Education, support and research for early years autism

Training Courses and Conferences

Puzzle Centre is committed to disseminating best practice in early intervention and education for young children with autism and communication difficulties.

We provide training workshops onsite for families and professionals throughout the year on a variety of methods and approaches used at the centre including SCERTS, as well as providing early year autism off-site training as partners of the Autism Education Trust’s South East Training Hub.


Please see below a full list of the training courses and workshops available currently through Puzzle Centre.

Forthcoming workshop and training courses available:

Puzzle Centre delivers Early Years Autism Training across South East via AET Training Hub

Open Day

A morning visit to see the work of Puzzle Centre

 4th July 2019  book

Communication and Play

Connecting and communicating with your child through play – suitable for parents and practitioners who are working with children with autism and other communication needs

6th July 2019 book

Summer Holiday Course

Developing your child’s Attention and Language Skills

Learn key strategies to enhance your child’s core skills in a small group setting. The sessions will be informal and fun!

4 consecutive sessions

12th-15th August 2019  book

Introduction to Sensory Processing

This course will help you to understand why and how sensory processing differences affect a child’s participation, learning and behaviour.

You will be given an overview of sensory processing theory and behavioural indicators which may suggest sensory processing differences.

5th October 2019 book

2 Day SCERTS workshop.

An introduction to SCERTS and next steps.

This 2 day workshop is being held in partnership with Emily Rubin.

15th & 16th October book

AET – Developing Good Autism Practice

Develop your knowledge and understanding of good autism practice and increased awareness of guidelines and activities to improve practice.

Be able to self-evaluate using the AET early years autism competency framework

 6th November 2019  book

Understanding Behaviour

What leads to inappropriate behaviour and how to manage it – suitable for parents and practitioners working with children with autism and other communication needs

16th November 2019 book

Using Visual Supports in the home

A practical workshop suitable for parents and practitioners.

All about what Visual supports are and how they can help your child’s understanding and development

7th March 2020 book

Communication and Play

Connecting and communicating with your child through play – suitable for parents and practitioners who are working with children with autism and other communication needs

 16th May 2020  book

The Puzzle Centre in the licensed hub to deliver the programme of AET training for early years in Milton Keynes

The  training available are:

Making sense of autism – for all early years practitioners

Good autism practice – for practitioners working directly with children with autism.

Leading good autism practice – for leaders and managers

For further information go to www.learningtrust.net/autism

E: autism@learningtrust.net

T: 01296 387361

At Puzzle Centre – SCERTS

At Puzzle we are pioneering in our use of the SCERTS model, which refers to the importance of transactional support for children with autism. The training we offer to all family members and professionals focuses on how the relationships and interactions of all the individuals who work in partnership with a child and how they work together as part of a team. It also refers to how partners support children’s learning and development.

Puzzle Centre have both a one day and a half day course on how we implement SCERTS within our setting.  To find out more about these courses please download the full course information here:

One day Course – How Puzzle implements SCERTS

Half Day Course – Introduction to How Puzzle Centre uses SCERTS

Other training

The Puzzle Centre is also delivers training for students or practitioners from outside organisations.

  • Each term we have 2 or 3 different workshops at the centre which are suitable for parents or practitioners to attend.  Please see above list for current course topics available
  • The cost for parents is £20 and £35.00 for professionals to attend
  • We are able to offer bespoke training to outside organisations who wish to find out more about autism in the early years and the approaches used at Puzzle Centre.
  • Click here to download our TRAINING LEAFLET
  • We also deliver whole day courses and conferences.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss training for yourself or your setting.  We offer bespoke training to schools and settings

For a comprehensive list on our online booking system of all courses available click HERE

Previous Events:

National Conference – Milton Keynes 31st October 2017

Better Beginnings -supporting parents of young children with autism to focus on early social communication skills with their child through play

A successful conference with inspirational key note speakers.  Our speakers were:

  • Anna Kennedy OBE chair of conference
  • Vicky Slonims latest research findings from the PACT study(Parent mediated social communication therapy for young children with autism) and what it means for practitioners  Download the powerpoint presentation here.
  • Emily Rubin how the SCERTS model supports families Click here for the full presentation information
  • Gina Davies working effectively and joyfully with young children and families
  • Paul Isaacs his own personal experience of autism.  Download the powerpoint presentation here.

To read more about the Better Beginnings conference download our summary Better Beginnings report

Previous Conferences

A Good Start: early diagnosis and early support for children with autism and their families
Thursday 1st May 2014   9.00am – 4.30pm
The British Library, Euston Road, London

Puzzle Centre hosted this conference, bringing together researchers, practitioners and parent/carers discussing early diagnosis, support and education for children with autism and their families.

Key Topics

  • Autistica’s One in a Hundred report
  • The AET Early Years, Standards and Competencies
  • The AET Early Years Training Materials
  • The neuroscience of autism
  • The SCERTS Educational Model
  • Implementing SCERTS at the Puzzle Centre for preschool children with autism

Chair of Conference:
Dr. Simon Wallace -Research Director, Autistica
Simon gave an overview of Autistica’s  ‘One in a Hundred’  report, published in 2013,  sharing the experiences and views of over 1000 parents and individuals with autism. The report highlighted their findings about living with autism, experiences with the UK health system, and families’ research priorities.


Main Speakers:
Dr. Karen Guldberg -Director of Autism Centre for Education and Research, University of Birmingham
Developing good autism practice in the Early Years


Emily Rubin, MS, CCC-SLP -Educational Outreach Specialist, Marcus Autism Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Session one: How neuroscience informs social emotional development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders; implications for preschool support
Session two: The SCERTS Educational Model for early years settings

Scroll down to find Emily Rubin’s webinar from February
2013 entitled, Neurodevelopment and social competence in autism spectrum

This webinar explains how current research in neurodevelopment fosters
understanding of how learning differences in ASD impact the development
of social competence.

Alexandra Stanyer, MA (Infant Spec. Ed.) Principal, Puzzle Centre
Kathryn Bowers, B.Sc (Hons) Head of Centre, Puzzle Centre
Using the SCERTS Model to support our children and families



As part of our aim to support and train Early Years’ practitioners in the Puzzle Centre’s methods and approaches we hosted a national conference “Autism in the Early Years – What is good practice?” for 160 delegates at Horwood House near Buckingham in 2010. The conference was chaired by our Patron Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, and our keynote speaker was Professor Tony Charman, Chair in Autism Education at the Institute of Education. The delegates were working with over 2,000 children with autism with less than 5 years from around the United Kingdom.


Information about the Puzzle Centre conference 2010:

This one day conference to discuss best practice in early intervention and education for young children with autism was held at Horwood House on 2nd July 2010. The following documents are available:

Click on the following link to download and read the Post-conference press-statement


Enabling Inclusion: Key Components of ‘Best Autism Practice’ in the Early Years, by Dr Karen Guldberg, Director of Autism Centre for Education and Research, University of Birmingham. Click the follwing link to download and read Autism in the Early Years – Enabling Inclusion.

Early Intervention in Autism: What do we know? What do we need?, by Professor Tony Charman, Chair in Autism Education, Institute of Education, London. Click the follwing link to download and read Autism in the Early Years – What do we know.

Small Group Early Intervention for Autism, by Alex Stanyer, Principal of Puzzle Centre, and Becky Ralphs, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, Puzzle Centre. Click the follwing link to download and read Autism in the Early Years – Small Group Early Intervention.