About

Qualifications and training

My first degree was from the University of Cambridge in 1973 and I qualified as an Educational Psychologist at the University of Nottingham in 1979, after a 2 year MA. In the first 15 years of my career I worked in 2 English Local Authorities and in Toronto, gradually specialising in work with youngsters with complex learning, communication and developmental difficulties. I was extremely fortunate to take on one of the UK’s first Specialist Senior Educational Psychology posts in the field of autism and worked in this role from 1995 until 2012.

During my career I’ve undertaken extensive further training and acquired a range of additional qualifications:

  • Training and experience in the use of most of the widely recognized and best established ASD-specific assessment and diagnostic tools (you can find out more on the Diagnosis page)
  • Accreditation and wide experience as a TEACCH trainer. TEACCH is one of the best established and most comprehensive approaches to the education and management of people with ASD. You can find out more by clicking this link: http://teacch.com.
  • Training in the use of SCERTS. This is a comprehensive, evidence based approach which enables the detailed planning of individual teaching programmes. These are focussed on a range of very specific skills and understanding in the core areas of development affected by the young person’s autism.
  • Training in Counselling Studies (Vaughan College, Leicester), Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, all of which have proved extremely useful in working with some individuals who are on the autistic spectrum.

Experience

Perhaps the most important thing you need to know about me is that for all of the last 17 years I have continued to have extensive casework involvement with youngsters with ASD, their families and their schools. In my specialist role I have tended to be asked by colleagues to become involved with the most complex or challenging cases. I have also been involved in follow-up work with individual children for extended periods, either at home or in school. I hope this has kept me in touch with the practicalities of working and living with ASD–and with the challenge of turning tidy reports into messy reality!

Through the course of my career I have had a range of responsibilities and experiences:

  • Developing and working with advisory teaching teams to develop advice,support and training for schools and families
  • Managing the development of a specialist service for the families of pre-school aged children (including the first ever use of EarlyBird in a Local Authority context)
  • Working with Local Authority officers and schools to develop provision for children and young people with ASD
  • Working with the National Autistic Society to pioneer the use of their Accreditation Framework with Local Authority Services and extensive involvement in monitoring and evaluating provision within specific schools (as part of Local Authority inspection teams)
  • Extensive experience in devising and delivering training in Local Authorities, universities and in conferences across the UK (see the Training page for more details)
  • Leading the process of developing multi-agency diagnostic pathways and procedures in 2 counties and extensive involvement in diagnostic assessment (including a formal responsibility for ‘second opinion’ diagnostic assessments where teams have been unable to reach a clear conclusion).

Fees

Work is charged at the  rate of  GBP 60 per hour (plus travelling expenses at 44p per mile), but some negotiation is possible, particularly in the case of more complex assessments. The likely time required for a particular piece of work is discussed and agreed beforehand. There is no charge for initial discussions and any review of existing paperwork, prior to agreeing my involvement. Where travelling will take longer than 1.5 hours per day there is a charge of GBP 20 per hour beyond the first 1.5 hours)

Publications

How much education—what sort of psychology: a critique of the objectives approach to the education of slow learners. (1988) Educational Psychology in Practice, 3,4, 11-16

Canadians caught in the act: Formal assessment in Canada—significant differences, shared dilemmas and the role of the school psychologist. (1992) Educational Psychology in Practice, 8,1, 3-9

Mainstream students talk about integration. (1994) British Journal of Special Education, 21,1, 13-16

 Working with challenging behaviour. (1996) Lucky Duck Publishing. (co-author)

 Children with autism and peer group support: using ‘circles of friends’. (1998) British Journal of Special Education 25, 2, 60-64

 Autism: How to help your young child. (1998) London: National Autistic Society. (co-author)

Asperger syndrome—practical strategies for the classroom. (1998) London: National Autistic Society (co-author)

Autism and challenging behaviour: making sense—making progress (a guide to preventing and managing challenging behaviour for parents and teachers). (2001) London: National Autistic Society.

Supporting families of pre-school children with autism: what parents want and what helps. (2002) Autism 6, 4, 411-426

 Fostering communication and shared play between mainstream peers and children with autism: approaches, outcomes and experiences. (2004) British Journal of Special Education 31, 4, 215-222

 ‘Why’s it so difficult?’ Sharing the diagnosis with the young person. (2006) In D. Murray Coming out Asperger: diagnosis, disclosure and self-confidence. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Provision for youngsters with autistic spectrum disorders in mainstream school; what parents say—and what parents want. (2007) British Journal of Special Education  34, 3, 170-178

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