A lady with autism smiling and holding hands with a female care worker It is estimated half a million people in the UK are living with Autism. 

We estimate that over half a million adult social care workers support people who are living with a learning disability and/ or autistic people in England. 

It's vital that these workers have the right values, skills and knowledge to provide high quality, person-centred support.  

We’ve worked with the National Autistic Society and Skills for Health to develop resources to help you ensure your workers have the right skills and knowledge when working with autistic people.

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with other people and how they make sense of the world around them - autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. 

It's a spectrum condition - this means that all autistic people share certain difficulties, but their condition will affect them in different ways. 

Some autistic people also have a learning disability, mental health issue or other conditions. This will affect the level of support that someone needs. 

How can we help?

Our resources explain what skills and knowledge workers need to support autistic people, their carers and families.

We also have resources to support adult social care employers to develop the skills of your staff when working with autistic people.  

Get involved in our work

What staff need to know to support people with autism: join our focus groups in early 2019

We're working with Skills for Health, the National Autistic Society and Opening Minds Consultancy to develop a ‘core capabilities framework’ about autism. This framework will say what staff need to know and do, so that they have the right skills and knowledge to support autistic people properly. 

To help us do this we want to talk to autistic people, families, and staff who support them, and we're running focus groups in early 2019. Find your local focus group here


The Autism skills and knowledge list sets out the skills and knowledge adult social care workers need to deliver high quality care and support to autistic people. 

Care workers can use it to see if they have the right skills and knowledge. 

It will also be useful for people who are arranging or providing training to workers.

Please note, we'll be updating this framework in 2018. 


Our Autism awareness learning resources lists training materials that have been developed by a range of organisations in the sector. The materials can help you to increase awareness and understanding of autism, so that your workforce better recognise and respond to the needs of autistic people.

Here are some other resources we've developed. 

  • How to do a great assessment for someone who has autism will be useful for social workers, community care assessors, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and other health professionals, including those who are working to assess people for benefit claims. It will provide these workers with the knowledge to undertake assessments with autistic people. 

  • How to be a great autistic individual employer is for autistic individual employers who are employing a personal assistant(s) for themselves or on behalf of an autistic person.

  • How to be a great personal assistant for someone with autism is for personal assistants who are providing care and support for an autistic person.



Everyone has the right to have meaningful personal relationships, including people with learning disabilities and/ or autistic people.

It’s vital that adult social care workers have the right values, skills and knowledge to support people with personal relationships – and training is a vital part of this.

This guidance helps employers to think about how they can develop their staff through training. It explains what workers need to know and understand about personal relationships, and how you can create a workforce development programme. 

This research report (published in July 2016) explores the adult social care workforce supporting people with learning disabilities and/ or autistic people, using data from the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care. 

Here are some of the key findings. 

  • An estimated two fifths of adult social care workers (621,000) were involved in providing care and support for people with learning disabilities and/ or autistic people in 2014. 
  • 31.8% of workers in these services started their roles within the past 12 months and 26.2% left within the last 12 months. 
  • Almost 80% of senior care workers and 50% of care workers were qualified to a level 2 or above - this is similar to the England average across all care services. 

Download the full report here.