5 reasons we can’t wait for the NAS Professional Conference

As proud supporters of the National Autistic Society, Axcis are thrilled to sponsor both the event and an Autism Professionals Award, as well as speaking and exhibiting at the NAS Professional Conference, being held on the 7th and 8th March in Harrogate. Here are 5 reasons we can’t wait to go:

1. Great development opportunities

Expert speakers will present an overview of the changing environment and the latest developments in the field of autism. Hear the latest information from experts in the field and learn from case studies illustrating best practice. With four different seminar streams to choose from, delegates can select the seminars which are most relevant to their work.

2 Bear hunting!

Last years bear hunt was a great success

Last years bear hunt was a great success

Axcis are running a “bear hunt” at the awards – come and collect an entry form from our stand, locate the 7 Axcis Andy bears hidden around the conference centre, unscramble the letters they hold and tell us what the mystery word is to be in with a chance of winning £100 in shopping vouchers.

3. Selfie competition

Louise in London with Andy!

Come and snap a selfie at the Axcis stand and be in with a chance to win £200 in shopping vouchers.

Axcis are also running a selfie competition – when you stop by the stand to get your bear hunt form, why not snap a selfie with Andy and tweet us at the event to be in with a chance of winning £200 in shopping vouchers – that’s £300 in total up for grabs for those attending this event!

4. Autism Professionals Awards

On the evening of the 7th March, the National Autistic Society will hold their annual Autism Professionals Awards. Axcis are again proud to sponsor an award for Achievement by an Individual Education Professional. Shortlisted for this award are:

Jessica Kingsley, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Jessica-KingsleyJessica is the founder and publisher of Jessica Kingsley Publishers, which for over 20 years has focused on publishing positive, inspiring and informational books by, for and about people with autism, and the autism spectrum in general. She was the first publisher to see the need for positive information about Asperger’s Syndrome by families, teachers, clinicians and other professionals, as well as the wider public, and has travelled all over the world commissioning some of the leading writers in the field, many of them personal friends, including Luke Jackson, Tony Attwood, Kathy Hoopmann, and Wenn Lawson. With almost 800 books on autism now in print, JKP is highly respected as the `go-to’ autism publisher, and the reward for dedicated service to the autism community comes in the form of incredibly positive feedback from readers about the difference the books have made to their lives. Jessica believes passionately in the power of good information to change lives for the better.

Dr Judith Poole, Blackpool and The Fylde College

Judith-PooleJudith has had over 25 years of experience in Further and Higher Education.  She is also active on the national stage, presenting not only in the area of Autism awareness and how best to support people with autism to be the best they can be, but also Safeguarding, SEND, Equality and Diversity and Mental Health and Wellbeing. Judith is currently Head of Student Support and Wellbeing, at Blackpool and The Fylde College –  spearheading  a specialist Autism team both for the support of students and for the provision of staff development. Year on year the service achieves outstanding results for students with disabilities, learning difficulties and differences – working closely with national and local government and other external organisations, including The Autism Education Trust  for whom she leads the North  West Regional Training Hub for Post 16 provision.

Shannon Coles, STARS

Shannon-ColesShannon has been working with children with autism for over forty years, initially as a teacher in special schools but more recently as an outreach teacher and Autism Education Trust trainer with STARS, a Leeds Children’s Services outreach team. Shannon is now retired, but still involved with families who have ‘slipped through the net’ for one reason or another, and with a monthly social group for young people with Asperger’s.

We can’t wait to present the award to the winner on the night – good luck to all three nominees!

5. Fantastic Networking Opportunities

As always, the NAS Professional Conference will provide unparalleled networking opportunities. Whether it’s talking to peers about best practice, or hunting out speakers after their seminars for further advice or questions, you are sure to have many useful and productive conversations during your time at the conference!

How to book a place

If you’d like to book a place at this event, please visit the NAS webpage for further details.

Posted in NAS and Network Autism, News, Training & Events

Axcis Andy Selfie Giveaway. Come and find us at these events for a chance to win £200 in shopping vouchers.

Throughout February and March, Axcis are thrilled to be sponsoring a range of conferences and events in the world of SEND. Come and find us on the Axcis stand, take a selfie with Andy, our loveable mascot, and you could be in with a chance to win £200 in shopping vouchers. Find out more and how to enter here.

