Setting up a Local Autism Professionals Network

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Hello everybody

I am new to this site. I have been working in an integrated commissioning role since summer where we are trying to improve the outcomes for people in Kent with Autism.

One of the areas of my remit is around workforce development and a component of that is to set up a local Autism professionals network, and as I have come into contact with people working in the criminal justice system, academia, social care, health, education and the voluntary sector who have a lead responsibility for Autism.

Has anyone heard of anything similar elsewhere in the UK so I could speak to them and find out any learning?

Does anyone have any thoughts about how we meaningfully involve people with Autism? We have some existing networks for this purpose but I am wondering if and how we should involve them in the network. Part of me thinks that (unless they are actually professionals themselves) we don't need the involvement of autistic peeople, as it is a professionals network, but another part of me thinks that any network or group with an aim of supporting people should involve representation from that very group! What are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions, and Happy New Year!

January 12, 2020 - 6:15pm


I know my son (who is 27 and autistic) always feels that people with autism should be included in any decision making or discussion groups. However, he also stresses that it needs to be someone with a balanced view who understands that their autism experience will not be the same as others.

As a professional, I was part of an autism strategy group in a local authority.  I'm afraid that, although it was well meant, it lacked vision and tended to resort to the tried-and-tested.  So I would recommend new blood, those with a living experience of autism, and a good marketing strategy to get those affected to buy in to any ideas.

Good luck! Julia


January 14, 2020 - 2:30pm

Hi Julia

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I agree that meaningful and diverse representation is important.

I should clarify though that this is an attempt to set up a network for people to share good practice etc, rather than a decision making body.

We already have an Autism Partnership Board as mandated by Think Autism for this purpose.




May 07, 2020 - 9:00am

It's disappointing that all I am getting from this now is spam. Have turned off notifications for this thread.