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Training & Accreditation

AsIAm Autism Training

Training & Accreditation

AsIAm is committed to advocating for an Irish society that is truly Autism-friendly. We believe that true equality can be achieved by raising public awareness about Autism and supporting organisations, businesses and other institutions to become more inclusive and accessible.

All businesses and public services in Ireland are required under the Disability Act of 2005 to be accessible to people with disabilities. However, organisations often struggle to meet the needs of Autistic people due to a lack of information on what is involved.

Our training and accreditation supports organisations and communities nationwide on their path to being Autism-friendly. This includes online and in-person training courses, along with our bespoke Accreditation. To date, over 25,000 people have benefited from our training and our accreditation programme is growing every year!

What does ‘Autism-friendly' mean?

We define Autism-friendly as:

“Being aware of social engagement and environmental factors affecting people on the Autism spectrum, with modifications to communication methods and physical space to better suit an individual’s unique support needs.” 

In short, it means being open to making changes to empower an Autistic person to participate in society. It also means that you recognise the fact that the Autistic person has already had to make a lot of adjustments in order to deal with the world around them, and you are open and willing to make the necessary adjustments to include Autistic people. 

Autism Training

Our Autism Training provides easy-to-understand, up-to-date information on what Autism is (and isn’t!), the diverse ways it can manifest, and how it may contribute to a different experience using a service or visiting a space than it would in a non-Autistic service user.

Based on this, we offer guidelines on best practices to encourage Autism understanding, acceptance and (most importantly) access within organisations.

We produce a wide variety of online and in-person Autism training modules for businesses, organisations and the Public Sector. These can be tailored to suit the needs of different organisations. You can read about the different types of training we offer below.

Contact us here to book training for your organisation.

Autism Employer Training

AsIAm Inclusive Recruitment Package

On the Digital Badge journey you will learn how to advertise, interview, recruit and support Autistic staff and third-level interns. The package includesAsIAm Digital Badge Inclusive Recruitment Workshops

Organisations who complete the training will receive a digital badge for displaying on their website and documents. There are different levels available depending on the training that was undertaken:

AsIAm Autism Friendly Digital Badges

Bronze Badge | Inclusive Workplace, Reasonable Accommodations, Grants
Silver Badge | Autism-Friendly CV and Cover Letter
Gold Badge | Recruitment procedures and Job Descriptions
Platinum Badge | Autistic Friendly Job Interview and On-boarding
Peer Support Badge | Communication and Disclosure in the Workplace

Communities of Practice

Our Communities of Practice training is a bespoke programme that is tailored to suit the individual needs of each company. It is designed for organisations that are leading the way in diversity and inclusion!

What’s included in this package?

• 6-8 meetings per year
• Online and in-person events
• Guest speakers
• Access to training
• Networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities with industry leaders
• Opportunities to volunteer with AsIAm Events
• Opportunities to fundraise for AsIAm
• Opportunities to work directly with the community on Taster days, Interview Skills

Autism School Talks

Education is central to the work of AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity. In this section, you will find information on the school talks which AsIAm deliver for school staff, students and parents.

Staff training - Building Autism Understanding and Awareness

90 minutes online or 2 hours on-site

Suitable for primary and secondary level staff. These participation-based workshops build toward an inclusive school culture.

Student Workshop/Whole School Talk

Develops empathy and awareness in second-level students.
1 hour onsite

Our student talks build toward fostering empathy and awareness amongst young people. Small or large groups.

Parents/Guardians Talk - Autism Understanding and Awareness
90 mins online or onsite

Aims to build empathy and understanding for Autistic pupils and their families

How do I find out more or book training?

If you would like to book an AsIAm trainer to deliver one or more of our school programmes, please fill out this online booking form and one of our trainers will contact you directly.

How much does it cost?

AsIAm does not receive specific funding for this programme and demand for delivery of our education programmes is high. Consequently, there is a fee for hosting a workshop. We aim to make our costs competitive with other educational training companies – noting that our training programmes fund our advocacy and community support work for autistic people and their families.

