Communication and Autism Team

The Communication and Autism Team (CAT) provide support to children and young people, parents, carers, schools and academies in Birmingham. We are a team of specialist staff who work closely with settings to develop good autism practice through utilising the Autism Education Trust (AET) framework.

Ongoing support and advice, to settings, ensures that autistic children and young people can access learning and develop life skills that will enable them to fulfil their educational, social and employment potential. We have a specific offer to all local authority schools and academies, however, we will also work to support other settings where commissioned.

We work with children and young people with a diagnosis between the ages of 2 and 25 years. For those children and young people who do not yet have a diagnosis, there may be the opportunity to offer a level support where there is appropriate confirmation that they are on the diagnostic pathway.

Core Offer to all Birmingham Maintained Schools/Settings

All Birmingham maintained settings will be offered a number of core hours. 

To find out your setting’s core allocation of hours, please speak to your allocated CAT worker.


Post 16 Offer

We are currently working towards our new offer for Post 16 students.

Contact Us

Postal Address: PO Box 17843, Birmingham, B2 2JR.

Office Telephone: 0121 303 1792

For general CAT enquiries, please contact:

For Top Up and SLA enquiries and requests, please contact:

For enquiries from parents/ carers:

For enquiries about AET training, please contact:

The Communication and Autism Team  is a strategic partner with the Autism Education Trust.


The Autism Education Trust are a not-for-profit organisation helping to develop good autism practice since 2007 and are supported by the Department for Education. Their support programme offers education professionals training, practical tools, and a wealth of free resources to better support autistic children and young people aged 0 to 25.


The Autism Education Trust materials are based on current research into Autism and Education conducted by the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) at the University of Birmingham.


The ACER Good Autism Practice report can be found on this link: Good Autism Practice Guidance | Autism Education Trust

The report focuses on the 8 Principles of Good Autism Practice:


CAT work with settings strategically using the AET 8 Principles and the relevant Autism Standards and Competency Frameworks to improve their provision for autistic children and young people.

For a whole setting approach:

Early Years Standards Framework | Autism Education Trust

Schools Standards  Framework | Autism Education Trust

Post-16 Standards Framework | Autism Education Trust


For individuals working with an autistic child or young person:

Early Years Competency Framework | Autism Education Trust

Schools Competency Framework  | Autism Education Trust

Post-16 Competency Framework | Autism Education Trust

Autism Education Trust Training is available from CAT. You will find all courses advertised on the Courses tab on the Access To Education Website.


Making Sense of Autism – 1.5 hours in length for whole school staff to have a basic understanding and awareness of how autism may affect the children or young people they support.

“I am an autistic adult and I found the training very sensitive and appropriately framed.”


“The session was clear and informative and gave me a good insight into how children feel and what they experience. I will be using the strategies shared during the session to support the behaviour and learning of the children.”


Good Autism Practice – a one day course for staff who support autistic young people on a day to day basis e.g. teachers, teaching assistants.

I found the course extremely useful and relevant to some of the children at our school. I am looking forward to more of our staff receiving similar training soon. ‘The training really helped me to see things from an autistic person’s perspective.’


Leadership, Inclusion and Structural Reasonable Adjustments – a course for Head teachers, Principals and Senior Leaders in settings


These courses are available for staff from Early Years, School Age and Post 16 settings.

In addition, CAT offer the following AET training modules:

Introduction to the Progression Framework – half day training to help you use the Progression Framework to track social and emotional progress effectively.

We have already started using the AET framework but this training has helped me to understand how to use it more effectively


Autism and Anxiety – half day training to support and understand pupils with high anxiety due to their autism diagnosis.

Autism and Exclusion – half day training providing delegates with an idea as to what the key causes are of autistic children and young people being excluded from school, and how staff can prevent exclusion occurring or, when it does occur, provide support for the CYP’s successful return or transition on to their next placement.

Coming soon AET Post 16 Transition to Employment module.

CAT have extensive experience of working in partnership with professionals from a wide range of disciplines to support autistic children and young people.

We can be commissioned to deliver tailored training to teams across many sectors. The training we deliver maintains the central message of understanding Autism as a Difference rather than a Deficit and enables staff groups to consider ways of making their services more accessible to this group of children and young people. Some of the teams that we have previously delivered training to have included the fire service, police, social workers, residential Care workers, retail teams, prison workers, hospital staff, foster carers and G.P’s.  We work with schools and settings outside of the Birmingham Local Authority and those within Birmingham who are not maintained.

We are always happy to discuss how we can support colleagues working in other circumstances to maximise their ability to meet the needs of people with autism, so please do give us a call if you think we may be able to add to your team conversations around this topic.

