Serious gaming charity up for national autism award

By March 6, 2017 Industry News

An innovative Surrey charity which is using the award winning 3DNovations serious gaming platform to build autistic people’s confidence, skills and abilities through, has been shortlisted for the National Autistic Society’s prestigious Autism Professionals Awards.


Autus was set up in 2013 by TIGA member, Ltd and is user led.  Most of its Board, team and volunteer base are autistic people.  They have been using the 3DNovations platform and @RRITools to create an online campus that other autistic people can log into with avatars to participate in gamified learning and skills development, including gaining vocational qualifications. The online base means that the charity can engage with individuals outside of the local vicinity. Autus also uses 3DNovations to provide engaging employment and volunteering opportunities and improve public services. This includes enabling DWP volunteers to use avatars to work collaboratively with autistic jobseekers to codesign a 3D jobcentre and create an accessible 3D job club.

Autus is one of three finalists in the Award for Inspirational Education Provision (Other Education Providers). They were shortlisted by an independent panel of 10 autism experts who judged them on their innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability.


In light of the recent National Autistic Society survey suggesting that just 16% of autistic people are in full time paid work, organisations like Autus that focus on employing and helping autistic people train for work are vital.  With the Hays Global Skills index warning that Britain’s skills gap has been growing for 5 years running and Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee estimating that the digital skills gap costs the UK economy £63bn a year in lost GDP, Autus’ focus on unlocking digital and creative talent and skills is helping the games and tech industries meet market demand and improve workforce diversity. 

The annual Autism Professionals Awards, sponsored by Axcis Education Recruitment, were launched in 2013 to recognise and promote good autism practice and inspire others to improve their own work. There are 14 awards, covering education, health, social care, employment, community projects and volunteering. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony at the NAS’ Professional conference in Harrogate on 7 March 2017.


Autus CEO, Donna Thompson, said: “We’re honoured to have been shortlisted in the Autism Professionals Awards 2017 and it is great to be able to announce this as part of our preparations for  World Autism Awareness Day on 2nd April 2017″.


“I believe that the virtual environment allows us to offer a flexible, personalised programme that helps people to identify and achieve their own personal and professional goals.


“Since we set up the service, everyone has worked so hard and I am thrilled that our work is now being recognised by this national award.”


Carol Povey, Director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, said: “We run the Autism Professionals Awards each year to celebrate the people, projects and organisations making a difference to the lives of autistic people and their families in the UK.


The standard of nominations is always very high so Autus should be commended for impressing the judges and being shortlisted.


Autism can have a profound effect on individuals and families but the right support from passionate and caring people and organisations can make all the difference. It’s important that we recognise the amazing people who provide this support so we can share best practice and inspire others.”


To find out more information about the awards please visit




For more information about the Autism Professionals Awards, please contact the press office at the National Autistic Society at


Notes to editors:


The National Autistic Society

  • The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families. Founded in 1962, it provides information, support and pioneering services, and campaigns for a better world for people on the autism spectrum.
  • To find out more about autism or the NAS, visit
  • Follow the NAS on Twitter (@Autism) or Facebook (


What is autism?

  • Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
  • More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK
  • Every person on the autism spectrum is different. It can present some serious challenges –but, with the right support and understanding, autistic people and their families can live full lives.
  • Although everyone is different, people on the autism spectrum may:
    • Be under or oversensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours, which can make everyday life extremely difficult
    • Find social situations and change a challenge, sometimes leading to extreme levels of anxiety
    • Experience a ‘meltdown’ if overwhelmed by anxiety or sensory overload
    • Benefit from extra time to process and respond to communication.
  • Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

World Autism Awareness Day

  • The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.


The Autism Professionals Awards


Award for Inspirational Education Provision – Other Education Providers

  • This award seeks to recognise and reward a team or organisation that has taken a fresh approach to learning and development within education.
  • Judges will be keen to see evidence of how the nominees have used their innovation and creativity to inspire the people they support.
  • Entries are invited from educational establishments who do not fall into the primary and secondary schools’ awards categories, such as adult learning providers and services that build capacity.


Headline sponsor: AXCIS Education Recruitment

  • Axcis Education Recruitment is the foremost specialist supplier of quality special educational needs (SEN) staffing solutions in the UK.
  • Their commitment to working with government and professional partners plus its duty of care, ensures that, despite wide-ranging changes in education, they can have a positive effect on the lives of the young people with SEND they ultimately support.
  • They appreciate these young people are some of the most vulnerable in the education system and require inclusive nurture to allow them to achieve to the very best of their ability.


Other sponsors


Autism Accreditation

  • Established by the National Autistic Society (NAS) and its affiliated local societies, with support from the Department of Health, Autism Accreditation has been the foundation upon which much of the successful expansion of quality services for people with autism has been built.
  • Autism Accreditation works to improve the quality of provision for people with autism by:
    • providing a unified standard of excellence in both policy and practice
    • presenting a systematic framework for continuous self-examination and development
    • giving guidance and support to the services who use our programme so that they can meet the established criteria required for accredited status.
  • Autism Accreditation provides an autism-specific quality assurance programme for over 500 organisations throughout the UK and across the globe. Clients include local authorities, NHS trusts, education authorities, local autism societies and private companies.


Network Autism

  • Network Autism is a place where professionals can come together, open up new channels of information and share good practice.
  • Join Autism Network and you will be able to:
    • connect with other professionals
    • collaborate in finding new solutions o share expertise and knowledge
    • support colleagues in achieving better outcomes
  • For more information, please visit:



  • Options, part of Outcomes First Group, provides education and therapeutic care to children, young people and adults with autism, learning disabilities and social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH).
  • The group operates services nationally to approximately 700 individuals and has a broad customer base of approximately two thirds of all local authorities in England.
  • For more information, visit:



  • For more than 38 year RIS Healthcare has been dedicated to providing a wide range of products designed to improve oral care.
  • RIS is the producer of oraNurse the UK’s only unflavoured, non-foaming, Fluoride toothpaste. The paste is designed for anyone who has intolerance to mint or issues with taste.



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