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Autistic and OK

Everyone should be able to feel OK at school. But we know this isn’t the case for many autistic pupils. That’s why we created the Autistic and OK programme, in collaboration with Zurich and the Z Zurich Foundation, to empower autistic pupils to take control of their mental health and wellbeing, understand themselves and feel OK.

We developed our Autistic and OK toolkit to run this ground-breaking peer-led programme. This free, downloadable resource is available for every single secondary school in the UK. 

Our programme aims to build a whole-school community where autistic pupils feel understood and accepted. Download the toolkit today and start your school’s journey on the Autistic and OK programme.  

Watch our video that explains how Autistic and OK can be integrated into your school.

Download the Autistic and OK toolkit

Empowering autistic pupils to take control of their mental health and wellbeing, understand themselves, and feel OK.

What's included in the Autistic and OK toolkit?

Each of the four peer-led sessions on the topics of anxiety, depression, OCD, and bullying contains: 

  • session plans
  • PowerPoint presentation slides
  • worksheets: for individual and group work 
  • peer facilitators guide.

Our teacher’s guide contains step-by step instructions for delivering the Autistic and OK programme, including:

  • a checklist of responsibilities to run the peer-led sessions
  • editable posters to advertise peer-led sessions
  • guidance and advice on supporting autistic peer facilitators 
  • FAQs (Frequently asked questions) sheet.

This pack contains information for parents and carers of autistic pupils, including: 

  • an outline of each peer-led session 
  • information about attending peer-led sessions
  • information about the Peer Facilitator role  
  • information sheet signposting mental health and wellbeing support services and organisations.

An assembly session for all pupils, designed to increase understanding of autism and promote acceptance of autistic young people. This session pack includes: 

  • an assembly plan
  • PowerPoint presentation slides 
  • an educational video about autism.

A 40-minute training video about autism and how to support autistic pupils with their mental health and wellbeing. 

School staff members who complete this training will:

  • increase understanding of autism 
  • appreciate how autistic pupils may experience mental health challenges in schools 
  • learn simple strategies to support autistic pupils.


Why we created Autistic and OK

Autistic young people told us that increased knowledge and understanding of mental health issues help them to better manage their own wellbeing. 

That's why we've designed Autistic and OK as a free programme for autistic pupils of all ages in secondary schools.



This is often due to stigma, bullying and a lack of support from a young age.  

 Autistic and OK aims to prevent autistic pupils from reaching crisis point with their mental health and wellbeing.


Yet only half of teachers (53%) feel they have been adequately trained to support autistic children. 

Autistic and OK will help teachers spot early warning signs of poor mental health and wellbeing in autistic pupils and provide targeted support. 


Autistic and OK helps to address the limited support due to stretched budgets and teacher capacity.

Young people don’t need a formal autism diagnosis to take part, so the barrier of waiting for a diagnosis is removed.

Autistic and OK is...

  • We engaged with autistic young people when deciding which mental health topics should be the focus of the peer-led sessions.
  • A group of 15 autistic Youth Advisors from our Ambitious Youth Network co-produced the resources in the Autistic and OK toolkit and advised the programme team based on their own school experiences. 
  • The Peer Facilitator role for autistic pupils in years 10-13 continues the youth-led ethos of the programme.
  • we consulted a clinical psychologist to ensure all our mental health information and advice is based on scientific research.
  • a qualified training consultant and mental health first aid instructor helped us develop the peer-led sessions. 
  • our SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) consultant gave us insight into the support already available for autistic pupils in schools and where our programme could help fill the gaps.
  • 19 schools from across the country took part in our Autistic and OK programme pilot. They received the full toolkit and a training session to guide pupils and teachers through the delivery process. 
  • Schools completed surveys as part of an evaluation at the end of the pilot. We used the feedback from pupils and teachers at these schools to update and improve the toolkit.


Feedback from the pilot programme

Download the Autistic and OK toolkit

Empowering autistic pupils to take control of their mental health and wellbeing, understand themselves, and feel OK.

Benefits of the programme

There are many benefits of the programme. For pupils, this is an opportunity for Peer Facilitators to become role models for their autistic peers and to expand their skills in leadership and communication. This sustainable model offers autistic pupils continued support with their mental health and wellbeing, whilst promoting ongoing understanding of autism in the wider school community.


For pupils

Autistic pupils in years 10-13 can take on the role of Peer Facilitators and run our pre-prepared mental health and wellbeing sessions for their younger autistic peers. The peer-led sessions will equip autistic pupils with different tools and techniques to help manage their own mental health and wellbeing.

For the whole-school community

Resources such as the teacher training module on autism and mental health, and an assembly session for all pupils will encourage a whole-school approach to increasing understanding and acceptance of autistic young people. The resources can be reused each academic year.

For parents and carers

The toolkit includes information for parents and carers of autistic pupils. There's a detailed guide of how to support autistic pupils taking on the Peer Facilitator role and information on relevant specialist mental health and wellbeing organisations.

Ambitious about Autism, in collaboration with Zurich and its global charitable arm, Z Zurich Foundation, produced the ‘Autistic and OK’ programme to tackle challenges around mental health and absenteeism among autistic 11-17-year-olds.