AsIAm as an organisation is acutely conscious of each student’s individual rights. We are governed by policies relating to the safety of children, vulnerable persons and data protection. For this reason, certain protocols are in place for our speakers and the school that they visit, which will be discussed further when booking a speaker from AsIAm.

Autism Friendly Schools Project

If you are registered in the 2022/23 school year please use the button below or click here to access the portal.

Autism Friendly Schools Portal

What is the Autism Friendly Schools Project?

AsIAm, in cooperation with the Joint Managerial Body and Irish Primary Principal’s Network, began conducting an Autism-Friendly Schools Pilot with 118 National and Secondary Schools across Ireland. Participating schools were supported in reflecting on their practice, identifying challenges and solutions, creating an inclusive culture and building knowledge and understanding of Autism amongst staff and students. To date, we have worked with over 400 schools across the country.

What is the aim of the project?

The project aims to support schools in the provision of inclusive educational placements for autistic children and young people alongside specialist provision. It is designed to reaffirm good practice and support those wishing to foster a school culture that is inclusive of autistic students.

The project will cover the following areas:

• Teaching and Learning
• Inclusive School Culture
• Leadership and Management
• Staff professional development

How can I apply?

Online application forms are available on this page each September. Once a school has applied and been accepted onto the Autism Friendly Schools Project, they will complete the following steps:

1. Release two staff members (preferably one mainstream class teacher and one special education/learning support teacher) to attend 3 workshops over the academic year (two online and one in-person).  

2. Use the Autism Friendly Schools toolkit for in-school assessments and the development of strategic planning for inclusion. Participants will get access to an online toolkit to support engagement.

3. Promote the AsIAm Autism Friendly Schools CPD course and make this available to all staff/colleagues.

4. Actively promote the school’s participation in the Autism Friendly Schools Project among the wider school community, via social media, BOM meetings, PTA meetings, Autism awareness events/activities etc.

Please note: there will be no provision for travel expenses/sub-cover. As we are a charity, the programme is dependent on investment from starting and returning schools to cover the cost of the three training days. The cost of the programme for new schools is €500 and the cost for returning schools (years 2 and 3) is €300 The data compiled from the online toolkit will be anonymised and no school or individual will be identifiable. This aims to form a national perspective on how primary and post-primary schools are engaging in Autism-friendly practices.

Due to a high demand for places on the project, we have closed expressions of interest for this year. Returning schools who are signing up for year 2 or 3 can contact us at to confirm their place if they haven’t already done so.

Autism-Friendly Accreditation

In recent years, AsIAm is seeing a growing number of organisations, businesses and communities strive to become more ‘Autism-friendly’, by either making adjustments to their existing services to make them more accessible to Autistic people, or by creating specific services which aim to address the Autism community’s support needs.

However, we know that many more businesses and organisations throughout Ireland also want to become Autism-friendly, but may not know where to begin. We have adapted to this demand by creating an Autism-Friendly Accreditation.

Many organisations have began the Accreditation process, including many business and Universities. In 2023, the Houses of the Oireachtas achieved AsIAm Autism-Friendly Accreditation for the Leinster House Complex, making it the world’s first Autism-friendly parliament.

The AsIAm ‘Charter of Inclusion’

We work with businesses and organisations to help them on the road to becoming Autism-friendly. Central to our Accreditation is a “Charter of Inclusion” between AsIAm and the organisations we work with. The Charter sets our standards for supporting the Autism community and offers practical measures that your business or organisation can put into place. Each Charter is transparent and tailored to your organisation’s needs and objectives. Autistic people and their family members can access the Charter so they know how they will be supported when they visit your business or organisation

How does accreditation work?

We believe that becoming Autism-friendly is a journey, rather than a destination. AsIAm will accredit your business annually based on putting in place a standard of support outlined in the Charter of Inclusion. We will measure your organisation’s progress in putting measures set out in the Charter into action, and we will review further steps taken to support your ongoing commitment to supporting the Autism community.

What changes are necessary to achieve Accreditation?

