Sensory Processing for Practitioners

    12th March, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop explaining the relationship between autism and sensory processing differences, in autistic people of all ages.

    To explore:

    • the impact of sensory processing differences on the lives of autistic individuals
    • resources and strategies to support health and wellbeing due to sensory challenges
    • when to ask for professional input

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed the course handouts and zoom link.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

    ,

    Autism & Mental Health for Practitioners

    19th March, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop explaining the impact of poor mental health on autistic individuals, particularly useful for practitioners working with autistic individuals who have co-existing mental health conditions and/or dual diagnoses.

    To explore:

    • an overview of co-existing mental health and some neurological conditions commonly experienced by autistic people and how these affect their individual needs
    • how to proactively adapt environments and practices to prevent needs escalating
    • resources and strategies for supporting individuals

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed the zoom link and handouts.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

    ,

    Autism, puberty and relationships for Practitioners

    21st March, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A new, tier 2 course, designed for those who support autistic individuals as they grow and develop into young adults.

    Delegates will explore:

    • the impact of physical and sensory changes during puberty
    • establishing a positive self-identity during this stage of growing independence
    • developing positive and healthy relationships with an understanding of staying safe
    • when and who to ask for additional support
    • some resources and approaches which may be helpful

    Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Pre-requisites: None

    Cost: £500 or £50 per place if booked through our rolling programme

    ,

    Autism & Ageing for Practitioners

    26th March, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    Autism & Ageing for Practitioners

    A new, tier 2 course, designed to address some of the issues being faced by those who were diagnosed with autism as children who are now entering their senior years; and those of late diagnosed older autistic individuals. Suitable for social care and health practitioners and anyone with an interest in autism and ageing.

    Delegates will explore:

    • why ageing for autistic people may suggest an increased risk than those who are neurotypical
    • how we might disentangle differences due to age and those due to diagnostic criteria
    • how we might best meet the needs of our ageing autistic population and what safeguards we might put in place for them to lead fulfilling lives

    Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Pre-requisites: None

    Cost: £500 or £50 per place if booked through our rolling programme

    ,

    Autism- What Next?

    23rd April, 2024
    10:00 am-12:00 pm

    This new, tier 3 course offers participants a template programme to take away, that can be used as therapeutic approach for practitioners and parents/carers to use following an autism diagnosis in children and young people.

    Delegates will explore:

    • the implications of an autism diagnosis, and the importance of sharing this diagnosis with the individual in a positive way
    • how to use the template programme provided with the training
    • how to personalise and adapt delivery of the programme to suit individual needs and circumstances

    Course Length: Two hours

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Pre-requisites: Professional or personal involvement with autistic individuals; a good understanding of autism based on prior attendance at our introductory and practitioner courses or similar (please contact us if you’re unsure if this course is suitable for you).

    Cost: £500 or £50 on a pay per place basis if booked through our rolling training programme.  Includes an electronic copy of our resource template for you to take away and use.

    KIngs House, Bedford, Ampthill Road, Bedford, Beds, MK42 9AZ

    Autism & Behaviour for Practitioners

    8th May, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop providing information about the underpinning causes of differing behaviours in autistic individuals of all ages and how they may best be supported.

    To explore:

    • the differences autistic individuals may experience in regulating behaviours
    • how to adapt environments & practices to meet the needs of autistic children and adults
    • some possible ways to support during difficult situations

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed the zoom link and handouts.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

    ,

    Autism in the Early Years for Practitioners

    14th May, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    This Tier 2 course has been written for practitioners of any background but particularly for those working regularly with or supporting autistic children in an Early Years setting.

    ,

    Autism & Eating Disorders

    16th May, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop to understand the complicated relationship autistic individuals may have with food and eating, due to both sensory processing and thinking differences.

