Aspens specialist support service is a comprehensive, professional, high-quality positive behaviour support provision for parents and carers of children and young people with Autism and related conditions who demonstrate challenging behaviour.**

** Please note that we are unable to support children/young people who suffer from extreme mental health disorders, such as psychosis, bipolar disorder and clinical depression.

The Aspens approach

Our approach combines functional assessments which enable us to understand different behaviours and tailor a bespoke strategy for each individual, always with a focus on helping them to develop their skills.


As a full cost service, a specialist support package can be commissioned by a county council, CAMHS, education or privately funded i.e. direct payments, PIP, DLA. Anyone can make a referral, though following receipt of a referral it may be necessary for an eligibility assessment.


A child/young person must:

  • Be under 25 years of age
    • Demonstrate traits of Autism and/or ADHD
    • Live in Sussex or Kent
    • Funding available

Referrals can come from a parent/carer or a professional involved with the child or young person. Following receipt of a referral, it may be necessary for someone to carry out a provisional needs assessment.

Areas we cover – Kent, West Sussex, Brighton & Hove and East Sussex.

Autism training programme

The Autism training programme at Aspens offers a wide range of introductory and specialist training in the field of ASC, learning difficulties and complex needs.  All our training is developed with a strong theoretical base but also benefits from our trainers’ extensive personal knowledge and experience.

  • Do you require an improved awareness and understanding of autism spectrum condition, learning difficulties and complex needs?
  • Would you like to improve your professional qualifications and experience?
  • Are you looking for practical strategies to use in your work?
  • Are you seeking to specialise in a specific area?

If you’d like to discuss Aspens training please see our programme LINK. If you do not see what you need please contact us LINK to discuss how we can help.

  • Autism – an overview
  • Autism – practical strategies and active aupport
  • The anxiety perspective
  • Positive behaviour support and active support
  • Understanding behaviour that challenges through functional assessments
  • Sexuality
  • Considering sensory needs
  • Total communication
  • Promoting independence and self-help skills
  • Motivational and creative learning
  • Social skills
  • Bereavement
  • Employment

Bespoke training

Aspens can tailor training to meet the needs of your organisation, delivered at a date and location convenient to you. Please email [email protected] or call 03454 500600


“Fantastic course, great activities, made me question my own thoughts and has given me lots if ideas for support”

“It was very interesting.  This is the first sensory training I have been on that has actually given great advice and practical strategies”

“The training was presented clearly and was very relevant.  Would definitely recommend”

“Worthwhile training, I really enjoyed the day”

Specialist Support Team

Aspens has a number of highly experienced, highly qualified family support advisors and engagement officers. If you’d like to speak to a family support advisor, contact:

Phone symbol 01243 214120

Email symbol [email protected]

You can also speak to one of our experienced specialists in the LIVE CHAT LINK at the bottom of the page Is this working and manned? Should we make more of it?

“The specialist team have a good understanding of my child’s condition, they are approachable, knowledgeable and professional”

Penny Piggott

Senior behaviour specialist and specialist support manager Penny has over 15 years’ experience working with ASC, children and adults. She has a background in Social Science with extended studies in Applied Behaviour Analysis and she is currently studying for a Masters in Applied Behavioural Analysis at Queens University, Belfast. Has she finished this? Penny is a sleep counsellor with Sleep Scotland LINK and a Positive Behaviour Support coach. Penny has delivered training to numerous schools, colleges, residential services, parents and a number of agencies.

“I love sharing my passion for teaching others the importance of understanding why different behaviours happen, strategies that can help and empowering individuals to make a difference.”

“I love sharing my passion for teaching others the importance of understanding why different behaviours happen, strategies that can help and empowering individuals to make a difference.”

“I love sharing my passion for teaching others the importance of understanding why different behaviours happen, strategies that can help and empowering individuals to make a difference.”

Cathryn Tinker

Cathryn has a Masters Degree in Autism Studies and four years’ experience of Applied Behaviour Analysis. She has worked in a primary school unit for children with severe Autism and has many years’ experience of leading various children’s groups and art groups for adults with special needs. Cathryn has delivered training to schools, DWP and foster carers.

“I deliver training on a wide range of aspects related to ASC. I like teaching others to think creatively, find solutions and think ‘outside the box’, to help with difficult issues or hard-to-reach individuals”

Lucy Russell
Lucy has a degree in Occupational Therapy and a Master’s degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis from Queens University, Belfast. She has a special interest and experience in working with children and adults with ASC and is also a trained ABA tutor. Lucy has extensive experience working with children and young adults with additional mental health difficulties. Lucy has delivered in-house training, external training to nurseries, schools, businesses and NHS teams.

“Training is such an important part of professional development. I have always enjoyed going on training courses and it is such a privilege to be able to deliver training and share my own knowledge and passion in the areas of practical support, sensory experiences and social skills”

Kate North
A member of the senior management team at Aspens, during her time at the charity Kate has managed residential services, day services and supported living. Kate has over 17 years’ experience supporting adults with learning disabilities, Autistic spectrum conditions, mental health needs, complex needs and challenging behaviours. She created Aspens’ Autism strategy and works closely with local authorities to ensure its implementation, as well as delivering Autism awareness and PBS (NAPPI) training. Kate has a degree in Special Education: Adults with Autism from Birmingham University and she is a Social Eyes Facilitator with the NAS

“I have a passion for involving the people who use our services, positive behaviour support and sensory processing needs.”

Chris Foster
Chris has 15 years’ experience working with adults with ASC and challenging behaviour. Chris has managed numerous services, from residential to day activities, and has facilitated Asperger Support and drama therapy groups. He has six years’ experience of working in a mainstream primary school, where he worked with children requiring specialist educational support on a voluntary basis. Chris is currently completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Autism at The Tizard Centre and he is a Positive Behaviour Support Coach. Chris specialises in anxiety.

“In prioritising communication, we immediately improve an individual’s quality of life, and we can relieve the frustration and anxiety of wanting to understand and be understood.”

Amelia Wilton
Amelia has over 20 years’ experience working with children and young people with complex needs and she specialises in working with people who are on the Autistic spectrum. Amelia is a specialist nursery nurse with a focus on child development and she works closely with parents and carers to help them implement strategies that will promote development and communication. She also delivers Autism spectrum- specific training to parents and professionals.

“I have a particular interest in speech, language and communication. I enjoy empowering children and young people by using augmentative and alternative communication systems.”