About this course

This course is suitable for mental health professionals, across all seven NHS England regions, who currently work or may work with diagnosed or undiagnosed autistic people in adult inpatient mental health hospitals.

No specialist or high-level skills are required to attend the course.

Applicants must:

  • be working with a team of mental health professionals in adult inpatient mental health hospitals.
  • have the availability and commitment to complete the four training days (9.00 – 17.00) and, following training, train other staff in their setting;
  • have a desire to understand autistic people’s experiences and facilitate training designed by autistic content developers in their NHS facility, to improve outcomes for autistic people;
  • complete a training needs assessment pre-training, to gauge their experience and self-rated knowledge of autism.

This training course will take place weekly, on the same day each week, and is suitable for staff including but not limited to:

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Consultant Psychiatrist
  • Neuropsychiatrist
  • Counsellor
  • Doctor
  • Family Therapist
  • Mental Health Practitioner
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Key worker
  • Admission officer
  • Team manager
  • Support staff
  • Therapist
What is involved in the programme?

The programme aims to train staff to Trainer level and support them to embed our approach and train staff in their own settings. There are three components to achieving autism Trainer recognition:

  1. During the training, you are required to attend a four-day (9.00 – 17.00) online training over several weeks, co-produced by renowned experts and experienced Trainers from Anna Freud and AT-Autism, delivered by autistic and non autistic experts in the field. Trainers will facilitate safe spaces for reflective discussions and meaningful engagement via a range of slides, videos and case studies/vignettes for small cohorts of up to 18 delegates. You should expect to be actively engaged in each session.
  2. Post-training, you will join a Community of Practice, led by our Community of Practice Lead. Monthly shared learning seminars will offer a safe space for you to meet with other Trainers, share your experiences and develop your training practice to benefit your NHS co-workers.
  3. You will be supported by our Participation team, Community of Practice team and autistic Experts by Experience to co-deliver the training and embed our approach in your own settings.

Delegates will be asked to keep their camera on during the training to enable and contribute to a safe, reflective space for the entire cohort.

What will I learn?

You will gain an understanding of autistic mental health and barriers experienced by autistic people, which are typically exacerbated in inpatient settings. You will learn about potential difficulties faced by autistic people during admission and transitions between settings, and of the risks of institutionalisation for autistic individuals. You will hear of and discuss examples of existing good practice and innovative approaches of working with, rather than on or for, autistic individuals, including how to reduce restrictive practice.

You will practise how to facilitate delivery of slides and animations in your service with the support of an autistic Expert by Experience co-Trainer. You will be supported continuously with the practicalities of arranging the delivery of training and growing your skills as a Trainer.

What is expected of delegates post-training?

Once trained and back in your setting, the expectation is that in your new role as an Autism Trainer you will deliver the training at least once per year to staff in your service. You will be supported by our programme Community of Practice and Participation teams to engage with and co-deliver the training with an Expert by Experience, who can be contacted from the programme's pool of Experts by Experience.

You will be provided with access to a full multimedia e-library. This will contain all educational material (e.g., slide decks, videos and case studies), a primer along with e-guidance. You will also be invited to join optional live online master classes.

The training we offer will equip you to deliver 3 days of training to staff in your settings. This will develop an awareness of the key features and effects of autism, as well as more in-depth knowledge and skills to enable them to more effectively carry out their work, review, and reflect on their practice.


Places on this course have been commissioned by NHS England, you are eligible to attend this training at no cost to yourself.

  • 4 Days, 16, 23, 30 June, and 7 July

The Anna Freud Centre brings together those with a stake in the mental health of children and young people. Please subscribe to our mailing list to receive a bi-monthly e-newsletter and occasional updates about the Centre's training and events. 

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