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Guidelines

Working with autism - best practice guidelines for psychologists

18 August 2021

This best practice guidance is for practitioner psychologists who work with people with autism and their families and carers.

Due to wide diversity within the autistic population (in terms of how autism presents and the level of individual needs), the guidance has attempted to be as broad in its application as possible. It does not support any particular theoretical or therapeutic approach.

This BPS guidance is centred on the importance of involving individuals with autism in the decision making process about their assessment and the approaches taken.

It recognises the importance of involving parents/carers and indeed the whole family in this process and that family systems and dynamics can vary greatly.

It focuses on the role of psychologists as practitioners, in understanding these issues and supporting others in adjusting what approaches are offered.

The important role of psychologists as drivers of change within a system or service, the commissioning processes and as contributors to a multidisciplinary approach and to research, is also included.

The guidance covers the many different contexts in which psychologists work – including with children and young people, with adults and older adults, in education, health, social care, employment and in criminal justice settings.

This guidance was prepared by the Autism Task and Finish Group, under the auspices of the Practice Board. A widespread consultation on a draft document was conducted and the finalised guidance incorporates many of the resulting revisions and suggested text.

In keeping with BPS policy, the document will undergo a light review touch 2.5 years following publication and a full review after 5 years.

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