Course Summary

Autism affects about 1 in 59 children in Australia. Of those, about half also have an Intellectual Disability and about 70% have a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression in addition to Autism.

This course is aimed at upskilling mental health professionals in evidence-based practice in clinical assessment and mental health treatment for verbal children, adolescents and adults with Autism and/or mild intellectual disability. The course combines current research in clinical assessment and mental health treatment in autism, with real-life clinical and case examples. A range of reflection and interactive activities keep the learner interested and engaged. This course has been completed by over 600 mental health professionals (as at May 2021!) and is based on Dr Belinda Ratcliffe's highly successful (always sold-out!) 1-day face-to-face workshop, but has been specifically designed, professionally edited and adapted for online learning.
Watch Intro Video


Course Overview

Mental health clinicians will increase their knowledge, skills and confidence in autism and mental health assessment and treatment over 4 self-paced modules:

  • Module 1: What is Autism? In this Module partipants will consolidate their understanding of autism, from the neurodiversity and lived experience perspective as well as DSM-5.

  • Module 2: Autism and Mental Health. Participants will enhance their knowledge and understanding of the prevalence of mental ill-health health in autism, reflect on the significant gaps in service provision and consider prevention/early intervention for mental health in autism.

  • Module 3: Clinical Assessment of Mental Health in Autism. Participants will learn Dr Belinda Ratcliffe's 'ground-breaking' model for mental health assessment in autism. Participants will learn a step-by-step process for mental health assessment in this population and obtain skills to apply immediately to their own clinical practice.

  • Module 4: Mental Health Treatment in Autism. In this Module, participants will learn about how to adapt evidence-based mental health treatment in autism and learn Dr Belinda Ratcliffe's 'revolutionary' technique to adapt mental health treatment, in any clinical setting.

  • BONUS: Pre-recorded Live 1-hr Q&A with Dr Belinda Ratcliffe

  • Certificate of participation on completion.

  • Approximately 8 hours of CPD when you complete all the quizzes, activities and reflections + the 1 hour live Q&A

Who is the course for?

The course is designed to meet the learning needs of a range of mental health professionals, including:

  • Psychologists

  • Mental health social workers

  • Mental health occupational therapists

  • Pediatricians

  • Psychiatrists

Presented by

Lecturer, Author & Clinical Psychologist

Dr Belinda Ratcliffe

Dr. Belinda Ratcliffe, lead author of the award-winning Westmead Feelings Program 1 for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is a highly qualified Principal Clinical Psychologist and Researcher with a PhD in Autism Spectrum Disorder from the Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney. Belinda has received multiple prizes in recognition of her work. Dr. Ratcliffe a Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology at Western Sydney University, leads a team of Clinicians in South-West Sydney at 'The Emotions Clinic Australia', dedicated to making a lasting impact in Autism, Intellectual Disability and Mental Health. Dr Ratcliffe provides training, clinical supervision and consultancy across Australia to a range of Health, Disability and Education Government, Non-government and Private agencies, including the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Mater Hospital in Brisbane and NSW Department of Education and Communities.

Foundations in autism for mental health professionals

This online course provides practising mental health professionals with a comprehensive foundation in autism and mental health.

Bonus material

  • Bonus! Live Q & A

    1-hour pre-recorded live Q&A with Dr Belinda Ratcliffe

  • Bonus! 12 months access to course content

    All participants will receive 12 months access to revise and revisit material throughout the year.

  • Downloadable resources, clickable links and slides.

    This engaging interactive course is interspersed with space for reflection, downloadable resources, clickable links and downloadable slides

Pricing Options

Feedback from previous participants!

  • Thank you!!! One of the most useful and practical online training courses I have completed.

  • This was really helpful to my practice and I only regret I didn't do this when I started my job a few months ago!

  • Great course - learnt so much.

  • Thank you! Loved it.

  • Thank you! This was very interesting and I appreciate your expertise and passion for working with groups who can "slip through the cracks" - I find your "can do" attitude very refreshing in our often self conscious and cautious profession!

  • I particularly like the idea of pen therapy and thinking creatively to adapt treatments that are evidence based for neurotypical individuals, to suit autistic individuals.

  • The training was awesome but I also really felt compelled by your call to do more and be more confident in adapting my mental health treatment - I know have concrete skills and tools to do this

  • Best thing about the course? The respect that Dr Ratcliffe shows to her clients. Definitely her emphasis on understanding and accepting and even celebrating neurodiversity.

