Publication - Advice and guidance

The Scottish Strategy for Autism - Menu of Interventions

Published: 21 Nov 2013
Part of:
Health and social care

Guide to Interventions and Supports for People on the Autism Spectrum

38 page PDF

565.6 kB

38 page PDF

565.6 kB

The Scottish Strategy for Autism - Menu of Interventions
Menu Of Interventions

38 page PDF

565.6 kB

Menu Of Interventions

Level of intellectual ability and stage of life mean that interventions and support should be customised to meet the needs of each individual with an autism spectrum disorder and the needs of their families.



(to include advice, therapeutic interventions and counselling)

1. Understanding the implications of an autism diagnosis

Post diagnostic discussion (s) and individualised counselling

The provision of good quality education and information packs for individuals, families/carers along with appropriate verbal discussion at time of need. Use of visual props if needed. Signposting to useful websites and forums.

2. Development of effective means of communication

Individualised language therapy assessment. Updated as required. Alternative and augmentative communication systems introduced where required. Work to ensure language system (regardless of form) is used functionally and is therefore effective on an individual basis. Teaching/learning on internet etiquette and supervision.

3. Social communication

Targeted social communication programmes delivered either individually or in a group setting as required and appropriate to the individual to include internet etiquette and promotion of online safety.

4. Developing and maintaining relationships

Work to assess the understanding of relationships and promotion of skills to develop relationships including sexuality issues and intimate relationships. Access to social groups, friendship circles etc

5. Social isolation for individual with autism

Accessible social groups and opportunities, support in the community. Befrienders. Respect the need to be alone at times. Acceptance by families that friendships can take many forms

6. Social isolation for family

Family/ Partner/ Carer support, opportunity for respite. Access to autism friendly environments

7. Learning to learn skills

A functional assessment of the person's cognitive abilities and learning style leading to a planned programme both directly with the individual and indirectly with the family, carers etc. Formal psychometric testing may be conducted if appropriate to inform intervention.

8. Predicting and managing change

Timely individual direct work with individuals to teach methods where required. Family/carer /employer guidance/education in these methods

Visual supports; timetables, timers, text alerts, choice boards etc to be used as appropriate

9. Behaviour and emotional regulation protecting wellbeing

Knowledge development in understanding behaviour in the context of ASD. Individual work with the individual on assessing behaviour, recognising triggers and developing and managing the implementation of strategies to help. Behaviour support plans, cognitive interventions, psychotherapy or counselling as required and indicated by life circumstances eg around transitions of all types including bereavement. Work with the individual's family/carers, criminal justice, social work, Police as appropriate. Autism Alert card possession

10. Restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours

Assessment and positive day to day management on an individualised basis. Treatment by mental health clinician if required

11. Motivation issues

Structured programmes as appropriate to the individual linking to the other core challenges as required. Career guidance, employer/HE/FE support.

12. Sensory issues

Assessment of sensory difficulties. Identification and implementation of strategies. Environmental adaptation on an individual basis with individual control working towards reducing the impact of sensory sensitivities

13. Daily living skills

Assessment of core life skills as required across the lifespan and to take account of changing needs at various transitions. Specific individual programmes to teach and maintain these skills where needed. Involvement of families/carers in assessment and implementation of new learning

Education for families/employers/ care providers/housing dept re practical needs

14. Co existing conditions- examples

epilepsy, dyspraxia, dyslexia, disorders of attention, sensory impairment, anxiety, sleep disorder, addiction, anger management, depression, self harm, psychosis, personality disorder, OCD, disordered eating patterns etc

These require assessment and treatment/management by appropriate specialist clinician. Joint working is crucial across specialities with a clear case co-ordinating lead identified.

These interventions and supports fit within the Scottish Autism Strategy recommendations for good Autism provision which state that there should be:

1. A local autism strategy developed in co-operation with people across the autism spectrum, carers and professionals, ensuring that the needs of people with ASD and carers are reflected and incorporated within local policies and plans.

2. Access to training and development to inform staff and improve the understanding amongst professionals about ASD.

3. A process for ensuring a means of easy access to useful and practical information about ASD, and local action, for stakeholders to improve communication.

4. An ASD training plan to improve the knowledge and skills of those who work with people who have ASD, to ensure that people with ASD are properly supported by trained staff.

5. A process for data collection which improves the reporting of how many people with ASD are receiving services and informs the planning of these services.

6. A multi-agency care pathway for assessment, diagnosis and intervention to improve the support for people with ASD and remove barriers.

7. A framework and process for seeking stakeholder feedback to inform service improvement and encourage engagement.

8. Services that can demonstrate that service delivery is multi-agency in focus and coordinated effectively to target meeting the needs of people with ASD.

9. Clear multi-agency procedures and plans which are in place to support individuals through major transitions at each important life-stage.

10. A self-evaluation framework to ensure best practice implementation and monitoring.


Email: Alison Taylor