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Autism training for those working in adult inpatient mental health

This pilot programme provides autism training for staff working in adult mental health inpatient services. As a result, clinicians and experts by experience will be equipped to train new and existing colleagues working in inpatient units. This will lead to a better understanding of autism and improved patient care within adult mental health inpatient services.  The pilot training will take place in February and March 2022.

What does the training involve?

The training will be co-produced and delivered with experts by experience. It will be delivered to the whole team and using a blend of education methods, such as group discussion and activities, case discussions, role play, reflective practice and a range of visual materials. 

What does the training look like?

The curriculum is based on a specification developed with autistic people and an expert group and mapped against existing capability frameworks. It is designed to allow inpatient teams to function at the highest capability level –Tier 3 – this describes the capabilities needed by health, social care staff and other professionals with a high degree of autonomy, able to provide care and support in complex situations and/or may also lead services for autistic people. Those delivering the training will adapt the programme to meet the needs of each patient group.  

Two training suppliers; South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Anna Freud Centre in partnership with AT-Autism  are co-producing the training materials and train the trainer programmes.

The adult autism train the trainer course is a four to six day training course designed to equip members of staff working in inpatient mental health settings to deliver training to their colleagues to improve staff members’ understanding and skills to work with autistic adults. Staff who complete the course will be able to deliver three tiers of training tailored to their colleagues’ requirements. The pilot training in February and March will be delivered across all 7 regions in England. Over 300 clinical educators and 50 experts by experience will be nominated from service providers across the UK to attend the training and will disseminate learning back to the teams working in their inpatient units. They will be supported by resources and a community of practice meaning that during the training learners will have access to an online community of trainers who will support them as they take their training back to their inpatient facility. They will have access to resources, course manuals, reflective practice groups and refresher training sessions.  

What will happen next?

We have appointed an independent evaluator to undertake a co-produced and co-delivered evaluation of the Train the Trainer programme.    

Towards the end of the pilot and subject to funding we will determine whether to continue, change or end the project based on the outcome of the evaluation findings.

How do I find out more?

South London and Maudsley NHSFT:


Maudsley Learning: Adult Autism Train-the-Trainer information + bookings

Anna Freud and AT-Autism:



Frequently Asked Questions

How does this relate to The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training?

This work and The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training both include training about autism and how to work with autistic people. However, there are several differences in the content and aims of the training:



Autism Adult Inpatient Training 


The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training 

Designed for and delivered to specialist mental health inpatient services  


Designed to be delivered within all health and care settings 


Focuses on the training needed for a team to work together in inpatient adult mental health units, with significant numbers of autistic adults

Focuses on understanding and making reasonable adjustments in a wide range of settings 


Designed to enable teams to deliver care to Tier 3 of the core capabilities framework.

Will cover Tier 1 capabilities and core tier 2 capabilities.

Will include material on a range of interventions and treatments

Will not include training on interventions and treatments 



Find out more about The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training  


How long does the training take?

The training course delivered by South London and Maudsley NHSFT is a four-day course.

The training course delivered by Anna Freud Centre in collaboration with AT-Autism is a six-day course.

How long will it take me to deliver in my service?

SLaM course will take 2 days to deliver.

AFC and AT-Autism course will take 3 days to deliver.

Both courses can be delivered flexibly to the whole team in a form and pace that suits the unit circumstances. 

How do I book onto the training?

Eligible trainees will be nominated by their service leads to attend the training. They will then receive specific instructions from the training providers to book onto the course.

Where can I get further information?

South London and Maudsley NHSFT:


Maudsley Learning: Adult Autism Train-the-Trainer information + bookings

Anna Freud and AT-Autism course:



When does the training take place?

The training will take place in February and March 2022.