National Centre For Autism Studies
In 2004 Professor Aline-Wendy Dunlop and Tommy MacKay launched the National Centre for Autism Studies (NCAS) at the University of Strathclyde. The Centre was founded to pursue:
- Excellence in teaching
- Excellence in practice
- Excellence in research.
Since then the National Centre for Autism Studies has made a significant impact on all of these areas. The multi-professional teaching programme at the University of Strathclyde is one of the largest autism training programmes in the UK and internationally. Through its campus and online courses it offers post-graduate training at Certificate, Diploma and Master’s level, and over recent years it has equipped hundreds of workers in the autism field from many different professions in supporting good practice.
NCAS was also responsible for producing the Autism Toolbox, a resource first published by the Scottish Government in 2009 to support good autism practice in Scottish Schools. From this an online resource has now been developed by the Scottish Government in collaboration with Scottish Autism and with help from Autism Network Scotland.
From its foundation NCAS has also made a central contribution to research. In its first year it carried out the research that led to the National Training Framework for Autistic Spectrum Disorders (MacKay & Dunlop, 2004). This has provided the scaffolding to support training for all professionals and from it has developed the NHS Education for Scotland Autism Training Framework.
A fourth strand of excellence was added to NCAS – excellence in knowledge exchange, with the founding of Autism Network Scotland, which provides a hub of impartial and reliable information about autism across Scotland.