The Induction

Day 1: Introduction to ATLASS

  • Who we are
  • The ATLASS programme and approach
  • Human development
  • What is typical human development?
  • What is atypical human development?
  • What is developmental delay?
  • What is developmental disorder?
  • The development of Agency and the Self
  • Implications for support and management
  • The importance of mirroring in human development

Day 2: The Autism Spectrum: Our perspective

  • How do we conceptualise autism?
  • The problem of categorisation
  • Autism as a Neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Neural subgroups and autism
  • Difficulties with executive processes
  • Do people with autism lack empathy?
  • Implications for support and management
  • How do we motivate people who lack motivation?

Day 3: Sensory Differences and Movement Disturbances

  • Perception and the senses
  • Making sense of the world
  • Organising the senses
  • How do people with autism experience the world?
  • The measurement problem
  • Agency revisited & the relationship to movement differences
  • Implications for support and management

Day 4: Stress, coping & distress

  • What is stress?
  • What coping style should we use and in which context?
  • A transactional model of stress
  • The impact of stress on our physical and psychological arousal
  • What do we mean by arousal?
  • What moderates and mediates within a stress response
  • Implications for support and management
  • The case of trauma informed Behaviour Support

Day 5 : Low Arousal approaches in context

  • Developing a low arousal framework
  • Conceptualising behaviour in context
  • Staff confidence and stress, creating a supportive work environment
  • The role of reflective practice
  • Supporting and working with families

Course Participants

Participants will normally consist of individuals with a good background in working with people on the autistic spectrum. The training programme can cater for 12 staff that will be required to work in pairs and focus their work on one service user throughout the programme.

Duration of Programme

Participants attend a five day induction training course; this will be followed by three two day follow up sessions over the following year. In these sessions participants will demonstrate the application of their skills to specific individuals.

Follow Up Days

The five day induction focusses on the general understanding of stress and wellbeing. Participants leave with ‘tailor made’ goals. This will be followed by 2 x 2day follow up periods. Over the subsequent 3 months. The follow up days have a strong “clinical focus”; the purpose is to help participants develop personalised stress management plans both for themselves and the people they support.

Delivery of the programme

The initial 5 day induction will consist of two facilitators from the ATLASS programme. The two 2 day follow up session would be conducted by one of the ATLASS facilitators.


Participants will be mentored by the lead ATLASS trainer via email and video conferencing on a case by case basis.


There are several assessment measure for course participants:

  • Candidates will have to produce a written stress management plan for an individual
  • Candidates will produce a brief report about their work (maximum 3000 words)


Prior to the course, participants will be given relevant journal articles and materials which they are expected to read, on-going review will cover the content of these articles.


All training courses are evaluated. At present feedback questionnaires are being used as well as a limited number of semi-structured interviews. The evaluations to date show very high satisfaction with the programme.