Autism experts Daisy Chain have been awarded a licence to carry out early years autism training for the whole of the North East on behalf of the Autism Education Trust.

The aim of the training is to provide people working with young children an understanding of autism spectrum disorder and how best to work with youngsters who are affected.

Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice is the first organisation in the region to receive the first module of the training which raises awareness and understanding of autism for staff who work in an early years setting.

Lisa Collins, head of care at Zoe’s Place, explained: “We work with children from birth until five and much of that care is respite and palliative, not just end of life care as people often think. I was aware that we do have families whose children have autism as well as other conditions and I felt it was important we start to have a more specialist understanding of ASD.”

Families access Zoe’s Place for both day care and overnight respite with 35 children registered and Lisa wanted to ensure that the care the hospice provides is the very best it can be. “Often we are concentrating on the other conditions and caring for children with particular physical needs but we also need to be aware of autism and things that might distress the children such as bright lights or loud noises.

“The training from Daisy Chain has given us a real insight into autism which you don’t always have in general nursing. It means we can adapt our care where necessary, perhaps ensuring respite for a child with autism is offered on a quieter day, using visual aids to explain activities and being sure there is nothing in their day that might distress them.

“It’s also understanding that every child with autism is different and we need to know their very specific needs.”

As an autism specific charity established in 2003, Daisy Chain was chosen by the Autism Education Trust to deliver their three module early years programme to practitioners across the whole of the North East. Each module is aimed at different individuals within early years settings to give them the tools and knowledge to support children on the autistic spectrum.

Care team leader and trainer Pauline Wright, said: “It can make such a difference in the lives of those on the autistic spectrum if there is some understanding of their condition as a few modifications in an early years setting can make a huge difference in reducing anxiety, supporting development and hugely improving the quality of their experience.

“We were delighted that Zoe’s Place was the first early years setting to take the opportunity to improve the knowledge and awareness of clinical staff.”

There are three modules:

  • Module 1 – AET early years making sense of autism (90 minute course) which raises awareness of staff in all early years settings, whether or not they work directly with children on the autism spectrum.

  • Module 2 – AET early years food autism practice (2 day course) which supports all practitioners working directly with children on the autism spectrum.

  • Module 3 – AET early years leading good autism practice (1 day course). This is for those who may train or lead other staff in their early years setting, whether they personally work directly with young children on the autism spectrum or not. This helps them to lead staff in the understanding of autism and creating an outstanding early years setting.

Anyone interested in further information, available dates, costs or to book a place can contact the dedicated AET training team at Daisy Chain on 01642 531248 or email [email protected].

Daisy Chain and AET will also be running a conference on Thursday April 19 at the Mercure Darlington Kings Hotel in Darlington and can be booked online at