• Are you a professional working with autistic children or adults?
  • Are you looking to increase your knowledge in autism and improve your practice as a professional?
  • Do you work for an organisation that needs to improve staff expertise, environment and practice to better meet the needs of autistic people accessing its services?

Our team can help.

The Training and Consultancy Team has years of experience in supporting professionals and organisations to develop their autism practice. We are providing training and consultancy solutions to professionals within health, social care, education, higher education, service provision, the criminal justice and commercial sectors. Our customers include professionals and organizations within the UK and internationally.

We offer a range of face-to-face training, online modules, bespoke training, environmental audits and consultancy that will provide you and your organisation with advice on how to develop your practice and processes. Autistic people are heavily involved in the development of our products and the delivery of our work.

80% of delegates report that their knowledge has increased following our training.

80% of people attending our training courses would highly recommend these to other professionals.

Meet the team

Rachel Reid
Lucy Skye
Niki Daniel
Rachel Townson
Lorraine MacAlister
Ruth Jones
Mandy Rutter
Sarah Harris 

Rachel Reid

Rachel oversees the Training and Consultancy department, rejoining The National Autistic Society in 2005. She has a BSc in social policy and planning, a Diploma in social work and a Postgraduate Certificate in Asperger syndrome. She is also an HCPC registered social worker. An experienced senior manager, Rachel draws from over 25 years of experience in supporting autistic people, families or professionals, overseeing an expert staff team and the design and delivery of specialist training and consultancy.

"My favourite part of the job is when I hear examples of how our training has changed people’s understanding of autism which will go on and improve the lives of the people they support."

Lucy Skye

Lucy is a Trainer Consultant, specialising in consultancy with local and health authorities. She has worked for The National Autistic Society for seven years and in the autism field for fifteen. She supports national and international public and private organisations to develop their autism expertise, assessing environments, developing services and embedding good practice through strategy and policy. In addition, Lucy also speaks at forums and events, raising awareness of autism across the UK.

"My favourite part of my job is hearing how increased awareness and understanding has improved the accessibility of services and support for autistic people. It’s incredibly inspiring to see the ‘lightbulb moment’ when professionals realise the impact of change in their practice can have on the people they support, and then actively work to make this happen.’"

Niki Daniel CPsychol 

Niki joined The National Autistic Society as a Senior Training Consultant in 2012. She has worked in the field of autism since 2002, initially supporting children and their families and later working within services for autistic adults. She has a psychology degree and an MSc in child development. She has been involved in autism research with various research groups and completed her PhD in autism in 2011. Niki manages the training team and also delivers a range of training courses and talks across the country raising awareness and supporting professionals to develop their autism practice.

"My favourite part of my job is meeting such a wide range of professionals and sharing knowledge and experience. But the best part of the job is working with and learning from autistic people themselves."

Rachel Townson MSc Autism

Rachel is our Online Training and Development Manager who project manages the development of any new online training modules. She has helped to develop modules relating to autism the police service, sport, managing money and safeguarding. She is currently working on an autism in women and girls module, having a personal interest in the subject after gaining a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome in 2014, having self-identified as autistic since 2011. She also ensures the autistic voice is strong within our face-to-face courses as well as online content. Rachel has worked for The National Autistic Society since 2005 in a range of positions including befriending, mentoring, support work, research and delivering training across Scotland to families and professionals. She enjoys learning from a variety of professionals but particularly enjoys hearing from autistic people themselves. 

"I am very fortunate to work within a team that understands and assists me to be the best version of myself. My favourite aspect to my job is working with others on the autism spectrum to create our online courses for professionals, the varying perspectives and ideas mean I get to constantly learn on a daily basis."

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lorraine MacAlister PGCertEd Autism

Lorraine is an Autism Training Consultant who has worked in the field for over 18 years and is passionate about increasing understanding of autism. She has worked with a variety of autistic individuals. At The National Autistic Society since 2005, Lorraine has delivered a variety of autism training to both professionals and families, covering a range of topics including sensory differences, continence, sexuality and women and girls. She has lectured on autism at a variety of UK Universities and has spoken at several conferences on autism and related subjects.

Her publications include Toilet Training and the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Professionals (2016) with Dr Eve Fleming, Toileting problems in children with autism (2014) in The Nursing Times, and the Autism Seminars for Families Facilitator Resource Pack for The National Autistic Society. Lorraine has recently developed the new National Autistic Society Teen Life parent support programme and accompanying Licensed User Training.

"My favourite part of the job is the opportunities I get to constantly learn more about autism, often from autistic people themselves, and to share that knowledge with those who come on my training."

Ruth Jones

Ruth is our Trainer Consultant for the Active for Autism project, delivering our enhanced courses in Autism and Physical Activity. Whilst studying for her MSc in Autism & Related Conditions, her work concentrated greatly on researching the sensory aspect of autism. Having worked in the fitness industry for over 10 years, and still currently teaching a variety of classes, Ruth is extremely interested in supporting autistic people overcome challenges when partaking in sporting/fitness activities. Ruth also delivers our Autism Awareness and Sensory Considerations courses.  Most importantly for Ruth, she is the proud mother of a child on the autism spectrum, her son being her inspiration behind everything.

"My passion in life is to increase people’s understanding of autism. I feel very fortunate to work for the NAS and thoroughly enjoy my role within the training team. My favourite part of my job is when I receive feedback appreciating training coming from someone who is both a professional and a parent."

Mandy Rutter

Mandy is an Autism Training Consultant. She began her career as a primary school teacher and then worked with children with learning disabilities in a large residential school. Following this, she then moved into working with young adults in residential services, becoming a team leader. In 1996, Mandy began her career with The National Autistic Society as a manager of a day resource and independent living service for young autistic adults in Northamptonshire, instituting the SPELL framework at the service. With this experience, she began training other staff and then took on a role as an autism training consultant in 2002. Mandy’s main role is training across a wide customer base, providing consultancy support, teaching on HE courses and developing training materials. She also recently worked on a large consultancy project overseas.

"I have many favourite parts to my job. Most recently it has been the opportunity to work with a staff team over many months and see how training and support resulted in them developing best practice and autistic children being happy learners."

Sarah Harris

Sarah joined The National Autistic Society in 2012 as an Autism Training Consultant. She has 15 years of experience as a primary school teacher in both mainstream and specialist education and has a PGCE in Special Education: Autism (Children) from Birmingham University. Sarah has worked as a Specialist Advisory Teacher for an Early Years Communication Interaction Team, supporting pre-school children and their families. She delivers a range of autism workshops and has trained a diverse range of professionals. She consults in schools and nurseries and delivers bespoke packages of training, including training developed by the Autism Education Trust.

"What I love most about my job is the wide range of inspirational people I get to meet and work with on a daily basis."