Ann Memmott

Ann Memmott Director AT-Autism
We begin this newsletter with a warm welcome to the latest member of our team, Ann Memmott, who joins the board. Ann’s experience and advice on the structure of AT-Autism and way we deliver our various services is already proving invaluable.

“My work as a professional is wonderfully varied. As founder and Managing Director of Fairweathers Chartered Surveyors, we have been providing commercial property advice to ‘blue chip’ organisations across the country for nearly 20 years, so successfully that a recent external audit commented that they had never seen a company so effective. That’s what autistic expertise and passionate focus can bring, when enabled. My work as a professional trainer stretches back further, starting in the late 1980s for an international computer company and many enjoyable years working with various organisations and groups, alongside other autistic trainers and colleagues, as well as some of the ‘big names’ amongst non-autistic allies.” Read more …

Dr Simon Wallace

We are sad to bid farewell to our director colleague Dr Simon Wallace, who has moved to Germany. Simon was highly influential in our training strategy and in his networking with colleagues across Europe and further afield. We wish Simon and family a happy future in Germany and we look forward to staying in touch.

New Associates

Our Associate team has been significantly strengthened. In addition to Ann joining us, we are delighted to welcome Yvette Bates, HMP Dovegate, Julie Beadle-Brown, University of Kent, Kleio Cossburn, University of Salford, Elena Giouroukou, Laskaridis Foundation, Piraeus Greece, Iliana Magiati of the University of Singapore, Georgia Pavlopoulou from University College London and Anna Robinson of The University of Strathclyde.

Company status

The status of AT-Autism has also undergone change in that we are now a non-profit company limited by guarantee. This will allow us greater flexibility and to undertake more pro bono activity. We were delighted to be co-sponsors of the recent Scottish Autism conference in Glasgow and the parent event at the Institute of Education, Malta organised by the Inspire Foundation.

Dr Jan W Vermeulen

Sadly, we report the death in February this year of our Associate, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr Jan Willem Vermeulen. Jan dedicated his life to helping some of the most excluded members of the community and was for many years a senior consultant at Broadmoor Hospital. Jan’s report to Theresa May on autistic hacker, Gary McKinnon saved Gary from extradition to the United States. Gary’s mother is in no doubt this saved Gary’s life. He will be greatly missed for his wisdom, compassion, sense of humour and calm demeanour. RIP Jan, the autism world has lost a great friend and champion. Our condolences to Jan’s widow Rae and loving family.

Thank you to our Associates

We are grateful to all of our Associates and colleagues across the world who share our values and continue to support our work.


We congratulate Rachel Clare of the University of Bath on the annual Dr Michael McCreadie AT-Autism award on the use of social stories This work took place in a SEN school in the SW of England where Rachel was based during her university placement year.


March 2020 “Autism-Friendly” Environments: Can Universal Design bring success?

Our next conference on “Autism-friendly” Environments: Can Universal Design bring success? will also be held at the Church House Conference Centre, Westminster, London on Thursday 5 March 2020. Chaired by Sara Ryan and Damian Milton we are again privileged for the event to be opened by autism champion Baroness Browning. We look forward to contributions from many experts in the field including Ann Memmott, Amy Stocker, Simon Humphreys, Cos Michael, Lee.E. Corless, Rebecca Wood, Mark Brosnan and Emma Collis. Details here:

December 2018 Rough Justice report

Our CPD accredited conferenceRough Justice’ – How is the justice system serving autistic people?’ was held in December. We welcomed delegates from all over the world to the wonderful Church House Conference Centre, Westminster. The event was fully subscribed. We were honoured to have the Baroness Browning and Janis Sharp, autistic hacker Gary McKinnon’s mother, to open proceedings. Presentations from a host of renowned experts in the field included Karen Todner, Human Rights lawyer of the Year and  Graeme Hydari on legal aspects, Juli Crocombe and Yvette Bates on over-tariff prisoners, Katie Maras on interviewing, Kleio Cossburn on autistic police perspectives, David Murphy on provision in high secure hospitals and the work of the National Autistic Society in prisons and the justice system from Clare Hughes.   As with our previous conference at the Royal Society of Medicine we were supported by Dagmara Dimitriou and Georgia Pavlopoulou and students from University College London. Our thanks to them and the staff at Church House. 



