On this page, you will find resources relating to learning, research and policy in the field of Autism.
Please note: the resources on this page are provided for informational purposes only. No endorsement is expressed or implied, unless otherwise stated. While we make every effort to ensure this page is up to date and relevant, we cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers.
Please contact us if you have any suggestions or feedback on these pages.
(Last updated October 2023)
Research and evidence
Please see our pages on evidence-based practice for support on where to find evidence, including our RCSLT journals collection, SpeechBITE™, What Works and Evidence Maps from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
You need to use your own critical appraisal skills when considering the quality of any piece of research, whether found on these pages or elsewhere. This will include consideration of how relevant it is to your practice and CPD and the specific individuals you are working with. The following resources can help you to find evidence about autism.
Neurodiversity affirming practice
- Chapman R., Botha M. (2022). Neurodivergence-informed therapy. Dev Med Child Neurol.
- Dallman A.R., Williams K.L., Villa L. (2022) Neurodiversity-Affirming Practices are a Moral Imperative for Occupational Therapy. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy.
- Aitken D., Fletcher-Watson S. (2022) Neurodiversity-affirmative education: why and how? The British Psychological Society.
- Information Autism: Evaluations of Autism Interventions, Treatments and Therapies
- Autism CRC: Interventions for children on the autism spectrum
- University of Exeter: PenCRU evidence summaries
- National Development Team for Inclusion: Preparing for Adulthood: All Tools & Resources
- Local Government Association: Preparation for adulthood
- Coproduction with Autistic Adults: Reflections from the Authentistic Research Collective
- A Future Made Together: Shaping Autism Research in the UK
- The AASPIRE practice-based guidelines for the inclusion of autistic adults in research as co-researchers and study participants
- Skills for Health: Co-production in mental health
- Co-production in mental health: A literature review
- Co-production in Transforming Care
- Co-production principles for the RCSLT Autism guidance working group 2022-23
Environmental supports and reasonable adjustments
- Doherty, M., McCowan, S., Shaw, S.C.K, (2023). Autistic SPACE: a novel framework for meeting the needs of autistic people in healthcare settings. British Journal of Hospital Medicine.
- Brice S. et al. (2021). The importance and availability of adjustments to improve access for autistic adults who need mental and physical healthcare: findings from UK surveys. BMJ Open.
- Mason D. et al. (2019). A Systematic Review of What Barriers and Facilitators Prevent and Enable Physical Healthcare Services Access for Autistic Adults. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
- “Respect the way I need to communicate with you”: Healthcare experiences of adults on the autism spectrum
- Royal College of Occupational Therapist Informed view on sensory-based interventions
- RCSLT Five Good Communication Standards (2013)
- NAIT guidance for schools and nurseries: Making planning meetings accessible to families affected by autism
- More than words: Supporting effective communication with autistic people in health care settings
- Bild: capable Environments
- An independent guide to quality care for autistic people. National Autistic Taskforce.
Distressed behaviour and emotional regulation
- NICE Guideline: Challenging behaviour and learning disabilities: prevention and interventions for people with learning disabilities whose behaviour challenges
- NICE Guideline: Recommendations | Self-harm: assessment, management and preventing recurrence
- NAIT Guidance: An autism lens on the Six Principles of Nurture
- Department of Health & Social Care Thematic Review of the Independent Care (Education) and Treatment Reviews
- Challenging Behaviour Foundation: Information and guidance
- Botha M., and Frost D.M. (2020). Extending the minority stress model to understand mental health problems experienced by the autistic population. Society and mental health.
- National Autism Implementation Team Neurodevelopmental pathway development 2021
- Embracing Complexity in Diagnosis: Multi-Diagnostic Pathways for Neurodevelopmental Conditions 2019
- Miller D., Rees J., Pearson A. (2021). “Masking Is Life”: Experiences of Masking in Autistic and Nonautistic Adults. Autism in Adulthood
- Cook J. et al (2021). Camouflaging in autism: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review.