Service Level Agreements

The CAT can be commissioned to provide bespoke packages of support for organisations needing advice and support around specific interventions and approaches for service users. We can support teams to adopt enabling approaches that are informed by an understanding and appreciation of life through an ‘Autism Lens’. Why not give us a call to discuss your specific service needs? We’d be happy to consider ways in which we could support you.

The types of support CAT offer through an SLA can include:

  • Personalised support for children/ young people
  • Specialist interventions for individuals and/or groups
  • Assistance with statutory work around Education, Heath and Care processes and assessments
  • Building on relationships with families to encourage engagement and confidence
  • An audit of staff to identify skills and training needs
  • Strategic and capacity building work using the Autism Education Trust (AET) standards & competencies
  • Training for all staff through the tiered AET programme

These are suggested way to support however packages can be tailored to meet your individual setting’s needs.

Contact Us

For SLA requests, please email completed form (below) to:

SLA Fees Request Form – April 2022-March 2023

If you would like to talk to the CAT lead for SLAs, please contact Michelle Davies at

Here we have included the forms we use at CAT for you to download by clicking on the links below.

Registration of young people with CAT must come only from the school or setting which they are attending. The form must be completed in full and emailed to the setting’s allocated CAT worker. If there is a formal diagnosis or one pending, proof must also be sent attached to the form.

CAT_PSS – Background Information Form

CAT_PSS_Parental Consent

CAT Training Module Request Form September 2021- March 22

The AET, National Autism Standards state “building effective relationships requires active listening… promoting opportunities for the exchange of information and ideas” – CAT knows that we are stronger when working together.

The Communication and Autism Team (CAT) recognise that parent/carers are fundamental to supporting the children and young people we work with.  CAT has always valued its relationship with families and actively seeks their participation and engagement by ensuring that a thread of parental support / voice runs throughout the work of this team.  Parental resilience and empowerment is key to promoting success and independence for their children and young people.  We also acknowledge the pressures and anxieties some parent/carers may face at times in parenting someone on the autism spectrum.

Parents/carers are the experts on their young person and offer great insight into their strengths and needs.  We know that working in collaboration is essential to listen to the ‘voice of the family’ and develop our practice accordingly.


Enquire with the SENCo at your child’s setting to get further information about how to secure a place on the course.     

CAT has established its own Parental Awareness Course (PAC). The topics and material were written in collaboration with parents.  Parents report increased confidence in advocating for their children and young people and feel more informed in accessing the right support in school.  The course provides an opportunity for families to learn more about autism, take home ideas and strategies to try at home and meet other parents and share experiences.  Free but places must be booked – 6 x weekly 2½hr sessions, offered termly at venues across the city (at least 4 per term).

Invite is usually through the CAT worker within school

  • Topics
    • Session 1 – An introduction to Autism
    • Session 2 – Social Communication and Interaction
    • Session 3 – Sensory Issues
    • Session 4 – Sleeping, Eating and Personal Hygiene
    • Session 5 – Anxiety, Behaviour and Managing Transitions
    • Session 6 – Autism and Birmingham

Schools / Settings – If you would like more information on delivering a CAT PAC within your setting please speak to your CAT worker. We offer a range of additional sessions tailored to emergent and current needs.

Parent drop in sessions

To find out about our parent drop in sessions make contact with your child’s allocated CAT worker or find out information about the current running groups, please email:

Documents and resources

Autism Education Trust Resources for Parents:

We are often asked at CAT – how do we know we have had an impact? Here we have included the feedback we have received from some of our courses.

“Everything was useful and exactly what I needed to know for my role. Very comprehensive.”
Delegate attending ‘AET Schools Good Autism Practice’

“You empowered me.”
Parent attending ‘CAT PAC’ Course

“Thank you so much for all your help and support with our staff. You truly are amazing at what you do; and we appreciate you so much!”
School Staff on a CAT Worker’s practice

“Two mice fell in a bucket of cream
The first quickly gave up and drowned
The Second never gave up, he ran so hard
And eventually turned the cream into
Butter and crawled it’s way out

Ladies and gentlemen as of now I am that second mouse”
Parent attending ‘CAT PAC’ Course

“The course was well presented and opened up good discussions. There was a good amount of material and it was well understood.”
Delegate attending ‘Early Years: The Sensory Child’

“Adam’s presentation was wonderful.”
Delegate attending ‘Understanding Behaviours that Challenge’

“This course enabled me to learn how to grow and gain experience on becoming a Lead Practitioner.”
Delegate attending ‘AET Schools Leading Good Autism Practice’

“The course was well presented and opened up good discussions. There was a good amount of material and it was well understood.”
Delegate attending ‘Early Years: The Sensory Child’

Courses and Resources