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Autism awareness

Supporting the development of education, skills, values, knowledge and behaviours is important for services to effectively offer appropriate adjustments for people with autism. A range of resources are available on our autism awareness and training resources page.

Around 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum. Together with their families, this means autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people. Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.”

National Autism Society (2017)

What are HEE Doing?


We are keen to ensure that the workforce have access to appropriate awareness raising resources to enable them to provide appropriate care to people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions across all settings.

The skills competencies and knowledge to enable people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions to access mainstream and specialist services is being identified and mapped through developing a series of vignettes. The vignettes will highlight the range of situations people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions encounter, the impact and subsequent skills, competencies and knowledge. The vignettes will be developed into a series of educational films and sound bites, providing the foundation for a national Autism competency framework.

During the January 2018 we started to co-chair with Skills for Care the workforce task and finish group to support and lead the continued development of the National Autism strategy put forward by the Department of Health and Social Care.


The overarching objectives of the strategy:

  1.      Reduce the gap in life expectancy for people with autism
  2.      People with autism are able to play a full role in society

The workforce aims are that:

  •         Health and care staff who provider general support to people with autism have appropriate knowledge of the condition
  •         Health and care staff who have direct impact in, and make decisions about, the lives of adults with autism have appropriate specialist knowledge of the condition”


“Children and adults with or without an official identification of an Autistic Spectrum Conditions have the right to receive support when they need it, from a workforce that is equipped with the right skills, values and behaviours. I will work with experts by experience, their families and other experts in the field to support the workforce to grow and evolve their practices so that they can better support people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions achieve optimal outcomes”

Statement from the HEE Autism Programme (2017)


A to Z list of autism education resources

A list of resources can be downloaded from this page.  These resources draw upon training materials that have been developed by a range of organisations within the health, social care and voluntary sector, many of which were funded by the Department of Health. All of the resources aim to increase awareness and understanding of autistic spectrum conditions to enable frontline staff to better recognise and respond more effectively to the needs of children and adults with autism.

The resources have been reviewed and guidance is given regarding cost, access and type of education resource. This process will continue throughout the lifetime of the project with additional resources added and comments adjusted over time.

You can get in touch with the team at HEE via autism@hee.nhs.uk.


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