How to enter – it’s as easy as 1,2,3!

  1. Find us at the Axcis stand at selected upcoming events*
  2. Take a selfie with Axcis Andy
  3. Tweet us @Axcis using the # provided at our stand (each event will have it’s own unique #)


Louise in London with Andy!

Hi @Axcis – here’s my Andy selfie! #Eventhashtag


Eligible events are as follows:

A winner will be selected at random after the final event on the 21st March. The winner will be announced on our social media pages. Terms and conditions apply.

Are you looking for SEND work?

If you are seeking work in a specialist or mainstream school and you’re not already registered with Axcis, why not do it today? Registration is free, simple and takes just 5 to 10 mins. Once registered, you will be matched immediately to suitable vacancies in your area. What do you have to lose?

Register with Axcis now!


Posted in Giveaways, Training & Events

Half term break checklist for supply staff – 3 important things to remember

Agency staff are particularly vulnerable to dry spells when it comes to being offered work. That’s why we thought we’d share these 3 key tips to make sure you are making the most of the school holiday and getting yourself ready for when schools go back.

1 – Keep the work flowing

Axcis for SEND work

Have a “super” half term, but, don’t forget to put a call in to your consultant for a catch-up!

If you’ve had a busy half term going into schools and covering for days, weeks or even the whole term so far, then you may not be too worried about whether you’ll continue to keep working once school goes back. However, supply work can be a fickle beast, and you should never become complacent about what you need to do in order to keep the phone ringing with offers of assignments. Some useful things you can do during half term are:


  • Touch base with your consultant – make sure they are 100% clear on your availability in the coming weeks, and that this is reflected in your file and online supply diary.
  • Check that no paperwork is outstanding. If an item of your compliance paperwork becomes out of date then the flow of work could stop abruptly – so double check with your agency that this will not hold you back, and action anything of importance while the schools are on down-time.
  • Update your CV and references. This one is really important because you may have acquired key skills or knowledge during the last half term which are not currently reflected on your CV. Can you afford to under-sell yourself in a competitive job market? Or to miss out on the fantastic comments that your last school may make about you on your latest reference?


2 – Make sure your pay arrangements are up to date

Hopefully, you are organised and won’t have any pay outstanding from the last half term. However, school holidays are a great time for checking through your work diary and comparing to your pay slips to check that you are not missing payment for any work completed. If you spot any errors, speak to your consultant or payroll company who should be able to assist you.


Now is also a good time to print off some timesheets and check that you are ready to face the new half term. There is nothing more annoying than getting to the end of the working day and realising that you have no timesheets in your bag to get your work signed off, so print some out and add them to your school bag. Fortunately, most Axcis schools use our online system, but it’s still a good idea to carry some paper timesheets with you anyway.

3 – Update your resource kit

Supply staff sometimes have to rely quite heavily on their own resources. This could be because the usual class teacher has been called away for unforeseen reasons and work has yet to be set. Or it could be simply because you have some bright sparks in your group who have already completed the work which was left by the usual teacher. Whatever the reason, it is essential that supply teachers carry a range of worksheets and activities so that they are not caught out. Axcis has lots of useful SEND resources, so why not see what we’ve added in the last half term and bump up your kit for when you go back to school?

Refer a friend to Axcis

Refer friends to Axcis and earn up to £250 in shopping vouchers – Andy is off shopping, are you?

Already done these things? Then how about referring friends to us?

If you are super organised and already have all these things in hand, why not speak to your friends or put a shout out on Facebook to see if anyone you know is looking for SEND teaching or support work? Axcis runs a fantastic referral scheme which could help keep you quids-in when supply work goes quiet. Here’s how it works:


  1. Send Axcis the name and contact information for any friends who are seeking work
  2. If they register and start work, once they complete 20 days, you will receive:
  • £100 shopping vouchers for your first referral
  • £150 shopping vouchers for your second referral
  • £200 shopping vouchers for your third referral
  • £250 shopping vouchers for your fourth and any further referrals*


That’s £700 in shopping vouchers if you refer 4 friends to us!


