Frontline autism staff

Working with autistic people can be very different from working with other groups using services, and it is important that this is understood by frontline staff. Furthermore, teams need to work together to ensure they are supporting each other in relation to planning – for instance, by sharing information about service users’ preferences in good time.[16]

Use a strengths-based approach

To ensure that services are accessible, it helps to bear certain things in mind. The most important is that a person’s autism will never be more than one part of what makes them who they are, and using a strengths-based approach will be helpful.[41] In order to build good working relationships with people with autism:[42]

Plan in advance

Planning in advance means a person’s likes can be catered for, and potential triggers identified and avoided. When planning a day, or an activity, always consider the following.


Whether planning or engaged in an activity, good communication is vital.[13, 50] Consider the following,[51] bearing in mind that the communication needs of individuals will vary.

Not all autistic people use spoken language to communicate. Several tools are used to assist the communication of people with autism, many involving visual devices. Autism apps for touch-screen tablets are available both for communication and education. PECS (picture exchange communication system) is an expressive tool which involves swapping pictures for a desired activity or object. Labelling involves attaching a symbol to the thing it represents.

Further reading