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UK: The National Autistic Society

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Presentation by Melissa Lawson, Transition – Coordinator
The National Autistic Society

About the National Autistic Society

  • The National Autistic Society (NAS) is the UK’s leading charity for people affected by autism.
  • We were founded in 1962 by a group of parents who were passionate about ensuring a better life for their children.
  • Our vision is to change the world for people with autism so that they, and their families, have the support they need and the same opportunities as others in society.
  • Building on the success of our I Exist campaign, the voice of adults with autism was recognised in 2009 with the passing of the Autism Act – the first-ever piece of single issue disability legislation.
  • We help over 100,000 people living with autism every year
  • We run 7 autism specific schools which will increase to 9 in 2014
  • The NAS represses approximately 31% of the market share of not-for-profit organisations providing autism services
  • Today, we have over 20,000 members, 100 volunteer branches and provide a variety of services including:
  • information, advice, advocacy, training and support for individuals and their families
  • specialist residential, supported living, outreach and day services for adults
  • specialist schools and education outreach services for children
  • out-of-school service for children and young people
  • employment training and support and social programmes for adults with autism

NAS Team

  • Melissa Lawson
    Melissa Lawson joined the NAS in 2006 as a Regional Officer after working in the world of autism for the last 10 years.
    As Transitions Coordinator, Mel is working across all NAS schools to ensure the NAS is supporting families and individuals in the best possible way as they move into adulthood.
    Seeking to work in partnership with families and partner organisations Mel is leading the NAS to build on the range of education support and services to ensure families and young people are well supported as they move into adulthood.>
  • Carol Povey
    Director of the Centre for Autism
  • Caroline Hattersley
    Head of Information, Advice and Advocacy

Link to the Auto Project

We are experienced in providing adults and young adults with support and training to develop their social skills, independence and employability. This is achieved through:

  • Social Skills
  • Independence
  • Employability
  • Transition to adulthood

Social Skills

Every year we help hundreds of adults with autism through:

  • mentoring and befriending,
  • social groups
  • Socialeyes; a learning resource aimed at increasing social skills and social understanding, which was developed with people with autism alongside leading professionals


  • We offer a range of information, advice and support to people with autism and their families to build independence.
  • Last year 750 adults were supported through our residential and supported-living accommodation.
  • 250 attended our day services, learning essential life skills such as managing money, cooking and taking public transport.


  • Our award winning employment service, Prospects provides people with autism with the support, encouragement and practical skills needed to access and retain employment.
  • We also work with employers to ensure they provide inclusive procedures, practices, and reasonable adjustments to enable employees with autism to achieve their full potential at work.

Transition to adulthood

  • We have a team dedicated to ensuring a seamless transition from school to adulthood, including the development of bespoke plans for each young person.
  • In addition, we ensure that the students that attend our schools are prepared for the world of work by offering enterprising opportunities such as school cafes and retail work placements.

Professional Training and partnership

  • Every year we provide training to more than 4,000 professionals working with people with autism through training courses, conferences and Ask Autism, an online learning zone run and designed by adults with autism for professionals seeking to increase their knowledge of autism.
    Central to the NAS’s vision is our collaboration with partner organisations.
  • Every year, we work with over 100 local authorities, hundreds of education officials and voluntary sector specialists in autism including; the Autism and Offending Partnership, The Autism Education Trust, the Council for Disabled Children and the All Party Parliamentary Autism Group.

Role of NAS in the Project

  • We will use our extensive experience in designing and delivering training and training products to contribute to the training and best practice resources.
  • We will share experience and practice with partners to develop new and innovative ways to support people with autism.
  • We will utilise our extensive networks in the UK, Europe wide and internationally to disseminate learning from the project.
  • As wp leader we will coordinate the Quality Management team: Definition of the Quality plan, Coordination of the Quality team,Scheduling and coordination of the Quality virtual meetings, Quality management Reports, Participation to the Quality team and quality meetings,Reporting including final quality assessment results.



393 City Road London, EC1V 1NG
United Kingdom

Ph: +44 (0)20 7833 2299
Fax.: +44 (0)20 7833 9666
Email: nas@nas.org.uk

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With the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union

Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union Italia Österreich România Lietuva United Kingdom

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