*Term and conditions apply



Posted in Axcis contractor resources

5 Things you didn’t know about… Alex (Axcis London)

Take a 5 minute break and enjoy finding out something you didn’t know about your Axcis Consultant, from what scares them, to the best place they’ve ever been and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Alex from Axcis London answers these questions and more here.

5 things you didn’t know about… Alex

  1. Alex, Consultant for Axcis London

    Alex, Consultant for Axcis London

    Tell us something about yourself that people don’t usually know

    • I’m a former Countdown Champion (how’s that for you?!)
  2. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
    • Going on stage for the first time in front of a sold out theatre
  3. What’s the best place you’ve ever been?
    • Burning Man Festival, Nevada Desert, US and Tulum in Mexico
  4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
    • Honestly, a professional football player
  5. If you weren’t working for Axcis, what would you be doing?
    • Sports journalist, I am qualified!


So, there you have it – Alex is a wordsmith and number whizz who can act, talk sport and knows how to have a good time – if you want to work with this interesting guy, find out more below:


Alex covers the following areas for Axcis London: Surrey, Kingston, Ealing, Croydon and Hounslow. At the moment, he is in particular need of support staff with an autism or care background to work in a special school in Ealing.  If you would be interested or know anyone else who might be (we run a generous refer-a-friend scheme), then why not get in touch with Alex or register today?

Posted in Individuals, Meet The Axcis Team

Axcis SEND resources overview

Support and professional development is important to us here at Axcis – that’s why we  work hard to bring you useful resources and training guides to support your professional practice. Here is a summary of our SEND resources – all completely FREE for you to use.

SEND resources Axcis training

Your professional development is important to us – find our what SEND resources we have for you here.

ADHD resources

Autism (ASD) resources

Attachment disorder resources

Chromosomal disorders resources

Down’s Syndrome resources

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASD) resources

Fragile X Syndrome resources

General SEND resources



Premature birth resources


Sensory Impairment resources

Smoking/Drug use during pregnancy resources

Social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) resources

Register with Axcis and become connected to a network of special and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a network of special and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Specific learning difficulties resources

Are you looking for SEND work?

If you are seeking work in a specialist or mainstream school and you’re not already registered with Axcis, why not do it today? Registration is free, simple and takes just 5 to 10 mins. Once registered, you will be matched immediately to suitable vacancies in your area. What do you have to lose?

Register with Axcis now!

Posted in News, SEND Resources Tagged with: ,

Special Needs Teaching Assistant Job Profile

What does a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) teaching assistant do? How many hours a week do they work? What do they get paid and what qualifications and experience do you need to find this sort of job?

Register with Axcis and become connected to a network of special and mainstream schools in your area for work.

Register with Axcis and become connected to a network of special and mainstream schools in your area for work.

What does a SEND teaching assistant do?

Special needs teaching assistants help children with a range of learning, physical or behavioural difficulties. You may work in a special school that supports children with a range of moderate, severe or complex special educational needs, or with an individual pupil or small group of pupils in a mainstream class. You could have a different job title, such as special needs classroom assistant, learning support assistant, support worker or special needs assistant.

As a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) teaching assistant, you may work with children who have:

  • mild to moderate learning difficulties (MLD)
  • specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia (SPLD)
  • physical disabilities (PD)
  • hearing or visual impairment (HI, VI)
  • social, emotional or mental health issues (SEMH)

Typically, your job will involve:

  • helping with school work alongside the teacher
  • preparing learning materials, usually adapted from the teachers plans to suit the pupil(s) you work with
  • encouraging children to be confident and independent
  • helping children to understand instructions
  • contributing to a child’s care plan (education, social, behaviour and personal)
  • encouraging children to communicate, sometimes using non-verbal means of communication such as Makaton or PECs
  • supporting children during social activities and outings
  • helping children during therapy sessions
  • recognising when children are upset and comforting them
  • looking after children’s physical needs
Previous Axcis Team Teach courses have been a great success

Teaching Assistants at Axcis receiving certificates at one of our Team Teach training courses.

Hours and Pay

You would usually work school hours, Monday to Friday, during term-time. However, many teaching assistants work part-time. You may sometimes go to training and meetings outside school hours. Some special schools are residential. If you work as a teaching assistant in this type of school, you may have to work a mixture of shifts covering seven days a week.


