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Trauma-informed Practice

Koala ensures that our approach is people and research-led


At Koala we are extremely mindful and conscious of our approach in all aspects of the Charity. This encompasses everything from how we communicate with our Community, to the way the sessions are designed and run. We believe that having the right approach is paramount to Koala being a success.

We are autistic led, with around 90% of our staff and volunteers being autistic/neurodivergent. We have a diverse Trustee board with a wealth of experience across different sectors, and a mix of both neurotypical (1/3) and neurodivergent (2/3) individuals.

Our staff and volunteers are regularly offered training to ensure that we can support the most vulnerable members of our community effectively. This also helps us to ease the pressure on overstretched local services by intervening at an early stage to help avoid individuals going into crisis. This is achieved by the strong relationships and trust that are built between our community and our staff/volunteers.

Safeguarding is also paramount to Koala – please see our Policies page for more details.

Research-Led and Trauma-informed

Research shows that autistic people are more likely to engage with services offered by other autistic people, due to the Double Empathy Problem, researched by Dr Damian Milton (  For this reason we ensure that the majority of our team is autistic or otherwise neurodivergent.

Other research surrounding monotropism, environment, trauma informed practice and low-demand approaches guide how Koala supports its community.

In particular, an understanding of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) within the autistic community is key to our practice. ‘Evidence suggests that autistic children have a higher probability of experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) compared to their non-autistic peers.’  This research tells us that 'appropriate support for autistic individuals and their families' is 'required to prevent ACEs and treat the impact of ACEs.’

At Koala we understand, through a wealth of lived experience, that many adults and children have adverse experiences as a result of being autistic/neurodivergent, in a neurotypical world. We firmly believe in equality for all and support members of our community who may have already experienced ACE’s, through our peer support groups, 1:1 support and training.


By offering a demand-free, sensory-safe environment we help individuals to overcome those experiences. If further support is needed, we signpost our community to trusted organisations who can offer more tailored, specific help.


Our peer support groups help not only the individuals themselves, but also offer support to siblings, family members and carers. We have a strong, accepting and understanding Community, who only want to support each other to thrive.  You do not need a diagnosis to attend Koala – if you feel you belong, you are welcome!


Our Testimonials page shares more about the positive impact this approach is having with our Community!

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