Administrator and Creator of Autism Advocate:
Many years ago I became a parent of 2 beautiful children and my career as a professional makeup artist ended. My youngest, we quickly realised, was different from his older brother. I decided once we struggled through the SEN system to finally have him diagnosed, that I was going to be as expert as I possibly could be about my child. I then set upon an incredible journey in my education of Autism . I devoured every book I could find, attended every seminar, workshop, conference I could and kept going.
By the time my son was in year one, I had started volunteering at a local primary school. My education and experience by that point allowed me to create and run a small arts and craft group with autistic students of various ages . I then went on to work as a specialist Autism Teaching Assistant/Learning Support Assistant for over eight years. During this time, I continued my education leading me to take on a degree at the prestigious University of Birmingham School Of Education in Special Educational Needs, Autism, children. University of Birmingham . I also held a one year contract with a Local Authority as an Autism Specialist working closely with young children on the Autism Spectrum and their families.( BEAM).
My pursuit of knowledge and understanding of autism never seems to end and I am always learning something new. I continue to enjoy attending seminars, workshops and the like by the leading experts such as Olga Bogdashina, Temple Grandin, Donna Williams, Zaffy Simone, Phoebe Caldwell. I continue to learn from those autistic adults I now call friends most have been working in the field of education and autism research.
I realised early intervention is key and therapies must be person-centered and proven peer-reviewed researched therapies that gave real results. Therapies such as Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Picture Exchange Communication System, SPELL, TEACCH, SCERTS, Intensive Interaction and having a child centered approach really work. They do not produce transient results but real ones as they are based on the understanding the "spectrum" that is autism. With the exception of the PECS system, which is besides AAC is the only communications system that works for those pre-verbal in language; I do not believe in ABA and, in fact, I am Anti-ABA ( Applied Behaviour Analysis). So if you are looking for that kind of therapy, this is not the place for you and I wish you luck.
I believe autism is a spectrum and like no two people are the same so no two individuals on the autism spectrum are the same. Autism is a difference, different perception of the world, different thinking and different does not mean less than. I believe in neurodiversity. The bulk of the world is neurotypical and just catching up to the fact that Autistic children/people are not "ill", diseased, nor do they need any "cures". They need what everyone needs, support, respect, understanding and love. I believe this wholeheartedly. I hope that my personal experiences combined with my continuing education in autism as well as many long conversations over the years with autistic adults and young people will assist others in navigating what can be both worrying and stressful time.
I am available to families on a individual consultancy basis.
I am available to train you and your staff at your workplace or educational setting. I provide training with practical advice in Person Centred Approach and Tools as well as Understanding and Working with Autistic Children and Young People.
I have previously worked with TA/LSA's delivering a workshops in The One/Single Page Portrait/Passport and Lunchtime Strategies. I have helped develop and supported many "Circle of Friends" in primary schools over the years training others to continue them on. I devise and write individual and personalised "social stories" ( to the Carol Gray formula) as well as picture/photo stories. I have been trained in PECS and have created individualised visuals as well as can create personalised versions of those proven most effective such as the daily schedule, dressing chart and toileting chart.
Please contact me for more details.