Salaries for full-time teaching assistants can be from £12,000 to over £17,000 a year. Salaries for full-time Higher Level Teaching Assistants can be between £16,000 and £22,000 a year. This varies depending on the Local Education Authority (LEA) and the responsibilities of individual jobs. Wage rates are set by each LEA or school. Teaching assistants who work part-time and/or paid term-time only would earn a portion of full-time rates (known as ‘pro rata’ payment).

What qualifications and experience do you need?

LEAs and individual schools decide which qualifications and experience they want applicants to have. You can get an idea of what you are likely to need by looking at jobs advertised locally or by checking your LEA’s vacancies online. You would normally need some experience of working with children or young people with disabilities or learning difficulties for this type of work. A useful way to gain experience is to volunteer to help in a local school for a few hours a week, or by signing up with a supply agency.


Although not all teaching assistants require official qualifications, there are some useful courses available through local colleges, which can help to prepare you for this type of work and are also useful if you have just started in a job, for example as a volunteer. These include:


  • Level 2 Award in Support Work in Schools
  • Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People’s Workforce
  • Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools.


You will also need qualifications in literacy and numeracy at GCSE level or equivalent, especially for paid work. If you want to work with pupils with a hearing impairment you may need a sign language qualification at stage 1 or higher, for instance the Certificate in British Sign Language. Depending on what work you undertake, you may also need to do training courses such as Makaton, PECs, Team Teach, Moving and Handling etc. At Axcis, we offer many of these courses so can point you in the right direction if you’d like to do one.


SEND teaching assistant jobs with Axcis

At Axcis, we can help you to find a SEND teaching assistant post. Even if you have no experience in this field, if you are looking to move into this part of the sector, we can provide advice, training and support to smooth the transition. So why not register or get in touch today to find out how Axcis can help?

Useful Links

Signature (Opens new window)
Tel: 0191 383 1155
Text: 07974 121594

Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB)

Tel: 0303 123 9999


The Makaton Charity


Posted in Axcis contractor resources, Candidates, News

This is why we are so proud of our staff here at Axcis

Axcis Liverpool Consultant Craig is set to take part in a boxing match to support Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity on the 24th February 2017. Find out more about the event, as well as why he is taking part here.

Why he’s doing the event


Craig Brogan – Axcis Consultant

In Craig’s own words:


A friend I have known since I was 13, his granddad was diagnosed with having blood cancer and was told that without specific surgery which would cost £15000 he would die. The family put in as much as they could and the Anthony Nolan charity made the difference and provided the treatment. He is now in remission and is doing great. This family were like a second family to me growing up and we stayed in his nan and granddads most weekends so they have been a big part of my life growing up.

Do you want to support Craig?

Here is the fundraising link for Craig’s event


The event is on the 24th February at Fusion Bar in Liverpool city centre, tickets start from £25 for a standard ticket, £35 per head for a table of 6 ringside or £50 per head for a booth.

How is Craig preparing for this event?


Craig is training 5 nights a week to prepare – support him by sponsoring this event today! Credit Flickr CC

Anyone familiar with boxing will know that you need to be fit! And quick, and strong, and resilient (among other things) to take part. And Craig isn’t taking this laying down! Here’s how he’s preparing for the big night:

I am doing boxing training 3 times per week Monday, Wednesday and Friday and running on Tuesdays and Thursdays to prepare for the fight.


That’s a lot of training! If you’d like to support Craig, please donate to this worthwhile cause today!

Work with Craig – are you looking for a job in the Liverpool area?

If you’re looking for teaching or school support work in the Liverpool area, why not get in touch with Craig today, or register via our website? Or if you’re not looking for work, but know someone else who is, why not refer them to us? You can earn up to £250 for each successful referral, so you’ll be rewarded as well as helping a friend to find work – what do you have to lose?



Posted in News

Exclusive! Over 75% off NAS online autism courses for Axcis staff

As proud sponsors of the National Autistic Society, Axcis are thrilled to offer a range of NAS online autism training courses to compliment the professional development of our teachers and support staff. Find out more about what courses are on offer, how to sign up and what you’ll learn here.