Whilst every organisation is different, AsIAm requires that each business or organisation we work with take several steps to receive Autism-Friendly Accreditation, in-line with our Autism Accessibility principles. These include:

• Judgement and Attitude:
The most important action any organisation can take to reach out to the Autism community is to create a whole-of-organisation culture of understanding and acceptance. As a result, we require businesses and organisations to undertake staff awareness training about Autism and to educate the public about autistic people’s access needs. Training can be provided in person or online, depending on the organisation’s size. We will also support your organisation in developing materials that educate the public on how to support autistic people when they access your services.

• Sensory Processing:
Identifying environmental barriers to participation can pose difficulties for people who are not autistic. Our team will support your organisation to conduct an audit of your sensory environment and can help you identify measures you can take to make the environment more accessible to autistic people. Many adjustments AsIAm recommends, like creating a quiet space or reducing background noise, are cost-effective, easily attainable, and people-friendly – all recommendations are on a comply-or-explain basis, and your organisation can commit to meeting the Charter’s more complex goals over a longer period.

• Predictability & Control: Autistic people can find it hard to know what to expect in social situations, which can cause significant anxiety and stress. We support our partners in developing materials which support autistic people to access your services and empower autistic people to manage their experience of accessing your goods and services.

• Communication: Autistic people often communicate in different ways to neurotypical people (or people who are not autistic). These differences might range from how a person uses and understands language, body language and facial expression to which communication mode works best for the person. Our team will support you in reviewing and making adjustments to your communication practices to ensure that autistic people can have an enriching experience when engaging with your business or organisation.

How will AsIAm support me?

Our team will support you on your Autism-friendly journey by:

Developing your Charter of Inclusion and supporting its implementation.
Providing Autism Awareness Training to staff.
Reviewing your organisation’s actions and your long-term commitments.
Awarding the Accreditation once certain objectives agreed by both parties are met.
Supporting your organisation’s communication of your commitment to becoming Autism-friendly to the public, including media appearances agreed by both parties.
Ongoing implementation support.
Mystery shopping, if applicable.
Support with your organisation’s Sensory Audit, if applicable.
Consultancy services to advance your Autism-friendly measures, as required.

The level of support, over and above the initial award phase will depend on an organisation’s project budget, and the type of support your organisation will offer to the Autism community.

What are the costs?

AsIAm provides individual quotes for our Accreditation service to reflect the size and scope of every organisation's Accreditation project.  AsIAm will work with your organisation to develop an Accreditation plan that is tailored to your budget and overall objectives.

Becoming Autism-friendly can be a cost-effective way of making your business more accessible and inclusive to the public.

What are the benefits of Autism-Friendly Accreditation?

• Access a vast untapped talent pool of autistic people: Autistic people have many desirable qualities that employers want. However, a major UK study from the National Autistic Society showed that just 16% of autistic adults are in full-time employment. AsIAm will support your organisation to tap into a vast pool of autistic talent, reach out to an ever-expanding pool of autistic clients and customers and become a market leader in Autism inclusion.

• Reaching out to autistic people makes business sense: Reaching out to autistic people is about more than doing the right thing – it also makes business sense. Businesses that hire autistic people show a proven Return on Investment (ROI), which increases their organisation’s productivity, sustainability and profitability. Businesses that attract autistic customers also improve your reputation as a socially responsible and progressive business or organisation to clients, customers and the public.

• Embracing neurodiversity creates more responsive and innovative organisations: When autistic people and neurodivergent people are appreciated as valued members of teams with a wide range of skills, they can stimulate innovation, and help your business better respond to changing market conditions by increasing employee engagement and productivity.

Autism-friendly measures are people-friendly measures: As an organisation, you may already have autistic or neurodivergent staff, clients or customers but may not know it as they may not feel comfortable disclosing their condition to you. By undertaking our Autism Accreditation programme and making the suggested changes in the Charter of Inclusion, your organisation can tap into the power of neurodiversity to increase staff and customer engagement, boost productivity and help you reach more clients or customers. This also encourages neurodivergent staff to be more comfortable to be themselves at work and be even more successful in their work. It also encourages neurodivergent customers to shop with your business or access your services more often.