- Pearson A., and Rose K. (2021). A conceptual analysis of autistic masking: Understanding the narrative of stigma and the illusion of choice. Autism in Adulthood, 3(1), pp.52-60.
- NAIT Guide to Autistic Masking
Legislation and policy
- NHS England National framework and operational guidance for autism assessment services 2023
- NHS England Autistic people’s healthcare information strategy for England 2022
- Building the right support for people with a learning disability and autistic people 2022
- Care Quality Commission: Our work on closed cultures 2022
- National strategy for autistic children, young people and adults 2021-2026
- National Disability Strategy 2021
- Out of sight – who cares? Restraint, segregation and seclusion review 2020
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
- NHS England Transforming care – Model Service Specifications: Supporting implementation of the service model 2017
- National plan – Building the right support 2015
- Children and Families Act 2014
- SEND code of practice: 0-25 years 2014
- Care Act 2014
- Winterbourne View – Time for Change: Transforming the commissioning of services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism 2014
- Mental Capacity Act 2005
- Accessible Information Standard
- NAIT Adult Neurodevelopmental Pathways report 2023
- Scottish Strategy for Autism: outcomes and priorities 2018-2021
- Equity for all: children’s speech and language therapy services in Scotland 2021
- Provision of communication equipment and support: guidance 2018
- Additional support for learning: statutory guidance 2017
- Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
- A Right to Speak Supporting Individuals who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication 2012
- Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007
- Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004
- Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003
- Welsh Government Code of Practice on the delivery of autism services
- Welsh Government Guidance on autism services 2021
- Welsh Government Autism delivery plan 2021 to 2022
- Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018
- Effectiveness of educational interventions to support children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: rapid evidence assessment 2018
- Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
- Mental Capacity Act 2005
- Autism Strategy 2023-2028
- Autism (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022
- Autism Act (Northern Ireland) 2011
- Department of Health, Autism Strategy 2023-2028
- Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (Northern Ireland) 2016
- Mental Capacity Act 2016
Knowledge and skills
- NICE guidelines and quality standards relating to autism
- NICE guidelines and quality standards relating to ADHD
- SIGN guideline 145 on assessment, diagnosis and interventions for autism spectrum disorders 2016
- SCIE Improving access to social care for adults with autism – The policy context in Northern Ireland
- Autism CRC National Guideline for supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia
- Autism Good Practice Guidance for Schools – Supporting Children and Young People (Department of Education, Ireland)
Double Empathy Problem
- Crompton C., DeBrabander K., Heasman B., Milton D. and Sasson N. (2021) Double Empathy: Why Autistic People Are Often Misunderstood. Frontiers for Young Minds.
- Heasman B., and Gillespie A. (2018) Neurodivergent intersubjectivity: Distinctive features of how autistic people create shared understanding. Autism
Gestalt Language Processing
- Let’s give them something to gestalt about.The informed SLP.
- Research – Communication Development Center
- Chapman, L. et al. (2022) ‘“I want to fit in… but I don’t want to change myself fundamentally”: A qualitative exploration of the relationship between masking and mental health for autistic teenagers’. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
- Autism sensory strategies. The Spectrum.
Competencies and training
- Skills for Health Advanced Clinical Practice: Capabilities framework when working with people who have a learning disability and/or autism (2020)
- Skills for Health Core Capabilities Framework for Supporting People with Autism (2019)
- Oliver McGowan Learning Disability Training – aims to ensure staff in England working in health and social care receive learning disability and autism training, at the right level for their role. They will have a better understanding of people’s needs, resulting in better services and improved health and wellbeing outcomes.
- Middletown Centre For Autism – aims to support the promotion of excellence throughout Northern Ireland and Ireland in the education of children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
Note: Many autistic people also deliver training. The RCSLT cannot share details of commercial training by individuals, but you may wish to explore this.
