Promoting Person-Centred Services

Understanding Autism and Developing Practical Ways to Support People with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Participants on this one day course will be provided with clear information to develop their awareness and understanding of autism. We will consider what people with autistic spectrum disorders have to say about their experiences. We will encourage an appreciation of the world from an autistic person’s perspective in order to develop person-centred support strategies. We have designed the training event to be interactive throughout. Individuals will be encouraged to recognise and celebrate their own skills in communication and to notice their own typical patterns of response to others.

We will stress the fundamental importance of ‘pacing’ the other in order to engage meaningfully and illustrate that once such engagement has been achieved, it will commonly prove possible to enable individuals to shift from a position of sometimes painful isolation.

We will make reference to the pioneering work of Phoebe Caldwell, Dave Hewett and others, and situations that we’ve experienced in our own professional care and communication practice. 

Come prepared for a full and rewarding day!


  • To define what we mean by ‘autism’
  • To be clear about the range of difficulties experienced by people who have autistic spectrum disorders
  • To gain a better understanding of the needs of people with autism and how support staff can help meet these needs.

Learning Outcomes

  • To understand how a diagnosis of autism may be arrived at
  • To understand and explain characteristics of autism
  • To explore what we mean by the ‘triad of impairment’
  • To consider the particular needs of people with autistic spectrum disorders and develop person-centred support strategies
  • To explore different communication techniques
  • To develop the capacity to see another person’s ‘map’ of the world
  • To develop appropriate practical interpersonal communication skills

Who is it for?

  • Organisations providing services for people with autistic spectrum disorders
  • Managers, employees, volunteers and members of families
  • Anyone keen to understand more about autism
  • Anyone keen to develop practical interpersonal communication skills  



  • Domestics, aims and objectives, ground rules, introductions
  • Senses working overtime – how we encounter and interact with the world
  • Personal inventory – how our ‘maps’ of the world may differ
  • History of autism
  • Basic definitions
  • Indicators and diagnosis
  • Triad of impairments – communication/imagination/social interaction
  • Medical/Social Model of Disability
  • Autism quiz
  • ‘Can we talk?’ Phoebe Caldwell (how messages can interfere with each other and cause distress)
  • Idioms – what do you mean by that?
  • Personal testimonies – experiences of people with autism

Intensive interaction – establishing rapport and sharing activity

  • Video – ‘Learning the Language’ Phoebe Caldwell’s interaction with Gabriel and Marie
  • Rituals and routines
  • Practical exercises to develop more confident non-verbal communication skills

What people say:

‘An excellent course – well delivered. Highly enjoyable’

‘Lots of exercises – very thought provoking’

‘Felt l could say what l wanted without feeling self- conscious’

‘Unique and fresh approach to delivery of course content’

‘Kept my attention throughout – very clear’

For further information please contact: 

Tina Thordal – 07815 064710 or e-mail 

Bill Horrocks – 07929 035297 or e-mail