It is estimated that more than half a million people in the UK are living with Autism. Every health and social care worker should have the skills and knowledge to provide a high quality service to people with autism, their families or others who care for them.
We’ve worked with the National Autistic Society and Skills for Health on resources to help you ensure your workers have the right skills and knowledge when working with people with autism.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them (National Autistic Society).
It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.
Our resources help you understand what skills and knowledge are required to support people with autism, their carers and families. We also have resources to support you to develop the skills of your staff when working with people with autism.
What skills are needed to work with people with autism?
The Autism skills and knowledge list enables individual workers, services and teams to work out whether they have the knowledge and skills needed to provide a good service to people who have autism. It will also be useful for people who are arranging or providing training to workers.
Implementing the autism skills and knowledge list through staff training and development maps autism specific qualification units (from the Qualifications and Credit Framework) to the skills and knowledge list, to help you develop skills through formal qualifications.
We would be interested in hearing from people who have used this guide about the difference it has made. Please email email@example.com.
Developing your workforce to work with people with autism through formal qualifications
Currrently, there are two autism specific qualifications available that are supported by Skills for Care. These are a Level 3 Award and a Level 3 Certificate in Supporting Individuals on the Autistic Spectrum. There are four units in these qualifications:
- Communicate with individuals on the autistic spectrum
- Support individuals on the autistic spectrum using a person centred approach
- Support individuals on the autistic spectrum to manage their sensory and environmental needs
- Promote active support with individuals on the autistic spectrum.
To support workers to complete these qualifications, the National Autistic Society has developed a series of e:learning modules that are available to purchase online.
Once completed, learners could use these modules as evidence towards the completion of qualifications, however this will need to be agreed with the awarding organisation or assessor beforehand.
You can see how the modules can be used to complete National Autism Qualifications.
There are also autism units in the Level 2 and 3 Diplomas in Health and Social Care (HSC) and the Level 5 Diploma in leadership in health and social care:
- LD 210 Autistic Spectrum Conditions
- LD 310 Autistic Spectrum Conditions
- LD 510 Autistic Spectrum Conditions.
Find our endorsed providers
Our Endorsement Framework finds and badges learning providers who we see as the best. They provide high quality learning and development to the social care sector.
You can search for our endorsed providers in our online directory.
Funding towards the cost of qualifications may be available from our Workforce Development Fund.
Increasing awareness and understanding of autism
Our Autism awareness learning resources lists training materials that have been developed by a range of organisations. They all aim to increase awareness and understanding of autism to enable frontline staff to better recognise and respond more effectively to the needs of adults with autism.
How to do a great assessment for someone who has autism will be useful to social workers, community care assessors, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals, including those who are working to assess people for benefit claims. It will provide these workers with the knowledge to undertake assessments with people who have autism. The short guide is supported by a video featuring people with lived experience sharing their hints and tips.
How to be a great autistic individual employer is for autistic individual employers who are employing a personal assistant(s) for themselves or on behalf of an individual with autism.
How to be a great personal assistant for someone with autism is for personal assistants who are providing care and support for an individual with autism.
If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to improve the quality of care you provide take a look at Learn from Others and select 'autism' under areas of interest.
This free resource lets you to find out about good practice in other organisations and learn from some their challenges. It is valuable in helping make the best use of often limited resources.
Funding to explore the use of workforce budgets to support people with autism
We’re exploring the use of personal workforce budgets to train and develop the workforce (including unpaid carers) to better support individuals with complex and/ or multiple social care and health needs, and we have funding to support this.
A personal workforce budget is an amount of money allocated and spent specifically on developing the skills of the workforce that support an individual who has complex and/ or multiple social care and health needs.
We invite commissioners, funders and providers of social care services to consider how and if they could use this approach with the support of funding from Skills for Care.
Typically the funding can pay for training and development for workers from different organisations from social care and health, and family carers and those working at more than one level.
Read more about what the funding can be used for and apply now.
Supporting people with autism to have meaningful personal relationships
Everyone has the right to have meaningful personal relationships, including people with learning disabilities and/ or autism.
It’s vital that adult social care workers have the right values, skills and knowledge to support people with personal relationships – and training is a vital part of this.
This new guidance helps employers to think about how they can develop their staff through training. It explains what workers need to know and understand about personal relationships, and how you can create a workforce development programme.