Our Synergy Programme continues to grow with workshops over the period in Australia, Singapore, Japan, Malta, Greece, Denmark and Ireland and across the UK, in Northern Ireland, Orkney, Shetland and Gloucestershire.  Our colleagues at Stroud Court Community Trust have fully embraced Synergy with workshops on practice and mentoring extending into the New Year. These have been opened to colleagues from the University of Reading and University College London.


Earlier this year Richard Mills and Linda Woodcock made two trips to Shetland to deliver the Synergy programme to professionals from education and social care. It was very well received and after the first two days potential mentors were identified who then took part in the mentors’ workshop on our next visit. The first trip coincided with the Up Helly Aa festival in Scalloway which was both Richard and Linda’s first experience of the celebration of the islanders Viking heritage. Although the biggest Up Helly Aa is in the capital Lerwick, the residents of Scalloway maintain that theirs is the best! Now that Synergy is up and running in Shetland, discussions are underway for a joint event between Orkney and Shetland soon – watch this space.


Synergy was also introduced to Norway in November by Linda Woodcock and we look forward to working with the team there over the coming months.

APAC Singapore

Our plans for the coming year include a continued expansion of Synergy across UK and Europe, with a high level of interest following our keynote presentation at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC) Singapore and at the recent Autism Europe Congress in Nice. Despite a late-night dash by taxi caused by the Danish Railways train strike, a Synergy seminar was presented at the Meeting of Minds 7 Copenhagen! We have been invited to present further Synergy seminars at the Scottish Autism Conference in November in Glasgow, ‘the future is calling’ and the National Autistic Society, Professional Conference in Birmingham in February.


Evaluation of Synergy by the University of Athens and the University of the Peloponnese continues. We are encouraged at reports that since Synergy began in 2014 in Attica, Greece, with the Laskaridis Foundation, Piraeus, no child has been excluded from a participating school and staff working in schools report significant reduction in stress. We are grateful to Katerina Laskaridou and her team from the Foundation for their continued support of the programme in Attica. Further Synergy work has begun in Greece in the Peloponnese region at Kalamata, supported by AT-Autism Associate Elena Giouroukou and Katerina Laskaridou from the Laskaridis Foundation. This comprised our introductory seminar and a practice workshop and it is proposed to continue this work next year with the mentor training and support for the programme.


The focus of Synergy is on the mindset of the worker and narrative, extends beyond the workplace promoting worker wellbeing. This makes the approach useful across various service contexts where workers experience stress and where cultural factors are important. In Australia it is used by our associate Vicki Bitsika who is working with staff supporting homeless people and has a reported impact in reducing conflict.

Synergy Conference

We are greatly looking forward to our next Synergy Get-Together in 2020 in Athens. 

More information on Synergy here:


Aarhus Kommune and Langagerskolen, Denmark

Our activities in programme evaluation continues with the work in Denmark with our colleagues from The Aarhus Kommune (local Authority) led by Ruth Lehm, Kasper Kock Neilson and Mikael Carlsen and on specialist projects from Langagerskolen, specialist autism school led by Jens Frostholm. The method of evaluation for the Aarhus Family programme, developed with the Aarhus team in conjunction with Gary Mesibov of Division TEACCH UNC, is proving so effective this is being extended to all programmes in the region.

Bridges Programme, Singapore

Programme evaluation is a rapidly expanding area of our work and we are delighted to have been commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the Bridges programme Singapore, led by Catherine Pownall and Mary Yong, which has recently expanded to the UK. Bridges offers a social curriculum to younger autistic children.

Scottish Autism

Scottish-AutismAgain, on evaluation, our work continues with Scottish Autism on their ‘VIP programme’ for staff development, with guidance from Charlene Tait and Joanna Panese. The evaluation of Scottish Autism’s Big Lottery funded Getset4Autism post-diagnostic programme continues, expertly led by Maureen Mackintosh and Irene McIlchere. This is producing some positive early results.
Also, relating to Scottish Autism, following the retirement of Alan Somerville, we congratulate Dorry McLaughlin on her appointment as Chief Executive and Charlene Tait who is deservedly promoted to Deputy CE.


