who am I

white woman aged ’40 something’ with dark, wavy shoulder length hair. I’m smiling with my mouth closed, and wearing a black v neck, sunglasses and shiny orange, gold and blue earrings in the shape of spheres.

I am a white woman, based in Warwick in the UK. I am an advocate and activist for the celebration of human Neurodiversity (brain and behaviour trait difference), and inclusion in its widest sense. Mum to 4 boys, two of whom are Autistic and have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). I also have a recent diagnosis of an ASC myself and recognise ADHD and Tourettes in my neurology too.

Following an undergraduate degree in Psychology many moons ago, my career background is in events management with experience across charity, local authority and academic venue settings, as well as freelance work.

I am currently spending my time as a researcher, writer, coach and artist. A qualified Brain and Behaviour change practitioner, i’m also working towards a qualification in coaching and ‘TRE’ which is a body work / somatic practice for trauma and stress relief. These three disciplines work together in complement in my practice with families and clients as well as in my artistic expression.

I am interested in exploring human difference, and the neuroscience of human behaviour and relating. I have a particular interest in supporting the wellbeing of autistic and other neurodiverse adults in the Cultural work place. That’s 1 in 5 people; 20% of the population. To include dyslexia, dyscalculia, adhd, tourettes, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum conditions.

Creatively I am developing multi-sensory and interactive pieces that challenge us to view the world in ways that are surprising and not conventional. This approach is informed by a neurodiversity perspective, that invites reflection on different perceptions of the world and our ways of interacting with it and with each other. The framework that I work in creatively is about celebrating curiosity and delight in difference and diversity, rather than the more challenging themes of separation and segregation which I am exploring in my more academic research work.

Research

I am an arts council supported Clore Fellow (15), and following this fellowship year I completed a period of empirical research funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) alongside Bath University CAAR (Centre for Applied Autism Research) in 2019, that is being prepared for publication. This research looked at bias around autism within the cultural sector.

My research focus in this next phase for 2020 and 2021 is to pilot the use of TRE methodology as an in-work support for autistic people working within the UK cultural sector. We know that anxiety is a huge limiting factor for autistic people in gaining and staying in meaningful work, and that the cycle of ‘crash and burn’ is real for very many. In work supports and interventions that support and respect autistic neurology are not prioritised, instead the focus has primarily been around training neurodiverse people to ‘fit in’ and conform. (Here’s a recent metastudy demonstrating this point!)

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1362361318787789

It is my firm conviction that inclusion cannot be realised until the culture shift is complete, when neurodiverse conditions can be recognised as valid and important expressions of human cognitive difference, and disability is understood as more than pathology and is respected and supported.