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Collaborating to support autism across the lifespan


Celebration and launch event with autism community

The autism community, Autism Network Scotland (ANS) and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) will come together this afternoon to celebrate the launch of two new educational resources for staff working in health, social care, voluntary and community organisations. 

Autism across the Lifespan: transitions and change, comprises an animation and an elearning module. They prepare staff to think about how autism may impact individuals and their families at various stages in their lives and the adjustments and planning needed to support resilience and optimise outcomes. They are the product of an ongoing collaboration between NES, ANS and the wider autism community in Scotland. 

This cross-sector project and the resources created address a key recommendation identified in the Scottish Strategy for Autism regarding transitions and change and the associated learning needs highlighted in the NES Autism Training Framework. They also complement the Principles of Good Transitions and the Autism Transitions Supplement produced by the Scottish Transitions Forum and ANS. 

Speaking at the launch event, Mental Health Minister, Clare Haughey said:

“Education, training and development of health and social care staff are at the heart of our national Scottish Strategy for Autism. Transitions and change is difficult for autistic people. Tools and resources such as Autism Across the Lifespan increase the understanding of autism and how transitions affect them. Ultimately we want to ensure autistic people are met with understanding when they access care and support from health and social care services.” 

Thom Kirkwood, Parent and Engagement and Participation Officer, The Autism Team, University of Strathclyde, commented:

“This is a further example, following Optimising Outcomes (NES Autism Training Framework, November 2014) of a Positive Partnership for Beneficial Outcomes approach in the co-production of this new, much awaited resource. It has ensured inclusion and contributions from all stakeholder sectors, especially Autistic Individuals, Parents, Carers and Independent Advocacy.” 

Janine Robinson, Principal Educator – Autism, NES added:

“We wanted to develop resources that could be used to support staff development and raise awareness of autism. With an understanding of the core characteristics of autism and consideration of the common transitions and change across the lifespan, services are better prepared to support autistic individuals, their families and carers. 

Our collaboration with ANS, the intrinsic engagement with autistic individuals and the wider autism community, and their willingness and interest in contributing to the development of the content and characters used in the resources - have been invaluable to our work. The process has ensured that we represent as accurately as possible the lived experience of individuals, their families and carers alongside evidence of good practice.” 

Staff working in health, social care and the third sector will be able to access the animation and e-learning module on Turas Learn, NHS Education for Scotland’s platform for learning and practice support resources.


Reference: PR2018-031

Further Information From

Mary-Jo O’Brien, Corporate Communications, NHS Education for Scotland email


Note to Editors
NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is a national special health board working to provide education, training and workforce development for those who work in and with NHSScotland. At any time, this means NES is responsible for over 6,500 trainee healthcare professionals and also supports the recruitment of professionals into Scotland.

There are approximately 44,133 autistic people in Scotland and a Scottish autism prevalence rate of 1.035% (103.5 per 10,000) – according to The microsegmentation of the autism spectrum: Economic and research implications for Scotland. Edinburgh: The Scottish Government (2018). 

Turas Learn Is NHS Education for Scotland's platform for learning and support resources. It provides NHS Scotland health and social care staff with access to learning and practice support resources produced by NHS Education for Scotland