Again, in Scotland our evaluation of the Donaldson Junx10n initiative with Billy Anderson is underway via a participatory action research model, supported by our colleague from University of Reading, Ruth Moyes and the John and Lorna Wing Foundation. One exciting by-product of this is a short, animated film ‘In My Shoes’ produced by the young people on ‘out of school’ perspectives. Other training spin-offs including Active Listening and Narrative Research methods have also resulted from this initiative. A launch event on 28 January at the Scottish Parliament will showcase the film.


Avon & Somerset Police/University of Bath

On a related note we are now working with Avon and Somerset Police and Katie Maras of the University of Bath on the evaluation of measures to improve provision for autistic people who become involved with the justice system.



In a further recent exciting development, we are delighted to be working with Fiona McCaffrey and the team on behalf of Middletown Autism Service, Northern Ireland to evaluate their specialised autism programmes. This is planned to begin toward the end of the year.


Our work continues with Ben Higgins and Sarah Leitch of BILD on the evaluation of their PBS coaches programme.

Maltese Government and Inspire Foundation

Our strategic activities have included working with the Maltese Government and the Inspire Foundation, Malta on various aspects of their autism strategy. We also participated in the Inspire Foundation annual conference in October with a presentation on ‘10 tips for helping and enabling autistic children’, which relates to the strategy. It is encouraging to see our Maltese friends and colleagues, especially Paula Doumanov, Charlene Borg and Alistair de Gaetano taking such a grounded, systematic and inclusive approach to their work, and with the engagement of autistic people. This dovetails with our preliminary work in the Peloponnese with Kostas Saverlakis and Maria Ken of the Kalamata Autism service (in conjunction with Synergy) on their strategy, which we hope to progress with Associate Georgia Pavlopoulou from University College London in the New Year.

Channel Islands

In the Channel Islands we are pleased to see the new autism hub now open on Guernsey and the part we were able to play in the initial design and in the Guernsey Autism Partnership. We are pleased to continue to support the National Autistic Society and Autism Guernsey. In Jersey, we continue to offer support to the Government of Jersey in autism related matters and to Autism Jersey as they have consolidated. We congratulate Chris Dunn on his appointment as Chief Executive of Autism Jersey and wish him every success in taking the charity forward. We were delighted to have contributed to the recent highly successful Autism Jersey conference on ‘Autism and the Justice system’, with presentations from Associates Karen Todner, Ruth Emsley and Richard Mills.


This has also been a busy period for our clinical and legal services, and we are urgently seeking to strengthen our consultant psychiatry team following the retirement of Dr Juli Crocombe and Dr Helen Pearce. We are grateful to our senior Associate Professor Digby Tantam for his support through this busy period.


We are also delighted to now be working closely with the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent and Pavilion Publishing on our autism specific courses, specifically the delivery of SPELL (understanding and responding to autism). This staff training programme has developed over many years and has been recently revised by the original authors, Julie Beadle-Brown and Richard Mills, with input from many autistic colleagues and professionals in the field. We are delighted that both Julie and Richard will personally be involved in the delivery of this training, which will include training for trainers.


Our CPD courses have been expanded to include mental health and autism and justice and autism. These have been delivered to NHS staff working at the Counter Terrorism Hub and we are consolidating our links with the National Crime Agency on their training strategy. 

Our CPD accredited course Autism for Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHP) training is again proving popular with courses being run in Essex, London and North Lincs.  These have been well received and positively evaluated. Further courses are planned for later this year and early next. 


Also, on justice we have been working increasingly closely with the National Crime Agency and Counter Terrorism Policing on neurodiversity and justice and on the development of a specialised mentoring support service. We were also represented at the annual Congress of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm with Sven Bolte, where our Adviser Richard Mills gave a keynote presentation on autism, neurodiversity and the justice system. One further development related to our interest in this area is an invitation to co-edit a special edition of Research in Developmental Disabilities on autism and justice.