Skip to main content Skip to contact details

How we support people with autism

We support more than 200 people with autism. For 70 of these, autism is their primary support need.

How we plan support

When we start supporting someone with autism, we first assess their behaviour, communication and socialisation, as well as their day-to-day care and support requirements.

Observation in their environment is crucial. This helps us understand their needs, abilities and strengths, hypersensitivities – to touch, light or sound, for instance – and any fears, obstacles and fixations.

We also use the assessment to explore behaviour management strategies and risks.

Working with the person and those who know them well, we use the assessment to develop a support plan.  We enable the people we support to have choice and control over their plans.

Ongoing assessment is important. All plans are reviewed every six months, or sooner if needed.  Individual plans are discussed at team and supervision meetings.

How we create the right environment

We consider environmental factors that may affect people’s support needs. For instance, we may need to instal soft lighting in response to people’s sensory needs.

We respond to individual needs while maintaining a homely and comfortable atmosphere.

We also take steps to manage potentially challenging situations. For example, we may use curtains with Velcro attachments if people could pull them down when anxious.

How we manage change

Changes to routine and structure can be difficult for people with autism, and can be triggers for anxiety.

We ensure there is a regular staff team to build trusting relationships with the people they support. Staff develop a deep understanding of each person’s needs so they can identify and respond to changes, to avoid anxiety escalating.

We ensure we understand the individual triggers for each person. We include this learning in Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) plans so triggers can be avoided where possible.

The PBS plan may include relaxation or self-management techniques, like having a bath or listening to music. Physical activities can help manage feelings.

Some people find it hard to express how they are feeling.  We might use anxiety flash cards to help express feelings, or numbers to identify the strength of the feeling.

Social isolation

Many of the people we support who have autism prefer to spend time alone. This can lead to social isolation.  We work with the individual and the people who know them well to understand why this is, so we can develop the right support. For example, if the cause is a lack of social and communication skills, we may practise or develop those skills.

We promote positive social interaction to try to avoid the negative aspects of isolation.

Support to deal with isolation can include working with the person to find local social groups or activities of interest.  It could also be by encouraging small talk.  However, we are careful to introduce new activities at a pace that is right for each individual.

We ensure this is balanced with the need a person may have to spend time on their own.

How we recruit the right staff

We enable people with autism to be fully involved in the recruitment of their own support team.

Each support plan has a staff profile section. This includes details of what is important to the person we are supporting. For instance, they might prefer someone fit and able, or calm and quiet.

People we support take part in recruiting staff in many ways, including joining a panel interview (with support as required), pre-recording questions, or meeting applicants informally.

Based on individual preferences, compatibility, and shared likes and interests, each person supported is allocated their own key worker.

How we train staff to support people with autism

Staff supporting people with autism all receive autism awareness training, before moving on to receive training delivered by the National Autistic Society using the SPELL framework. Training could include:

  • Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children (TEACCH) approaches, if relevant

  • Autism and sensory issues

  • Understanding stress and anxiety in autism and their impact on behaviour

  • Autism and ageing

The training that we commission is always bespoke to the person that we support and their team. This ensures that our staff can identify and address the causes of behaviour and understand how to reduce the risk of behaviours escalating.

Contact us

Contact us

Head Office

Head Office
1 St Andrew's Court, Wellington Street, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3WT View Map
T: 01844 267800 F: 01844 267829 E:
Media enquiries to:
1 St. Andrew's Court, Wellington Street, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9 3WT
T: 07553 264 975 E:

Central England

Central - Divisional Office
Rowan Room, Acacia Room, BT Room, Poplar Room and Office Ground floor, National Training Centre 3 Gilmour Close Leicester LE4 1EZ View Map
T: 0116 236 3793 F: 0345 643 7094 E:
For enquiries about Sheffield-based services
T: 07387 058 872 (9am-3.45pm Monday-Thursday only) E:

East England

East - Divisional Office
U18, South Fens Business Centre, Fenton Way, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire PE16 6TT View Map
T: 01354 696009 F: 08456 437521 E:
Enquiries for Norfolk and Suffolk should be directed to the Divisional Office.

North England

North - Divisional Office
Unit 12, Curtis House Business Centre, Leeds, LS9 9LF View Map
T: 0113 468 4460 E:
Bradford District Office
Unit 9 Parkview Court, St Paul's Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 3DZ View Map
T: 01274 533553 E:
West Midlands Office
Flat 7, Parry’s Court, Woodside Place, Cannock, Staffordshire, WS11 4AA View Map
T: 01543 578764

Positive Behaviour Support for children, young people and their families

Positive Behaviour Support
1 St. Andrew's Court Wellington Street, Thame, Oxfordshire, OX9 3WT View Map
T: 07341 478228 E:


Scotland - Divisional Office
62 Viewfield Road, Ayr KA8 8HH View Map
T: 01292 436030 E:
Oban Office
First Floor, Glenshellach House, 7e Glengallan Road, Oban, PA34 4HG View Map
T: 01631 571311 F: 01631 566708 / 0872 111 4616 E:
Aberdeen Office
87a Urquhart Road, Aberdeen, AB24 5ND View Map
T: 01224 039264 E:
Isle of Bute Office
18 East Princes Street, Rothesay, Isle of Bute PA20 9DL View Map
T: 01700 500376 E:
Irvine office
Suites 2/1 and 2/2, Landek House, 44-46 Bank Street, Irvine KA12 0LP View Map
T: 01294 446600 E:

South & South West

South - Divisional Office
Suites 53-55, Aldershot Enterprise Centre, Mandora House, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU11 2PW View Map
T: 01252 311188 F: 01252 311170 E:
Somerset Office
Mendip Court, Bath Road, Wells, Somerset BA5 3DG View Map
T: 01749 605594 E:

South East, Bedford and Northamptonshire

South East - Divisional Office
Suite 2+3, Henwood Pavilion, Henwood, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8DH View Map
T: 01233 665324 E:

Specialist Support

Specialist Support
Head Office, 1 St Andrew's Court, Wellington Street, Thame View Map
T: 01844 267800 F: 01844 267049 E: