Autism charity the National Autistic Society (NAS) is launching a series of roadshows designed to help teachers and other professionals learn the tools and strategies they need to support children with autism effectively.

The rationale behind this stems from a recent survey from the NAS that found that just half of parents (52%) who have a child with autism feel they are making good educational progress. The research also revealed that 7 out of 10 parents found it difficult to get the educational support their child's needs, and while they waited and fought for the right support, their child's educational progress (70%), mental health (60%), behaviour (68%) and self-esteem all suffered enormously. In addition, while parents and young people agree that a good knowledge of autism helps meet children's needs, 43% of young people with autism felt their teachers don't know enough about the condition. To combat this, the NAS and special educational needs teaching and support recruitment specialist Axcis Education Recruitment have developed a series of roadshows designed to help teachers and other professionals learn the tools and strategies they need to support children with autism effectively.

The roadshow programme, which runs from October until March 2012, will see five conferences take place across the country providing education, health and social care professionals, as well as parents of children with autism, with an opportunity to learn new strategies, share good practice and network. Featuring a range of expert speakers, workshops, a panel debate and networking opportunities, the events will provide an opportunity for professionals to gain crucial knowledge about how to best support children with autism.

Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS said: "Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition and is a lot more common that most people think. Parents and young people agree that knowledge of autism, more than anything, helps children's needs to be met in school and many teachers also tell us that they would like more training in autism. "We hope that this series of conferences developed in association with Axcis will empower teachers and professionals to ensure that children with autism in the education system are supported in the best way possible, to help them to go on to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives."

The first conference is on October 11 in Liverpool. Further roadshows will be held in Newcastle, Birmingham, Exeter and London. For a full list of events, details and key topics visit: www.autism.org.uk/conferences/roadshow2011