I am originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, where my passion in autism first developed after meeting a young boy in a nursery during a work experience placement whilst studying at college. I enjoyed getting to know him so much that from then on, I learnt as much as I could about autism and gained experience by volunteering and working in nurseries, schools and youth clubs.
I completed the Ba (Hons) in Special Needs and Inclusion Studies and Early Childhood Studies at Wolverhampton University in 2008. This gave me a much deeper understanding of child development, education, disability, inclusion, policy and services. I was also developing my own personal understanding of learning after being diagnosed and receiving support for dyslexia. I believe this gave me a much greater understanding of different learning styles, how I learn, and how everyone learns in very different ways.
After completing my degree, I returned to Jersey as an ‘Autism Keyworker’ in a mainstream school with a specialist provision for children with autism. I supported children, on a 1:1 basis, so they could access the curriculum as well as to meet their own development needs. During this time I completed the Level 3 BILD LDAF programme on ‘Supporting People with Autistic Spectrum Disorder’. The achievement the children and families made during this year was a huge inspiration for me to continue developing myself as an educator and I therefore moved to Oxford in 2009 to complete the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with an early years specialism.
I then taught mainstream reception in Oxford city centre for 2 years. During this time, I also ran a nurture group focusing on developing social and emotional skills for selected pupils across the Early Years.
In 2012, I moved to London where I gained experience in different special schools before taking up a permanent role as a class teacher at an autism specialist school ‘The Garden School’ in Hackney. I taught at The Garden School for 5 years alongside highly specialist teachers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, educational psychologists, teaching assistants and parent support. During this time, I learnt about exceptional teaching practice and education for pupils with autism and severe learning difficulties as well as effective communication, behaviour and sensory support whilst staying up to date with the latest research and training. I developed personally as a teacher, leader and trainer, managing teams of 6 teaching assistants and mentoring new teachers via the School Direct teacher-training programme.
Over my last 2 years at The Garden School, I was promoted to the middle leadership position of ‘Outreach Leader’ where I continued to teach a class as well as developed and delivered tailored training to services such as Social Services, Youth Services, Transport Services and educational professionals. Additionally, I developed and lead an outreach program to three federated mainstream primary schools to provide school to school support in order to build knowledge and understanding in teaching and supporting children with autism.
I have now started the next chapter in my vision to share good autism practice and understanding by starting my personal bespoke outreach and training service: