Implementing UK Autism policy & national institute for health and care excellence guidance- assessing the impact of Autism training for frontline staff in community learning disabilities teams

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UK National Autism Strategy (Department of Health, 2010 and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance (NICE, 2012) states that frontline staff should have a good understanding of Autism. Fifty-six clinical and administrative staff from a multidisciplinary community Learning Disability service completed an electronic questionnaire to evaluate levels of Autism knowledge. The results showed that, compared with clinical staff, administrative staff were more limited in their understanding of Autism and less able to access relevant Autism training. Autism training was provided for administrative staff. Focus group feedback about the training sessions and subsequent changes to practice concluded that the outcome of the training was positive. ‘Autism-friendly’ changes to administrative practice included alterations to waiting environments, adapted communication for people with Autism and increased communication between clinical and administrative staff about the needs of people with Autism. Future Autism training for all frontline staff and ongoing evaluation of health professionals’ Autism knowledge are discussed.

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