Supporting Offenders with Learning Disabilities (SOLD) Network publish first e-zine

The Supporting Offenders with Learning Disabilities (SOLD) network has received funds from the Scottish Government Community Justice Department to support their work over a three-year period. The funds received are a significant step forward in helping the network to meet its aim of reducing offending and improving support for offenders with learning disabilities.

ARC Scotland facilitates the Supporting Offenders with Learning Disabilities Network which was established in 2012. Members recently discussed how the network can positively influence outcomes for persons with learning disabilities who come to the attention of the criminal justice system. 

SOLD have now published their first e-zine, which you can read by clicking here.

National Autism Coordination Project Manager Role

The Scottish Government has established the National Autism Coordination Project to coordinate support for those on the Autistic spectrum across Scotland. The Project Manager will support the National Lead Co-ordinator in improving local services and support for those on the spectrum and their families and in fulfilling the goals and recommendations in the Scottish Strategy for Autism.

The successful applicant will be required, in collaboration with colleagues, to lead on the development and implementation of National Autism Co-ordination through a variety of initiatives and disseminate both results and good practice to a range of stakeholders. They will have demonstrable project management skills and the ability to work at a national level. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are essential as is the ability to demonstrate problem solving ability and respond to changing demands.

For a full job description click here. To make an application, visit the University of Strathclyde website.

Funding Available for Open University Course ‘Understanding the Autism Spectrum’

The Scottish Government is working in partnership with the Open University on a new training initiative, providing free places to selected individuals on an OU autism course.


The Scottish Strategy for Autism was launched in November 2011 to ensure people with autism and their families are supported by the widest possible range of social care, education, housing, employment and other community based services.


Almost 3 years into our 10 year strategy we are making good progress towards delivering the goals of the strategy. There is still much to do but we are beginning to make a difference to the lives of people with autism by improving support services available to people who need them.


The Scottish Government Autism Reference Group, tasked with implementing the Scottish Strategy for Autism, sees education for those who work with and care for people on the autism spectrum as a vital part of their initiative to improve the lives of people with autism and their families.


That is why, for the third year running, we are providing funding for up to 170professionals, carers and other individuals with a special interest in autism to study the Open University Course ‘Understanding the Autism Spectrum’. Funding will be offered FREE to students in Scotland as part of the £13.4m autism fund to implement the strategy.


This initiative will make a real impact in delivering the strategy. Through this training we will increase the understanding of autism, and help to ensure that people on the spectrum have access to professionals within autism services which understand and are able to meet the needs of people with autism.


The course starts at the beginning of November 2014 and lasts for 20 weeks. Study materials include a textbook authored by the course team and a DVD. All other elements of the course, including assessments are delivered online. For further information see: 


To apply for a place on ‘SK124 Understanding the Autism Spectrum’ within the Scottish Government funded scheme, please follow this link and complete the form: 


The deadline to be considered for a funded place is 30 June 2014 and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis to those in the target groups. Please do not use the standard Open University registration system provided via the course website if you are seeking to register within this funded scheme.

A Message from Prof. Tommy MacKay on the Scottish Autism Questionnaire

I am leading a major project funded by the Scottish Government through Scottish Autism, as part of the Scottish Strategy for Autism, and aimed at improving service provision throughout Scotland for those with ASD.


I am sure you are often asked to fill in a questionnaire – but this one is particularly important for all people who are on the autism spectrum or who care for someone who is on the spectrum. The only way we can do this is to gather our information very carefully, and we hope you will be willing to spend a little time to help us with this.


All of the information you provide will be used anonymously, and you will not be contacted by us for further information unless you say you would be willing for that to happen.


Our research team is as follows:


At the University of Strathclyde:
Professor Tommy MacKay
Professor Jim Boyle
Michael Connolly


At London School of Economics:
Professor Martin Knapp
Valentina Iemmi


Click here for more detailed information on this questionnaire.


Click here to complete the questionnaire. (Survey has closed)


The questionnaire should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete.


If you would prefer to recieve a hard copy of the questionnaire we would be happy to send you one. To request a hard copy, please contact research assistant, Michael Connolly, via email or by calling 07437 404303.

With many thanks,


Professor Tommy MacKay

The Autism Toolbox Website


 The Autism Toolbox website was launched at Grangemouth High School by Learning Minister Alasdair Allan on the 29th of April.  

The new website is accessible at and offers guidance to help teachers working with pupils with autism. The updated resource has been developed online by the Scottish Government and Scottish Autism, with support from Autism Network Scotland in response to teacher feedback that a more accessible system would work better. Recent studies suggest that around one in 100 UK pupils will be somewhere on the autism spectrum therefore,all schools should be prepared to offer additional support in class.

Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan said:

“The support a pupil with autism needs is likely to change as they get older and, while there may be common features in the teaching approach, this guidance recognises that every child with autism is unique. 

“The toolbox will help managers and teachers review their practice as well as providing advice on building relationships with parents and carers to create an inclusive environment that allows all pupils to learn and thrive.”