    To explore

    • the impact of autism on the way autistic individuals experience food and eating
    • sensory processing differences and how these specifically relate to eating challenges
    • anxiety and its impact on autistic individuals (including demand avoidance)
    • some resources and strategies that may be helpful to support autistic individuals with eating challenges

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed the zoom link and handouts.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

     

    ,

    Autism & Using Social Stories for Practitioners

    22nd May, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    Autism & Using Social Stories for Practitioners

    A practical tier 2 workshop providing the opportunity to learn and develop skills to communicate with autistic people of all ages more effectively, using social stories. Including the opportunity to compose a social story of your own.

    To explore:

    • the differences we all experience in perspective taking and social understanding – due to different ways of thinking and processing information
    • the original theory behind the concept of social stories in addressing these differences and how they might still be useful
    • writing your own social story based on a situation of your own experience

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed further details.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

    ,

    Autism & Demand Avoidance for Practitioners

    23rd May, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop to increase understanding of the demand avoidant presentation of autism, with advice on how to support those with this challenge.

    To explore:

    • what is meant by ‘demand avoidance’ in relation to autism and the controversy over the ‘PDA’ diagnosis
    • the role of anxiety in creating demand avoidant behaviour
    • how to work collaboratively with children and young people to minimise demand avoidant behaviour

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and and the week before the training you will be emailed the zoom link and handouts.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

     

    ,

    Autism & Communication for Practitioners

    4th June, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop looking into communication differences that may be experienced by some autistic individuals and how to meet their needs.

    To explore:

    • what we mean by communication
    • how and why autistic communication may differ from non-autistic communication
    • some possible ways to support autistic individuals with communication

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed the zoom link and handouts.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

     

    ,

    Autism, Women & Girls

    10th June, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop providing an understanding of how autism may present in a more internalised way in females (and some males!)

    To explore:

    • the way autism may present more subtly in females and why this may delay diagnosis
    • how to adapt environments and practices to meet the specific needs of autistic females
    • resources and strategies for supporting autistic females

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed the details to join and course handouts.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

    ,

    Autism & Mental Health for Practitioners

    11th June, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop explaining the impact of poor mental health on autistic individuals, particularly useful for practitioners working with autistic individuals who have co-existing mental health conditions and/or dual diagnoses.

    To explore:

    • an overview of co-existing mental health and some neurological conditions commonly experienced by autistic people and how these affect their individual needs
    • how to proactively adapt environments and practices to prevent needs escalating
    • resources and strategies for supporting individuals

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed the zoom link and handouts.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

    ,

    Autism & Sensory Processing for Practitioners

    18th June, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A tier 2 workshop explaining the relationship between autism and sensory processing differences, in autistic people of all ages.

    To explore:

    • the impact of sensory processing differences on the lives of autistic individuals
    • resources and strategies to support health and wellbeing due to sensory challenges
    • when to ask for professional input

    On booking you will receive a confirmation email and the week before the training you will be emailed the course handouts and zoom link.

    There will be a maximum of 15 delegates.

    ,

    Autism, puberty and relationships for Practitioners

    25th June, 2024
    9:30 am-12:30 pm

    A new, tier 2 course, designed for those who support autistic individuals as they grow and develop into young adults.

    Delegates will explore:

    • the impact of physical and sensory changes during puberty
    • establishing a positive self-identity during this stage of growing independence
    • developing positive and healthy relationships with an understanding of staying safe
    • when and who to ask for additional support
    • some resources and approaches which may be helpful

    Course Length: Half day

    Number of delegates: A maximum of 15

    Pre-requisites: None

    Cost: £500 or £50 per place if booked through our rolling programme

    ,

    This service can be accessed by education practitioners or parents/carers who would like assistance in identifying, understanding, and supporting young people who may face barriers to their learning and development. It can be commissioned by local authority staff to supplement their own provision.

    Our experience:
    Mandy Higgs is a qualified autism advisory teacher (B.Ed.) with over 15 years of professional experience and many more years of lived experience of autism. Mandy has a Postgraduate Certificate in Autism and further associated training including Carol Gray Social Stories, 3 & 5 Day TEACCH, 2 Day PECS, 2 Day SCERTs and 1 Day Protective Behaviours. She is an Inclusion Expert for the DfE and currently in the process of being trained to be an Oliver McGowan Mandatory training facilitator. Mandy is able to support other professionals in providing and examining the evidence for an autism spectrum diagnosis, although currently only a medical professional can offer a diagnosis.

