I have worked with children and adults with autism and challenging behaviour, for over six years as a support worker, and assistant practitioner, within the Norfolk community. My experience has helped me develop a flexible and person-centred approach when working with individuals with autism, which has allowed me to carry out assessments within the Help for Psychology team which are tailored to meet each individual child’s needs.
I have a first-class degree in Psychology from the University of East Anglia, and have always been interested in applying my knowledge of psychology within practice. This I have been able to achieve with Help for Psychology through carrying out many cognitive and psychometric assessments with children on the autistic spectrum, including those with the PDA profile.
I also have a first-class masters’ in Clinical Research from the University of East Anglia, and have a desire to ensure that research informs psychological practice. I have had the opportunity to be involved in a number of different research projects including investigating; why children with autism do not pretend play, how young adults with ASD experience the transition to higher education, how mental health difficulties influence mental health professionals’ clinical practice, as well as looking at the neurocognitive profile of individuals with Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). This research into PDA has allowed me to make a significant contribution in the development of a questionnaire for adoption services in order for them to be able to establish whether behavioural challenges, or presentations, of adopted children, are characteristic of PDA/ASD, an attachment disorder, or developmental trauma.
Ultimately, I have a strong desire to provide meaningful support to children on the autistic spectrum, and their families, as well as assisting the Help for Psychology team in becoming a recognised centre of excellence for autism and PDA.