Why do you have training products and services aimed at professionals?

There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK. By changing the attitudes, understanding and practice of professionals we can help to make society work for autistic people. We do this by providing opportunities for professionals to access information and continued professional development through our training and conferences. Our training is created alongside autistic people, giving a strong autistic voice to the information we share. 

Find out more about what we offer to professionals.

About speakers

Do you always include autistic speakers and expertise?

Yes, our conferences always have a mixture of autistic and non-autistic speakers, helping our attendees to get a strong understanding of the topics covered. Autistic people are invited to speak about their own experience and many of the autism professionals speaking at our conferences are autistic or have other personal connections to autism.

Fees for speakers

Many speakers are in employment and so we don’t pay them a fee, as speaking at the conference is part of their job. We do pay other speakers, for instance where they are freelancers or unemployed.

The fees will vary depending on the person’s usual fee, and on the subject and budget for the event and the experience of the speaker. 

We are deeply grateful when our speakers choose not to be paid, because they feel our events give them an opportunity to share their work or experiences with our delegates. 

We cover all our speakers’ travel and accommodation expenses where required.

Do you pay autistic speakers?

Yes we pay all autistic speakers – and family members – who we invite to speak at our conferences. We only wouldn’t pay if they are employed and speaking as part of their job or if they choose not to take a fee. 

We offer a minimum fee of £100. As with all speakers, autistic speakers’ fees can vary. 

In addition, all speakers have free entry to the conference on the day they are speaking and we pay all travel and accommodation expenses. 

If someone needs a support worker to come with them to the conference, then they are also of course allowed to attend the conference for free and we pay their expenses too. 

We are very grateful when people choose not to be paid a fee as this means we can use those funds for free services like our helpline, our information and guidance, our branches and our policy and campaigns. However, this is absolutely not the expectation and we are now making sure that all autistic speakers are always offered a fee, unless they are in employment and speaking as part of their job. 

About the prices to attend our conferences

How do you decide how much your conference tickets cost?

The prices of our conferences reflect the fact that we ensure they include an outstanding programme, speakers and venues. They get very positive feedback from delegates and we know they are good value for money compared to events of similar quality.

Although the funds we generate from conferences are usually small, we need conferences to generate income to help us pay for free services like our helpline, online community and maintaining up-to-date and reliable information pages on our website, as well as our policy and campaigning work. 

Can autistic people or their families attend?

Of course. Many people coming to our conferences as professionals are autistic or have a family connection to autism. Also, at most of our conferences, we offer a discounted rate for autistic people, parents and carers in order to ensure they can attend. This rate covers the running costs for the conference.

You need to email conference@nas.org.uk or phone 0115 911 3367 to get a link to book your place at the discounted rate.

We also offer a range of online training. At present, anyone can use free modules on Managing Money, Women and Girls, and Finding Work (coming soon). 

Why do I need to email or call to access a link to pay at a discounted rate? 

We want our conferences to improve professionals’ autism practice and understanding. We also want to make our conferences as accessible as possible – that is why we have a discounted rate for autistic people, parents and carers.

Previously this rate has been misused by some people paying via their work. So we have changed our process to avoid this in the future. We are currently testing this new method of using a discounted rate booking link.

You need to email conference@nas.org.uk or phone 0115 911 3367 to get a link to book your place at the discounted rate.

Can you reduce the price of tickets by getting places funded?

We do approach organisations to see if they will help fund reduced price places at our conferences where possible. In 2018 we ran our technology conference with all free places, thanks to sponsorship by the International Foundation of Applied Disability Research (FIRAH).

Can I view the resources from the conference without attending? We live tweet our conferences, using our Network Autism account. We encourage delegates to also join in tweeting should they wish, meaning that the conference’s hashtag offers a strong insight into the day. 

We also share many presentations, articles and interviews from our speakers after conferences on Network Autism. Network Autism is our dedicated website of professional autism content – and anyone can sign up for free.

Accessibility

How do you choose the location of your conferences?

We try to hold our conferences at locations that are easy to get to from across the UK. In the last year we have had conferences in Bristol, Leeds, London, Manchester, Birmingham and Reading. Check our list of upcoming conferencesto see which ones are near you.

Accessibility arrangements We want autistic and disabled people to be able to come to our conferences as easily as anyone else. We offer adjustments like early registration and a site tour, interaction badges and a quiet room. 

We also have reserved seats that are more spread out or near the exits for delegates that need them. Or, if delegates prefer, we can arrange for seats to be reserved in a particular position so that if you need to leave your chair, you can return to it at a later point.