Axcis NAS

Axcis staff assisting on an NAS stand as part of their “Too Much Information” campaign. We are pleased to support such a fantastic charity.

Ask autism online training from The National Autistic Society

This suite of online training modules focuses on helping frontline professionals develop a better understanding of autism and gain confidence in interacting with people on the autism spectrum. The training modules are uniquely developed and delivered by people on the autism spectrum. They provide an ‘insider’s’ perspective of autism to give you a unique understanding of how people on the autism spectrum would like to be understood and supported. Who are the Ask autism online training modules for? The training is for anyone who has contact with people on the autism spectrum as part of their daily activities; whether as colleagues, clients, patients or members of the public. What is included in each module? Each module takes between 40-90 minutes to complete and has a range of interactive features including: pre- and post-course assessments, film clips, exercises and scenario based learning, and printable information sheets.

What modules are available?

1 – Understanding autism

This module provides perspectives from people on the autism spectrum about how autism is defined and experienced. The module will enable learners to recognise the strengths and challenges experienced by many people on the autism spectrum and how to respond to create enabling environments.

2 – Autism and communication


Increase your autism awareness through these fantastic online training courses courtesy of our partners at NAS. Credit Flickr CC

This module explores recognising communication differences for people on the autism spectrum and what factors impact upon successful communication. This will allow learners to respond to communication differences to effectively support people on the autism spectrum.

3 – Autism and sensory experience

This module explores how people respond to information from the senses and how this can be experienced differently by people on the autism spectrum. Learners will be better able to recognise the impact of these differences for people on the autism spectrum and how to respond to sensory needs to provide effective support.

4 – Autism, stress, and anxiety

This module explores the differences in how people on the autism spectrum experience stress and anxiety. Learners will explore the factors that impact on stress and anxiety, in order to provide effective support to reduce that impact on people on the autism spectrum.


Supporting families – gain effective approaches for supporting those on the spectrum in your family with this module. Credit Flickr CC

5 – Autism: supporting families

This module explores providing support for people on the autism spectrum and their families. Learners will discover the experiences of families, consider common difficulties and acquire effective approaches for support

Exclusive offer – over 75% off for Axcis staff

These modules are usually charged at £25 + VAT each, but Axcis is able to offer these fantastic courses at just a fraction of that price. This is because we are the single biggest corporate sponsor of the NAS and we work together on lots of initiatives, giving us access to these online modules for just £6 +VAT each. Simply contact Gary (Gary@axcis.co.uk) and let him know which module you’d like to book.

Book your module for only £6 with Axcis today

Why these courses enhance your employment prospects

“If every new member of agency staff who came to work with us had done this course, it would be extremely beneficial to us. I thought it engaged with all the key points you would want a new member of staff to take onboard.” Ralph Simmonds, Hackney Council

Are you seeking teaching or support work?

Register with Axcis and become connected to a network of special and mainstream schools in your area for work. If you are looking for school based work and are not already registered with Axcis, why not get in touch or register today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area, so if you need work, why not register now? It’s free and takes just a few minutes – what do you have to lose?

Posted in Axcis contractor resources, Candidates, NAS and Network Autism, News, Training & Events

Axcis February Giveaway: My Social Stories Book

Win a copy of this popular book in the Axcis February Giveaway

Win a copy of this popular book in the Axcis February Giveaway

The Axcis February Giveaway is to win a copy of the ever popular book “My Social Stories” by Carol Grey and Abbie Leigh White. Find out more about this fantastic book here, as well as how to enter our FREE Giveaway.

About this prize

Over the last decade, Carol Gray’s Social Stories approach has become established as a highly effective way of teaching social and life skills to children on the autism spectrum. Taking the form of short narratives, the Stories in My Social Stories Book take children step by step through basic activities such as brushing your teeth, taking a bath and getting used to new clothes. It also helps children to understand different experiences such as going to school, shopping and visiting the doctor. These stories are written for preschoolers aged from two to six, and the book is a useful primer for all young children – but most especially those on the autism spectrum.


My Social Stories Book contains over 150 Stories, and is illustrated throughout with line drawings by Sean McAndrew, which form a visual counterpart to the text. A helpful introduction explains to parents and carers how to get the most out of the book.