Autism-friendly communication makes your organisation more accessible to the public and increases customer engagement Providing accessible information formats (like Social Stories, Plain English or Easy-to-Read) are excellent ways for your business to reach autistic people and the wider public. Having clear communication channels signals to customers that you are an inclusive organisation which welcomes a wide diversity of customers. Becoming Autism-friendly will help your organisation increase customer engagement and trust, broaden your customer base, and build closer client and customer relationships.

"It has been game changing working with colleagues who see the world and solve problems with a different lens. It means every job or problem is looked at from different perspectives. We have one colleague who works in HQ who is mostly non-verbal. When we briefed him on a specific data reporting task, he kept saying no. Initially I thought he didn’t want to do the work but through our dialogue I discovered that he was saying no because the report formula was wrong. He picked that issue up in minutes and bear in mind this is a reportdesigned by a management accountant that we had been using for years."

Edel McSorley, Operations Director at Mr Price, an Accredited business

Autism Friendly HEIs

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are now placing a greater emphasis on ensuring that Autistic students have more access to support services. To equip HEIs who wish to create this learning environment, AsIAm has developed the Autism Friendly HEI Award, which provides a common understanding and good practice in third-level institutions. It is drawn from a range of evaluations, policy guidelines and best practices from Ireland, the UK and internationally.

The Autism Friendly HEI Award aims to equip Autistic students to meet the challenges of academic and social life, combating stigma and recognising the diverse experiences of students. It relates to the whole campus experience.

Watch our CEO Adam Harris speak about Autism Friendly HEI.

The 9 Principles of an Autism Friendly HEI

When DCU became the world’s first accredited Autism Friendly HEI through AsIAm in 2018 they created a blueprint for what makes an Autism-friendly HEI. It continued 8 key principles. In 2023 a 9th principle was added, to support HEI employees.

These 9 principles show what is possible for HEI in Ireland:

1. Encourage and enable autistic students to transition and participate in HEI programmes
2. Support & build capacity to equip Autistic students to meet the academic challenges of everyday HEI life.
3. Support and build capacity to equip Autistic students to meet the social challenges of everyday HEI life.
4. Seek to establish an Autism-friendly operational environment.
5. Seek to combat the stigma around Autism and recognise the diverse experiences of Autistic individuals.
6. Develop understanding and relevant knowledge and skills within the HEI community.
7. Establish channels so that Autistic students can have a voice in various aspects of HEI life
8. Increase the employability of Autistic graduates.
9. Build capacity throughout the HEI to support Autistic employees.

Major Accreditation Achievements

We have had some major successes with our accreditation projects. Have a look at some of the work we have been doing in collaborating with organisations.

Dublin City University

Since 2018, DCU has completed many actions under each of the Autism Friendly HEI Principles. These have included the formation of the Neurodivergent Society, sensory pods, quiet rooms, online support and different supports for Autistic staff, and increased awareness and training for staff and students.

Additionally, DCU is implementing a mentoring programme, a sensory-friendly way-finding app, sensory ‘hubs’ in the Henry Grattan building, workshops for independent living skills, and a summer transition programme. To find out more about DCU and the Autism Friendly HEI Award, click here.

National College of Ireland

On April 19th, 2021, NCI received the Autism Friendly HEI Award by AsIAm. NCI is the second HEI in the world to achieve this award. This achievement was marked by the launch of a celebration video across all NCI’s social media channels.

National College of Ireland has undertaken actions to achieve this accreditation, including changes to the physical environment of the college, establishing Quiet Spaces and installing a sensory pod, as well as a partnership with Specialisterne Ireland as part of the College’s career support for autistic graduates, accompanied by staff training and raising Autism awareness and acceptance in the NCI and wider community and the implementation of the 9 Principles of the Autism Friendly Autism Award.

To read more about NCI and the implementation of the Autism Friendly HEI Award, please click here.

