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Autism Central - Autism Peer Education for Parents and Carers


In 2022/23 Health Education England is embarking upon an exciting new project, to develop a national offer of autism peer education for parents and carers, which will be developed and delivered in partnership with peer educators and subject matter experts.

This project builds on a recent successful Health Education England pilot in Manchester, that offered peer education to families, personal assistants, and small independent care providers. The aim of this work was to support the reduction of unnecessary hospital admissions for people of all ages by giving families and carers the knowledge, skills and support to use appropriate strategies to prevent crisis escalation.   

Our new, extended programme will seek to consolidate this offer, by upskilling families and carers through access to learning and resources about autism, on a new, nationwide learning platform, alongside which, there will be an offer of peer coaching and training across the seven regions of England.


Why is the training needed? 

Parents and carers of autistic people often report that they do not receive the advice, support and guidance they need, when they need it.

In practice, parents and carers of autistic people can receive various levels of training and support about autism, but there is an inconsistency in the availability and delivery of autism training across the country. There is also a variability of quality in the education and training that is on offer.

This programme aims to provide a consistency of access to autism education resources and training across England, in a way in which is accessible, and reduces the pressure on stretched families.

Education resources and training programmes will be developed and delivered in co-production with families and carers and autistic people, and coaching, and training of peer educators will be delivered in all regions to support people in their communities.

This programme will build on the learning from the pilot programme that established that coaching from other (peer) family members is uniquely valued, especially, when accompanied by input from subject matter experts. 


What will the training look like?  

The national programme will bring together:-

  • Learning and development materials from trusted sources in one single national learning platform to offer quality resources, training, and education in a variety of formats to meet a wide range of needs.
  • Remotely-delivered/online training, to provide accessible learning opportunities, that will increase the capability and resilience or parents and carers.  
  • Provision of telephone or online-based coaching will ensure timely responsive access for families to access learning and training resources and expert guidance. 
  • Regional training of autism peer educators to support the development of capabilities locally.


Who will deliver the programme?

The programme will be co-produced with families, carers and autistic people, and delivered by a consortium of nine not-for-profit organisations:

  • Ambitious about Autism
  • Autism Alliance
  • Autism Education Trust
  • Autistica
  • British Institute of Learning Disabilities
  • Contact
  • Great Minds Together
  • National Autistic Society
  • National Network of Parent Carer Forums

More information

Development work on the programme has commenced and will continue throughout 2023.  For more information contact:



To access the training and resources visit the peer education programme website Autism Central:


For information about the pilot programme and to view the independent evaluation, click here.