    Charlotte Davids holds a Master of Teaching (undergraduate), M/TEACH with Qualified Teacher Status, and the National Award for SEND Coordination, Part 1 of 2, Masters Level. As a former SENDCo, she has undertaken a wide variety of continuous professional development around autism and has a wealth of lived and professional experience to draw upon. She has been delivering our autism training for the past two years with extremely positive feedback.

    What this service can offer:

    • Individual observations in the setting or (exceptionally) at home
    • Sensory environmental audit
    • Holistic reports containing clear recommendations
    • A focus on all diagnostic areas including social communication and interaction, flexibility of thought, behaviours, the impact of sensory processing differences and environmental factors
    • Advice about possible ways forward for the young person, suggested interventions, and suitable targets
    • Useful evidence either pre or post diagnosis when seeking statutory support (please consult with your Local Authority to confirm they will recognise such evidence)

    Cost/fees:

    Autism Bedfordshire will always agree service fees before going ahead with any work. We offer an initial (one-off) up to 30-minute telephone consultation to any new client, free of charge, with no further obligation. Our consultancy fee starts at £50/hour. There is an additional cost of 45p/mile added for the round trip between your location and ours (MK41 0UD) but we do not charge for the time spent travelling (within Bedfordshire).

    Example: Observation of a child (1–2 hours), written report with recommendations based on this observation and other information collated such as medical/school reports (3-4 hours). Typically, this would total 5-6 hours’ work and therefore cost £250-£300, plus travel. If required to attend a follow up meeting with staff and parents/carers, this would add a further hours’ fee plus travel costs to the total.

    To book an initial consultation, please contact us by email: training@autismbeds.org

    Our training has been designed, in line with the Core Capabilities framework for Supporting Autistic People, to focus on the key outcomes that learners need to achieve, the content to be included, and with the use of appropriate teaching and learning strategies. This includes co-production of training with autistic people and families and carers which has always been part of our training development. Our trainers have lived experience of autism and continually update their own knowledge and understanding.

    What does this mean?
    In 2009, the Autism Act put a duty on the Government to produce a strategy for autistic adults. A key duty in the Autism Act statutory guidance is provision of training for all frontline public service staff, in line with their job role, and developing specialist training for staff in health and social care. In 2021, the strategy was updated to ‘The national strategy for autistic children, young people and adults: 2021 to 2026’. The focus of training, as part of this update, is shifting away from ‘autism awareness’ to understanding autism, and across the lifespan.

    The Core Capabilities framework for Supporting Autistic People describes what is required for supporting autistic people in a range of settings, from those who need a basic understanding of autism, to the skills, knowledge and behaviours required of those who are experts and lead services for autistic people. This framework is relevant to all autistic people, including children, young people, and adults; all autism training should map to it.

    The framework comprises 19 capabilities grouped into 5 domains:

    1. Understanding autism:
    Capability 1 – Understanding autism
    Capability 2 – Identification, assessment and diagnosis of autism

    2. Personalised support:
    Capability 3 – Person-centred care and support
    Capability 4 – Communication and interaction
    Capability 5 – Sensory processing and the environment
    Capability 6 – Families and carers as partners in care and support
    Capability 7 – Supporting changes throughout life
    Capability 8 – Supporting autistic people where behaviour may challenge
    Capability 9 – Forensic support
    Capability 10 – Relationships, sexuality and sexual health
    Capability 11 – Meaningful activity and independence

    3. Physical and mental health:
    Capability 12 – Physical health
    Capability 13 – Mental health
    Capability 14 – Health equality and reasonable adjustments

    4. Risk, legislation, and safeguarding:
    Capability 15 – Law, ethics and safeguarding
    Capability 16 – Equality, diversity and inclusion

    5. Leadership and management, education, and research:
    Capability 17 – Leadership and management
    Capability 18 – Education and personal development
    Capability 19 – Research and evidence-based practice

    There are natural overlaps between these capabilities within Autism Bedfordshire’s individual training courses; eg a specialist workshop such as sensory processing will include references to behaviours.
    Within the capabilities, there are 3 tiers of learning outcomes, each for a particular ‘target audience’:

    Tier 1 – People who require a general understanding of autism and the support autistic people may need, such as those working in public services, commercial or charitable organisations providing health, social care, education, policing, custodial care, housing, transport, careers, employment, or benefit services, including reception staff.