Atlantic Technological University Sligo

AsIAm recognised ATU Sligo as Ireland’s first Autism-Friendly Technological University campus on the 7th of December 2022.

The team at ATU Sligo have created an ambitious 3-year plan to ensure that Autistic students have the same chance to attend the university, excel there and access employment upon completing their studies. A central aspect of the Award is ensuring an inclusive operational environment for autistic students and staff.

ATU Sligo staff and students have embarked upon an important training journey and are committed to continually raising Autism acceptance in ATU Sligo and the wider community. Central to this is the development of the Neurodivergent Society and an Ambassadors’ Group. ATU Sligo has also partnered with Specialisterne Ireland to support students in gaining employment.

To read more about the launch of Principle 9 click here and to learn more about ATU Sligo’s implementation of Autism Friendly principles click here.

College of Computing Technology Dublin

CCT is halfway through a learning journey with AsIAm to become an Autism-Friendly HEI. We are currently working on a three-year Action Plan to build and implement an institution-wide approach to Autism understanding and accessibility through the AsIAm 9 Principle Framework. Our aim is to continuously work towards creating a college environment where autistic students are accepted, understood, and celebrated. We believe that all further and higher education providers need to do what they can to improve their learning environments to enable greater accessibility, inclusion and provide the same chance for autistic students. It is on us all as a society to do more to facilitate opportunities for our autistic community to access, engage with and excel in education and employment.

National College of Art and Design

NCAD is delighted to hold an Autism Friendly HEI Candidate Badge and know that this recognition will mean so much to their current and future autistic students and staff. They will be working with AsIAm over the coming years and building on NCAD’s culture of inclusivity for all.

Dundalk Institute of Technology

DkIT’s next challenge is to achieve an AsIAm’s Autism Friendly HEI Award. We look forward to working with AsIAm to enhance the student experience. Our dedication to creating a supportive atmosphere for our autistic community aligns perfectly with the values and principles of both DkIT and AsIAm.

How to Apply for the Autism Friendly HEI Award

Please contact for further information about receiving the AsIAm Autism Friendly HEI Award for your college or HEI. You can read the guidelines here: Autism Friendly HEI Aware Guidelines

Autism Friendly Communities

The Autism Friendly Communities initiative follows a series of principles aimed at fostering autism inclusion and empowerment in local communities.

These are referred to as the Autism Friendly Town Commitment and includes:

• Creating a 3-year charter inclusion plan.
• Undergoing understandable staff training.
• Each participating business must create a social story.
• Undergo an Environmental evaluation.
• Participating businesses must be assistance dog-friendly.
• The community must commit to enacting at least one change in the community

For more information about getting started with Autism Friendly Communities, check out the video below:

In following these principles, it is important that interested communities understand the purpose behind them.

This involves an awareness of the main barriers to inclusion for autistic people, including:

• Communication
• Predictability and control
• Sensory processing
• Judgement and attitudes

AsIAm have developed a central framework to assist and guide applicants throughout this process. Included within this are a resource pack and training modules for different parts of the project, namely for planning meetings, producing materials and creating autism-friendly spaces. A Committee for each interested community will oversee the Commitment’s implementation within their respective area. An Autism-Friendly Towns Coordinator, funded by SuperValu, will play a key role in mentoring interested communities to achieve their accreditation.

This role will guide each committee along the process and to ensure The Autism Friendly Town Commitment principles are being followed. Support will be assessed through a series of one-to-one calls, webinars and additional supports when/if required. We will also support towns by visiting your autism-friendly town committee once for in-person training. As part of the accreditation process AsIAm will make 3 visits to each participating town for your town launch, in-person committee training and adjudication. Additional visits can be arranged at a fee through the Autism Friendly Town’s Coordinator.

Registration is free for this initiative, however in order to fully implement a project of this nature, it is important to note that some costs may be incurred throughout this project. Autism friendly town committees will be required to fundraise for those expenses. To register your interest, please email We look forward to continuing the journey towards an autism-friendly Ireland with you.

Autism-Friendly Communities Portal

On our Webinars page you will find everything from notes to training to webinars that your community may find helpful.