How to enter the Axcis February Giveaway

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this great prize, why not enter our giveaway? all you need to do is follow THIS LINK and select how you’d like to enter. It takes just a few seconds and is entirely FREE of charge. So why not take a peek now and get yourself entered into this month’s Axcis Giveaway?

Register today and work for Axcis

If you’re not already registered with Axcis, but would like to seek a SEND teaching or support position, why not get in touch or register with Axcis today and find out how we can assist you? We have offices nationwide and a team of expert consultants who have proven relationships with specialist and mainstream schools in your area, so if you need work, why not register now?


Terms and Conditions are applicable to all giveaway entrants.

Posted in Giveaways, News

World Autism Awareness Week at School, proudly sponsored by Axcis

From 27 March to 2 April, it is World Autism Awareness Week at School, proudly sponsored by Axcis. Teach your students about autism, fundraise for autistic people and spread the word with free resources like lesson plans, activites and ideas packs, courtesy of our partners at the National Autistic Society! Download your fundraising pack today.

Axcis NAS

Axcis staff assisting on an NAS stand as part of their “Too Much Information” campaign.

About Axcis and the NAS

Axcis has been in partnership with the NAS since 2011, and we are proud to be their single biggest corporate sponsor. Since the start of this relationship, we have worked together on a range of initiatives, from developing FREE online webinars about autism, to live Twitter chats with top autism researchers and professionals as well as many training events, seminars and conferences. Axcis also sponsors Network Autism, the NAS’s vital online service created to bring autism professionals together across over 12 professional sectors and from 90 countries. In 2015, NAS also launched their MyWorld campaign with the support of Axcis Education to enhance autism awareness, training and resources in schools. Axcis have become a regular fixture at the NAS Professional Conference,  which we are thrilled to support and sponsor. Axcis also sponsor an “Autism Professionals Award” to recognise the fantastic work being done to support those on the spectrum. We are extremely proud of this partnership with the NAS and hope that it will continue for many years to come.

About World Autism Awareness Week at School

World Autism Awareness Week at School is part of the wider “World Autism Awareness Week” initiative being run by our friends at NAS. The idea is to get people talking about this condition and exploring how they can expand their own knowledge, as well as su

We love raising money for charity here at Axcis!

Last year’s Onesie Wednesday was a great success!

porting those around them with the condition. Last year, the Axcis team got involved by doing some charity collections, taking part in the ever-popular “Onesie Wednesday” and helping to spread awareness through our online marketing campaigns. We are pleased to support this worthwhile event which is so relevant to the many schools we work with across the UK. If you haven’t taken part before, why not explore the resources on offer and make an effort to get involved this year?

How teachers and students can get involved

Schools’ Autism Awareness Week invites teachers and pupils to:


  • learn about autism using fun, imaginative lessons, activities and assemblies that are level-specific
  • plan and take part in amazing fundraising activities
  • help spread the word about why it’s so important to understand and accept autism.

Free teacher resource packs

Don’t forget to download a free teacher resource pack too. Each pack is level-specific, and contains teacher guidance, lesson and assembly plans, presentations and activities to help you improve understanding of autism at school.

England  Wales Scotland  Northern Ireland  Download resources
EYFS Foundation Nursery+P1 Year 1-2 Pack (English/Welsh)

PowerPoint (English/Welsh)

KS1-Lower KS2 Foundation P2-3 Year 3-4 Pack (English/Welsh)

PowerPoint (English/Welsh)

KS2 KS2 P4-7 Year 5-7 Pack (English/Welsh)
KS3-4 KS3-4 S1-3 Year 8-10 Pack (English/Welsh)

PowerPoint (English/Welsh)

KS4 KS4 S4-6 Year 11-12 Pack (English/Welsh)



Are you looking for SEND teaching or support work?

As the leading provider of special educational needs and disability staff to mainstream and specialist schools, Axcis are in a brilliant position to help you. Why not register or take a look at our jobs page today? Or if you don’t need work, but know someone else who does, why not refer them to us? We run a generous refer a friend scheme, so you’ll be well looked after as well as being able to help a friend out! What do you have to lose?

Posted in NAS and Network Autism, News