  • It was very informative, with simple information that was highly effective. Great advice and techniques that can be taken away. Great Practical tools to use.

  • I have found it really validating as the approach to assessment and treatment aligns with my current approaches and values

  • It was very informative, with simple information that was highly effective. Great advice and techniques that can be taken away. Great Practical tools to use

  • I really enjoyed the real life case examples. These really brought the theory into practice and was very helpful in knowing how to utilise the skills, and understand how vital it is to complete a 5-finger assessment

"This should be Mandatory Training for all Mental Health Professionals"

Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

5 star rating

Foundations in Autism for Mental Health Professionals - w...

Kate Crone

Really great, well presented, very informative!

Really great, well presented, very informative!

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5 star rating

This course is a game changer

Edwina Scerri

This course is so comprehensive and yet so easy to follow. I have walked away with so many practical tools and resources. Thank you!

This course is so comprehensive and yet so easy to follow. I have walked away with so many practical tools and resources. Thank you!

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5 star rating

title absolutely clear and self explanatory

Ruth Magnusson

excellent well expressed clear and readable

excellent well expressed clear and readable

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This course is revolutionary for the mental health sector- you have shone a light on the human rights issue of a lack of access to equitable and inclusive mental health care for autistic people. You've made what seemed too complex, much easier to understand in a practical way - and showed us how to improve our services. Child & Adolescent Mental Health (Clinical Lead)

"The training experience was a really great one. Impeccable slides, the videos are wonderful and overall so informative for really any professional at any level of practice or experience."

Clinical Psychology Registrar

"Belinda is such an innovator in the field of Autism"

Clinical Psychologist, 30 years experience

"The course is very comprehensive and yet very easy to understand I have walked away with so many practical skills in working with autism and mental health presentations. I feel more confident in adapting CBT skills to help an autistic adults manage mental health issues"

Mental Health Professional

Additional products


  • How long will this online course take?

    Most mental health professionals should be able to complete the online course in the equivalent of 1-day (approximately 8 hours).

  • I'm an early career psychologist - is this appropriate for me?

    Yes absolutely! This course provides a comprehensive foundation in autism, mental health assessment in autism and mental health treatment in autism.

  • I already work in autism - will this course be helpful?

    Other clinicians with experience in autism have found this course highly beneficial in consolidating their own knowledge in the latest evidence-based practice and learning new tips and tricks. Belinda's case studies and stories provide opportunities for reflection and new learning.

  • What if I can't attend the live 1 hour Q&A with Dr Belinda Ratcliffe?

    No problem - this will be recorded and available for you to watch in your own time in the online learning platform.

  • How long will I have access to the materials?

    All participants will have 12 months access to the online learning platform. Some of the written learning materials (e.g. slides, handouts) will be available to download.

  • I work in a large organisation/health service - can I bulk order this online program for my team at a discount?

    Yes absolutely! Bulk discounts for teams of 5+ mental health professionals are available, please email Dr Belinda Ratcliffe ( to discuss your organisation's needs.

  • Does Dr Belinda Ratcliffe provide individual or group clinical supervision in Autism and Mental Health?

    Yes absolutely! However, it is highly recommended that all prospective supervisees complete the online course first, to get the most out of the supervision experience.

  • Does Dr Belinda Ratcliffe identify as a neurodiversity affirming Clinician?

    Yes - Absolutely! Dr Belinda Ratcliffe is passionate about embracing the lived experience of Autistic Individuals and affirming identify and experiences. This course has been reviewed, and subsequently edited before being released by an Autism Advisory Panel. As at May 2021 over 600 participants have completed this training, including autistic mental health professionals and parents/carers of autistic individuals. Dr Ratcliffe acknolwedges the trauma of autistic people experienced from 'treatment'. It is important to note that this course is NOT a course about 'treatment for core symptoms of autism'. Rather, this course is specifically designed for mental health professionals to upskill in mental health assessment and mental health treatment for autistic individuals. Participants learn the difference between autism (which is the way the brain is wired up) and mental-ill health (e.g. depression, anxiety, PTSD), which impacts 70% of autistic individuals. Dr Ratcliffe advocates for inclusive mental health care for everyone and believes everyone, including autistic individuals have the right to good mental health.