See also my profile on LinkedIn.
I develop and run bespoke training on all aspects of autism. I specialise in advanced autism knowledge specifically for public sector professionals: social workers, teachers, health staff at all levels. I bring together my extensive knowledge of autism with my familiarity with the social care, health and education sectors to support practitioners with practical knowledge such as: autism strategy implementation; advanced autism for social care (including capacity assessment & safeguarding issues); autism in educational settings (including specialist topics such as sensory issues, communication, challenging behaviour); and many more.
I am passionate about improving understanding of public law amongst practitioners. I develop and run lively and comprehensible training on the legal frameworks governing social care. Topic coverage includes legal updates and general courses on: Mental Capacity Act; DOLS/LPS; Care Act Assessment & Eligibility; Person-Centred Care Planning (Care Act); Carers (Care Act); Advocacy, Advice and Information; Ordinary Residence; Charging and Finance; Commissioning; Transition, Children and SEND; Safeguarding adults (Undertaking enquiries to complex cases and legal updates); Mental Health Act; NRPF; Housing and adult social care; and Legal Literacy for adult social care.
I offer a consultancy service in both of my fields of expertise providing tailored support, research and specialist knowledge for a range of purposes. This includes change management consultancy within the public sector aimed at service improvement: around autism and/or improved compliance with legal frameworks. In the autism field, this included a successful and extensive change management project supporting an autism special school to become a Centre of Excellence, consultancy work and outreach with a range of mainstream schools across the area, local authority and health staff and a series of videos on practical autism topics for the Scottish Government. Recent work on the legal framework of social care has involved training for a variety of local authorities, including bespoke courses and advanced training on Safeguarding, the Care Act and in the area of Mental Capacity Law/DOLS/LPS.
I am an experienced and well reviewed speaker and present regularly at both autism and public sector conferences. These include: Learning Disability Today, 28th Nov 2019, Liberty Protection Safeguards; Scottish Autism Conference, 14th Nov 2019, Quality care for autistic people – an independent guide; NAS Professional Conference, 7-8 March 2018 Mental capacity and the deprivation of liberty in England – where are we now and what does that mean in practice? (see also interview); NAS Autism and Complex Needs, September 2017 Managing Risk and Transforming Care and Working with Aggressive and Self-Injurious Behaviour; Learning Disability Today, 22nd November 2017, Safeguarding Autistic Adults; 29 November 2016 (National Conference) + 16th May 2017 (Study day), London, UK. The Impact of the Care Act for Adults with Autism and Learning Disabilities in England; Autism Europe Congress 2016 (3 separate presentations - Deprivation of Liberty, Mental Capacity Law and School Improvement); NAS Professionals Conference 2016 (both on the Care Act and on School Improvement - in separate presentations!); Association of Public Authority Deputies Annual Conference in Birmingham in May 2015 (on the Care Act) and others. I have presented many times at Autscape and, in 2019, at Autwave to a majority autistic audience on a variety of topics.
I also publish regularly in my fields of interest including: Forthcoming book (2020) on Social Work with Autistic People: A Guide to Essential Knowledge, Skills and the Law for Working with Children and Adults (Jessica Kingsley); ‘Safeguarding Liberty’ (Legal Commentary on the Liberty Protection Safeguards) in Community Living (2019); ‘Safeguarding autistic adults in England’, Autism and Intellectual Impairment Annual vol. 2 (2017), Pavilion Publishing; ‘Most autism practice not supported by good evidence, finds study’, (2017) Community Care, http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/01/17/most-autism-practice-not-supported-by-good-evidence-finds-study/; Chapter on The impact of the Care Act for adults with autism and learning disabilities in England, in Autism and Intellectual Disability in Adults; Article on school improvement, Network Autism 2015; Article on autism training for social workers in Community Care 2015; Chapter on educational policy in Handbook of Interpretive Methods in Educational Research, Springer (2015); Guest blogger on social care law and autism issues at http://www.schwehroncare.co.uk/ and of course my blog here
I am currently Strategic Lead of the National Autistic Taskforce and led the publication of the NAT Independent Guide to Quality Care for Autistic People (April 2019). I am currently a member of the Autism Workforce group co-ordinated by Skills for Health/Skills for Care and have been involved with the development of the Core Capabilities Framework for supporting autistic people (due to be published by Health Education England imminently). Previously I acted as legal and policy consultant for the National Autism Project
I provide a very limited specialist advocacy service to the autistic community and to advise other more general advocates.
I am a female autistic living in North West England. I have two children who are both also autistic. I have extensive experience as a trainer, consultant and speaker across the social care, education and health fields. I can offer highly specialist expertise in both autism and the legal framework of social care.
I have a strong working familiarity with the relevant legislative and policy background in the broad areas of social care, disability discrimination, human rights and adult safeguarding. With a background in areas of public law including Human Rights and Disability Law, I engage in regular case reporting and maintain expert knowledge in the legal frameworks relevant to social care including the Care Act, Mental Capacity Law (including Deprivation of Liberty), Safeguarding and SEND law. I have experience working across the education, health and social care fields and meeting the needs of professionals working in those contexts. I have the research, communication and analytical skills to adapt my knowledge to new environments quickly and productively.
My ‘user-perspective’ encompasses not only my own experiences as an autistic adult and parent of autistic children but also knowledge of academic study of autism and social care and extensive contact with a wider autistic community. This is coupled with extensive experience working with and listening to practitioners - meaning that I am unusually able to appreciate issues from the professional perspective as well. As a passionate legal geek, I present and explain legal realities as objectively as possible.
I have an academic background in the social sciences which includes expertise in critical discourse analysis; educational and social policy in the UK; law; human rights; and marginalised social groups including (but not limited to) autistics, ex-offenders, individuals with experience of mental health services and minority sexual orientations.