    Tier 2 – People with responsibility for providing care and support for an autistic person or people, but who could seek support from others for complex management or complex decision-making, such as health and social care workers, including frontline care staff who are not autism specialists and those in other roles such as education and housing services that are providing care and support for autistic people. Tiers 1 and 2 may also be helpful to autistic people and the family, friends, and carers of autistic people, to ensure they are making the most of the support on offer and can plan effectively for their current and future needs.

    Tier 3 – Health, social care and other practitioners with a high degree of autonomy, able to provide care and support in complex situations and/or may also lead services for autistic people; such as specialist healthcare professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, GPs with special interest, learning disability nurses, counsellors, psychotherapists, allied health professionals, social workers, educators etc. It will also include registered managers and other social care leaders including operational managers who have responsibility for services for autistic people. Tier 3 would also be appropriate for autistic people and carers/families of autistic people who are involved in designing and delivering training on autism and/or are working as a self-advocate or expert by experience at a strategic level.

    All Autism Bedfordshire training courses meet the minimum suggested learning outcomes for Tier 1 and our specialist courses exceed Tier 1, meeting Tier 2 and, where appropriate, Tier 3 outcomes.

    The full framework can be found here: https://www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Autism-Capabilities-Framework-Oct-2019.pdf

    Additionally, the following values and behaviours underpin all the capabilities in the Core Capabilities framework for Supporting Autistic People and focus on the minimum that autistic people, their family, and carers can expect of the people who provide support. These are supplementary to any existing legal, regulatory, and ethical requirements or codes relevant to professional bodies and employers; are embodied throughout Autism Bedfordshire and embedded in our training delivery. Every person or practitioner will:

    a) Demonstrate positivity, recognising the strengths and abilities of autistic people.
    b) Gain an understanding of each autistic person’s perspective and personal preferences.
    c) Be patient and really listen to what is being communicated by an autistic person.
    d) Recognise the presentation, behaviour, and identity of autistic people – and respond with respect and compassion, without judging them or labelling their behaviour in unhelpful ways.
    e) Value and acknowledge the experience and expertise of autistic people, their families and support networks, enabling choice and autonomy and protecting people’s human rights.
    f) Act with integrity, honesty, and openness, seeking to develop mutual trust in all interactions with autistic people, their families, carers, and communities.
    g) Be committed to integrated current and future care and support through working in partnership with autistic people, teams, communities, and organisations.
    h) Value collaborative involvement and co-production with autistic people to improve person-centred design and quality of services.

    At tier 1, it is recommended that training for understanding autism is refreshed at least every 3 years. This is consistent with recommendations for other ‘statutory/mandatory’ subjects such as those for Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, Safeguarding Adults and Safeguarding Children (Ref: UK Core Skills Training Framework at: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/cstf )

    Autism Bedfordshire are pleased to have been commissioned to begin our journey towards being able to offer the Oliver McGowan Mandatory autism and learning disability training to health and social care settings.

    Our Lead Facilitator for this project is Helen McHugh. Helen is a qualified and practising counsellor (Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling). Helen has many years of experience supporting autistic young people and adults both in a previous role with Autism Bedfordshire and in other areas of professional practice. In addition, Helen holds a Certificate in Post Compulsory Education (Cert Ed), Level 5, and Level 6 in Career Guidance and Development.

    Helen will be supported in delivering this project by a number of our adult members who have recently been recruited to deliver the training. The team are working towards being able to commence delivery of the training by Autumn 2023. At that stage, the training will be made available to eligible service providers.

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