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Why is this programme important?

Find out more about the National Autism Trainer Programme (NATP) and why this programme is important.

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What are the benefits of attending this training for my team and service?

The National Autism Trainer Programme (NATP) was commissioned by NHS England to support staff to improve the care provided to autistic people whilst in mental health services. Critically, it is designed to be a model that you can take back to your own NHS Trust to facilitate training with your own colleagues, with our support.

Our training will help your staff address perceptions and enhance their understanding of the needs of autistic and other neurodivergent patients. They will gain insights into autism from content co-designed and co-developed with autistic people, some of whom are autistic academics, and many of whom have personal experience of ineffective care.

Our training model goes beyond knowledge transfer to facilitate opportunities for staff to share vulnerabilities and concerns and to reframe how they understand the impact of their own behaviour in how they respond to autistic people.

Significantly, our model recognises the importance of staff wellbeing in providing the best care, as well as the wellbeing of your autistic patients. This is fundamental to removing inappropriate or restrictive practices, and to supporting an experience-sensitive and relational approach to caring for autistic people. Our aim is improved care, outcomes and satisfaction for all.

Your service will have free access to our Community of Practice, which will offer regular support meetings to all staff who have trained with us. You will be invited to seminar talks with world leaders in the autism field via Community of Practice monthly events. These elements are designed to provide help, reflection and connections, to enable you to network and embed the model in your setting.

Finally, your service will be connected with our Experts by Experience via our Participation team. These people will be trained to be your co-Trainers, meaning you can authentically co-deliver this training programme in your services.

“The training has provided good autism knowledge; much of the training resonated with each and every one of us. As a result of the training, we have been inspired to deliver appropriate, predictable support for autistic people. We are in the process of adapting our location to meet the sensory needs of autistic people.

The training increased awareness, and clinical curiosity to have a deeper understanding of our perception of autistic behaviour, with colleagues keen to transfer learning from training to our clinical practice. Listening to the lived experience of autistic people - hearing the stories of autistic people was one of the most positive and useful ways to make the learning more embedded. We absolutely promote and recommend the sharing of this lived experience- unique perspective – to other peers keen to attend this training.”

Dr Lanre Rabiu, Specialty Associate specialist, MB ChB, MRCPsych - Training participant, Adult inpatient mental health settings

Andrew Carpenter talks about why the National Autism Trainer Programme is needed

April 2023 information session for NHS professionals

In April more than 450 NHS professionals joined an online information session, to learn more about the National Autism Trainer Programme. Tim Devanney and Andrew Carpenter from NHS England Learning Disability and Autism Programme discussed the need for this training, and how it aims to enhance autistic people’s experience of care.

The event was chaired by Co-Lead Programme Directors Dr Ruth Moyse from AT-Autism and Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou from Anna Freud, with a range of presentations and discussions from autistic content developers and delegates who completed the pilot training. The speakers demonstrated the programme's collaborative, experience-sensitive and trauma-informed approach.

We captured these discussions with ‘live sketching’ by our illustrator. You can now also view the presentation slides.

April 2023 NATP Information session recording