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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland


Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects approximately 1% of the population in Scotland. Improving access to assessment, diagnosis and consistent standards of intervention and support has been a key area of focus for The Scottish Government, NES and our partner organisations.

The most recent refresh of The Scottish Strategy for Autism reiterates staff education, training and development as being at the heart of the strategy. NES remains committed to working in partnership to deliver high-quality education and enabling excellence for the health and care of autistic individuals and their families.

About us

The NES autism team is now fully embedded across both adult and child work streams. Our aim is to collaborate, create learning resources, and deliver training, consultation and support to improve knowledge and skills in autism. To date, our resources have been adapted for use across the UK, Ireland and Internationally.

Our partners

We strive to work in partnership with the autistic community and partner organisations. We consult widely with the community, and consequently now use identity first language such as “autistic” and “autistic individual” where possible. We understand that there is no universally agreed upon terminology to use when discussing autism, and we fully respect individual people’s choices on how they wish to talk about and describe themselves. We would like to thank all those who have collaborated with us in developing the resources below.

Identifying training needs

Following the development of the autism strategy, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) was invited to develop the NES autism training framework as a tool for services and learners. This framework helpfully outlines the knowledge and skills required (at various levels within the health and social care workforce) to achieve key outcomes for autistic individuals and their families.

The NES autism training plan [PDF] serves to complement the above framework by outlining the training needed to fulfil requirements of the NHS Education for Scotland Autism Training Framework by (i) identifying currently available training; (ii) identifying gaps in training provision, and, (iii) guiding the development of appropriate training.

Autism knowledge and skills (AKS):self-assessment and training action plan – The (AKS) self- assessment and training action plan was designed to assist individual staff members or service managers to record training needs when using the NES Autism Training Framework: Optimising Outcomes and the NES Autism Training Plan.

National autism training programme

Diagnostic assessment

NHS Education for Scotland works with key delivery partners to provide training in Diagnostic Assessment for staff working in the Scottish NHS.

Post-diagnostic support

For general and primary care practitioners we have a web-based resource on autism spectrum disorders which offers information on several topics: screening, diagnosis, health and behaviour, and adjustments to practice. Our practical strategies e-learning module is also available here.

Our children and young people workstreams provide a range of training options suitable for those who work with CYP who have been diagnosed with Autism. 

The key considerations in promoting positive practice for autism spectrum disorders resource also details areas for consideration to promote service access and positive experiences for autistic individuals, whether attending generic or specialist services.

The transitions and change in autism module was designed to meet the needs of all staff and practitioners to better support autistic individuals and their families across the lifespan and to recognise that transitions and change occur throughout life. 

Please access the NES autism educational video that illustrates how autistic people can develop strategies to manage change.

For experienced / enhanced level practitioners there are a variety of presentations filmed and available via the differential diagnosis and co-morbidity in ASD: NHS Education for Scotland eLearning resource.

Further resources and information on resources can be found on our Turas Learn page.

Contact us

For further information about resources and upcoming events or should you wish copies of any of our resources, please send your request to:

Last updated: 23/09/2020

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