Updated 2 November
We have updated this page and written an accompanying questions and answers page to ensure we explain clearly how our conferences help us to fund our work to transform lives and change society, the fees we pay to speakers and the prices for delegate places.
We realised from people’s feedback that the page had previously not managed to be as clear as it should be – particularly about the fees we pay to autistic people . Since our latest conference (Women and Girls, 30 October) we have also changed our practice to make absolutely sure that we always proactively offer a fee to all speakers, unless they are in employment and speaking as part of their job.
If you want to find out more about the fees we pay to autistic and non-autistic speakers, pricing and accessibility, please visit our questions and answers page.
We hope this information answers any questions you may have about this or other aspects of our conferences.
Why we run conferences
Our conferences help us to make society work for autistic people in two ways:
- Firstly, through our conferences, we share the latest developments in autism practice or research with professionals working in health, social care, education and other sectors. Conferences are part of our efforts – alongside training, accreditation and information services – to support professionals in these fields to improve their practice. In this way we aim to improve indirectly the lives of countless autistic people and their families and help create a society that works for autistic people. Find out more about our services and professionals.
- Secondly, conferences generate vital income for our charity which helps pay for services that autistic people and family members need, like our helpline, our online community, the information on our website, our policy and campaigns work and supporting volunteers to run our branches. All these services are free for autistic people and family members to use and are key ways that we transform individuals’ lives and change society’s attitudes. Everything we do at the National Autistic Society has to be paid for, whether through people generously donating, by dedicated individuals fundraising for us, through contracts with local councils or businesses – or through professionals paying to use our services, like our training and conferences.
While we need to ensure that conferences generate income for the charity, we make sure that autistic speakers are always paid a fee and their expenses, unless they are being paid to attend by their employer or they choose not to receive a fee. You can find out more about these payments here.
We know that autistic people and their families are also extremely interested in the subjects covered by our conferences, but may not be able to afford to pay the same amount that an employer would pay for someone to attend. That’s why you can apply for a discounted place.
We also make sure that everyone can access the kind of information we cover at conferences through Network Autism. Network Autism is our dedicated website of professional autism content – and anyone can sign up for free. Among other content, it features interviews with speakers, presentations and articles from our conferences.
And we offer a range of online training. At present the following modules are free: Managing Money, Women and Girls, and Finding Work (coming soon).
Read our questions and answers page about conferences, including information about speakers, fees, prices and accessibility.