About us – Meet the Team – Company Ethos

About us

Autside is a small specialist consultancy based in South Wales. We currently focus primarily providing training to families and professionals around Autism and related conditions, though we also have a keen interest in outdoor learning and how this can benefit Autistic children. We are passionate about Autism and believe that this is reflected in the development and delivery of our training materials, our holiday camps, and all other services we offer.

We strive to respect the opinions and dignity of the Autistic community in everything we do, and ensure we continually update our knowledge and skills in line with the latest research, as we believe that collective understanding of Autism is constantly and rapidly evolving.

Services we offer include:

  • Design and delivery of knowledge-based training
  • Project management
  • Design of competency-based frameworks and occupational standards
  • Staff skills audits and skills matrix
  • Observation and assessment
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Specialist consultancy
  • Family Seminars
  • Social skills and wellbeing programs

We have provided training for a range of public, private and third sector clients (see below), and are able to provide accredited training in association with Agored Cymru. We are currently, along with the National Autistic Society, UK partners on a European Erasmus+ Pages project focusing on Autism and employment.

Meet the Team

Donna Sharland, Director at Autside.

Donna has many years’ experience developing and delivering content around Autism and related conditions. A fully qualified teacher, Donna went on to work for the work for the National Autistic Society for several years before working at Remploy. Donna has consulted on several European projects, and has provided training to Heathrow, has guest lectured at local universities and colleges.

Emma Durman, Director at Autside.

Emma is a late diagnosed Autistic woman with an Autistic daughter. She is currently in her final year of a Masters in Autism and Related Conditions at Swansea University. She has previously studied law and psychology and worked in both public and private sectors. Emma uses both personal and professional experience in developing and delivering content and is currently a co-ordinator on the European Erasmus+ Pages project.


Use of language

Team Autside have given consideration to our use of language, understanding that it evokes strong responses and should be sensitive to the Autistic community. We acknowledge that there will be ‘no one size fits all’ policy that will fit with everyone’s wishes, as we know there is much debate around preferred terminology.

We have decided on the use of identity first language rather than person first language, i.e. ‘Autistic’ rather than has Autism, after considering recent research, the views of the Autistic community, and of our Autistic tutors and Director.

All our materials will reflect this decision, and we will continually strive to ensure our ethos remains in line with the wishes of the community. We will of course endeavour to use personal preference in individual instances where this preference may differ.

We also feel strongly that the language and terminology used around Autism and disability should be respectful and wherever possible focus on difference rather than impairment. This would include:

  • Not using terms such as illness or disease in reference to Autism
  • Using terminology such as predominant neurotype, neurotypical, or non-autistic rather than ‘healthy’ or ‘normal’
  • Avoiding the use of phrases such as ‘suffering from Autism’
  • Avoiding the use of descriptions such as ‘treatment’ or ‘cure’ in respect of Autism interventions

We acknowledge that a lot of the content we deliver can be of a sensitive nature and carries a significant potential emotional impact. All of our trainers endeavour to be sensitive in the discussion and delivery of this content. We understand that language is fluid and continually evolving, and thus remain engaged with the Autistic community, valuing your continued input and feedback.

‘Nothing about us without us’.

Team Autside x


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