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The Atlass Programme

Studio 3 Atlass Stress Management Course Logo - Coping, Resilience and Well-being

What is the Atlass Programme?


The Atlass programme delivers teaching skills and practical information to course participants, and is the next step on from our Managing Signs of Distress Course. This programme is based upon a proven, well-established and internationally respected model of positive psychology. Atlass is succeeding today in a wide variety of care environments, and is for practitioners, family members, siblings, teachers, carers and a wide range of support workers.

Coping with stress: Learn how to manage stress, understand the transactional nature of stress, and cope with your own stress whilst supporting others with theirs.

Improve your practitioner skills: Turn theory into practice by using Low Arousal skills to become better at spotting distress and improve your behaviour support skills.

Help children and adults who are distressed: Be able to identify causes of distressed behaviour, and understand the role of the sensory environment in stressful encounters.

Sticky notes with smiley faces
Row of lightbulbs with one lit up
Scenery - tree in a lake surrounded by mountains
Balled fist

Coping with stress

Learn how to organise sensory information, managing it in relationships and the environment with stress transactions.

Coping with stress

People at desk. Andrew McDonnell back of head.

Improve your practitioner skills

Using Low Arousal become better at spotting meltdowns and improve your behaviour support skills.

Improve your practitioner skills

Course Information

The Atlass programme is an internationally recognised programme which focuses on applying principles of stress management and wellbeing to supporting people with autism and other additional needs. The Atlass programme has a number of specific aims to assist course participants in understanding the role of stress in the person’s life within the context of cognition, environment and relationships, and how this contributes to what may be viewed as challenging behaviour.


The Atlass programme was developed in response to the growing awareness of the role that stress plays in the onset and maintenance of challenging behaviour or difficult episodes, and the impact it has on people’s lives. By acknowledging developmental difference, the Atlass programme teaches practitioners to examine stress and coping within themselves, the people they support, and their carers. To that end, the Atlass approach teaches participants how to develop and implement Stress Reduction Plans for individuals, taking account of the transaction between the person, their relationships and their environment.

The Studio 3 PERMA bear

Examining the interaction between ourselves and the people we support, identifying areas for change.

Help to manage the stress and trauma related behaviour of children and adults

Help to manage the stress and trauma related behaviour of children and adults

Ceramic birds

Putting stress management at the core of our work

Make de-escalation a science

Make de-escalation a science


Andrea Page from BCU and Andy McDonnell from Studio 3 discuss the Atlass programme:

Course Structure

Day 1: Introduction to Atlass
  • Who are Studio 3?

  • The Atlass programme and approach

  • Happiness and Well-being 

  • Positive Psychology

  • The PERMA Model in practice

  • Flow activities

  • Developing meaningful relationships

  • The need for empathy and understanding

  • Promoting positive cultures

Programme Duration (7 Days total)

Participants attend a three day induction training course led by two facilitators. The three day induction focuses on our general understanding of stress and well-being. 


This will be followed by two 2-day follow up period over the subsequent 6 months. In these sessions, participants will demonstrate the application of their skills to specific individuals that they work withThe follow-up days have a strong clinical focus, the purpose of which is to help participants develop personalised stress management plans both for themselves and the people they support.

Day 3: Human Development and Low Arousal Approaches in Context
  • How do people with autism experience the world?

  • Making sense of the world - perception and the senses

  • What is typical human development?

  • What is atypical human development?

  • What is developmental delay?

  • What is developmental disorder?

  • The development of Agency and the Self

  • Implications for support and management

Day 2: Stress, Coping and Distress
  • What is stress?

  • What coping style should we use and in which context?

  • A transactional model of stress

  • The impact of stress on our physical and psychological arousal

  • What do we mean by arousal?

  • What moderates and mediates within a stress response

  • Implications for support and management

  • The case of trauma informed Behaviour Support



The assessment for the positive psychology, stress and well-being module is an individual in-person presentation. The Late rule does not apply as this is an in-person assessment.

The assessment of students in-person, either physically or virtually, typically take place at specified times and are therefore time constrained by their nature (for example presentations (live or pre-recorded), group or individual critiques etc).


There are several assessment measures for course participants:

  • Candidates will have to produce a written stress management plan for an individual

  • Candidates will present a brief report about their work (maximum 1 hour)


As a result of completing the course, participants will receive a BCU accredited Level 6 certificate of their training. 

The follow up days are an opportunity to share experiences and reflect on the practical application of the main concepts of the Atlass programme in practice, and what they found useful in practice as well as any barriers they faced. 

Delegates will share their stress management plans and receive feedback from their peers in a relaxed, solution-focused discussion. This also provides an opportunity to receive feedback on assignments before they are submitted for certification. 

Follow-Up Sessions
Birmingham City University Logo

The Atlass programme is accredited by Birmingham City University.


The training programme can cater for 12 individuals who will be required to work in pairs and focus their work on one service user throughout the programme. 

Course Objectives

Course participants are expected to complete the course with an understanding of:

  • Cognitive development and inter-subjective experience

  • Applying the PERMA model of well-being

  • The importance of listening to the voices of the people they are supporting 

  • Low Arousal Approaches to crisis management, with a strong emphasis on creating reflective practitioners and a stress-focused approach to support

  • Sensory perceptual differences, how we organise sensory information and its role in emotional distress and stress management

  • Stress and coping, and the role of environment and relationships within the stress transaction

  • The neurophysiology of stress

  • The role of threat appraisal mechanisms in developing positive coping strategies

  • Being mindful and encouraging mindfulness within support staff

  • Applying positive psychological principles with a focus on building resilience

Academic Research

Research has also shown that the Atlass course has a significant positive impact on staff teams in terms of stress management and understanding of behaviour.

A grounded theory study on work related stress in professionals who provide health & social care for people who exhibit behaviours that challenge

For more information or to discuss booking this course for you or your organisation, contact us at or call us on 01225 334 111. 

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