Guidance from other professional groups
Mental health professionals e.g. psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses/practitioners and counsellors:
- The psychiatric management of autism in adults
- Working with autism – best practice guidelines for psychologists
Medical professionals e.g. paediatricians, General Practitioners (GPs), nurses:
Allied Health Professionals e.g. occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dieticians:
Education professionals e.g. teachers, teaching assistants:
Social care professionals e.g. social workers, care workers:
- A manual for good social work practice: Supporting adults who have autism
- A spectrum of opportunity: an exploratory study of social work practice with autistic young adults and their families
Working with neurodivergent colleagues
- NHS Employers: Supporting neurodivergent colleagues in the NHS
- Royal College of Nursing: Neurodiversity Guidance: Peer Support Service
- British Psychological Society: Neurodiversity is not just for those we work with
- RCSLT guidance on Supporting SLTs with disabilities in the workplace
- It Takes All Kind of Minds: downloadable resources available
- NHS England: Making information and the words we use accessible
- Bottema-Beutel K. et al. (2021) Avoiding ableist language: Suggestions for autism researchers. Autism in Adulthood, 3(1), pp. 18–29.
- Chapman R., Botha M. (2022). Neurodivergence-informed therapy. Dev Med Child Neurol.
Resources from the National Autism Implementation Team (NAIT)
- Terminology for Neurodevelopmental Pathways
- Key Messages for supporting neurodevelopmental differences in adults
Debate on the use of the term ‘profound autism’
- Spectrum News: It’s time to embrace ‘profound autism’
- Autistic Self Advocacy Network: Open letter to the Lancet Commission on the future of care and clinical research in autism
- Autistic Perspectives on the Future of Clinical Autism Research
- Spectrum News: Your questions about the Lancet Commission and ‘profound autism,’ answered
- Authentistic Research Collective
- Communication Access UK – partnership aiming to improve the lives of people with communication difficulties by promoting communication accessible organisations.
- Disability Matters – online training and e-learnings about disabilities.
- Easyhealth – range of accessible health information sources.
- Learning from Lives and Deaths – people with a learning disability and autistic people (LeDeR)
- Preparing for Adulthood – ensuring that young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) achieve paid employment, independent living, housing options, good health, friendships, relationships and community inclusion.
- NHS England Mental Health, Learning Disability and Autism Inpatient Quality Transformation Programme
- Whole School SEND – resources and CPD to support a whole school approach to inclusion
- Digard, B. G., and David, R. (2021). Bilingualism in Autism: Evidence and Recommendations for Clinical Practice
- Gréaux, M., Katsos, N and Gibson J., (2020). Recognising and protecting the communication rights of autistic children
Examples of Reports
Awareness raising events
Neurodiversity advocates may not support all organisations listed.
- Ambitious about Autism
- Autism Education Trust
- Autistic Girls Network
- Autism NI (Northern Ireland)
- Autism Understanding Scotland
- Awtistiaeth Cymru (Autism Wales)
- British Academy of Childhood Disability
- British Psychological Society
- Centre for research in autism and education (CRAE)
- Challenging Behaviour Foundation
- Choice Support
- Communication Matters
- Embracing Complexity
- Inspiring Scotland
- National Association for Special Educational Needs (Nasen)
- National Autism Implementation Team (Scotland)
- National Autistic Society
- National Network of Parent Carer Forums
- RCSLT Clinical Excellence Networks in Autism
- Reframing Autism
- Scottish Autism
- Spectrum Gaming
- SOLDA-CJS (Support for Offenders with Learning Disability and/or Autism in the Criminal Justice System)
- Therapist Neurodiversity Collective
Related RCSLT guidance
For RCSLT members:
- Augmentative and Alternative communication (AAC)
- Children’s services
- Collaborative working
- Delivering quality services
- Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)
- Diversity, inclusion and anti-racism
- End of life care
- Learning disabilities
- Looked after children
- Meeting the HCPC standards
- Mental Health (adults)
- Selective mutism
- Social communication disorder
- Social emotional mental health (children)
- Social media offers huge opportunities – but downsides as well
- Speech sound disorders
- Supported decision making and mental capacity
- Trans and gender diverse voice and communication
- Role of SLTs in children’s services (Impact on outcomes)
- Writing professional advice on children with SLCN