Areas of expertise
Neurodiversity, Inclusion, Inclusive Environments, Autism, Sexual Violence, Mentoring, Training
Membership of professional bodies
European Mentoring and Coaching Council
14th International Social Sciences Conference, Mexico City, 2019. Presentation:
“Neurodivergence and the Gaslighting of Rape: a call for an improved societal response.”
Autism Voice BAME Symposium, at LSBU, 2019. Presentation: Autism and Epilepsy.
Uni of Worcester 2019. Presentation: Neurodivergence and Sexual Violence: an insider perspective.
Autism Show, 2018. Presentation: ‘Autism and Mentoring in Post Compulsory Education’
Learning Disability Today Training Workshop, Cardiff, 2018
Intimate Lives, Autism, Gender and Sex/uality, Birmingham, 2018. Presentation: ‘Neurodivergence and the Gaslighting of Rape’
Participatory Autism Research Conference (PARC), London, 2016. Presentation: ‘Silence’ as a means to contextualise autistic narratives
2nd LCSS PhD Methodology Conference, London, 2014. Presentation: Mixed Methods in Social Sciences (PhD research methods presentation)
Autscape, East Anglia, 2014. Presentation: Autistic identity personal and collective.
Autscape, West Yorkshire, 2013. Presentation: The colour of in between.
‘Communicating Mental Health, C.1700-2013’, Conference at University of Birmingham, 2013. Presentation: Representations of young autistic adults: use of combined methods to narrate experience and avoid the ‘imposed identities’ that can impact negatively on wellbeing.
2017- Present Independent Researcher (Collaborations)
Independent research and training with the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC) where I worked collaboratively on aspects that impact on the lives of autistic individuals. I have played an active part in organising regular meetings and talks on themes such as sexuality, mentoring, terminology, school experiences, exploring what does/doesn’t work in the HE environment, and encouraging less experienced autistic researchers to engage with this Collective.
Autism and Epilepsy Global Summit (Autistica) Nov 2017
I was invited to take part in this collaboration due to personal and professional experiences. The event brought together a wide range of practitioners, researchers, family members and autistic individuals with epilepsy with the aim of tackling around 5 key areas. I played an active role in informing and progressing the development of new equipment to address SUDEP (Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy).
ESRC and CRAE (Centre into Research in Autism and Education) 2016 and 2017
As a collaborator, I was asked to run workshops to explore “Barriers and processes impacting wellbeing” using mixed expressive media. The methods tapped into different communication preferences and illustrated the importance of this when addressing wellbeing. The visual work produced gave some fantastic in-depth material to inform research in this area.
2017 – Present Author
In this role I have drawn together my mentoring work into a book of resources for students in Higher Education and those that support them. All aspects of the book (now in its second edition with additional chapters on BAME, Gender and Sexual Violence) were informed by activities that I did with the students I supported over the years and two were commissioned to do the illustrations and cover illustrations.
I also write about sexual violence, self-care, and in particular recovery pathways. This is written from insider expertise and I have applied my doctoral research methodology as a means to help me navigate and voice a horrific experience. I use this proficiency to help, support, and educate people from a variety of backgrounds, and I have a new book about to be published which is aimed at practitioners as there is often a lack of understanding that neurodivergent people have different support requirements for a range of reasons.
2017 – Present IndependentMentor Supporting Autistic/Disabled Students (Nationally)
My work in this capacity has required me to support students to engage with their courses, understand tasks related to each module, and build strategies to manage high levels of anxiety and explore disclosure. Working to help students understand and voice their barriers to learning was a key part of this process. As some students are also in employment, I occasionally provide work-related support with employers providing the means for this to take place.
2009-2017 Mentor Supporting Autistic/Disabled Students, Birmingham City University
In this post, I provided both mentoring and academic skills support with the aim of guiding students through the numerous tasks and reading requirements for their courses whilst at the same time being able to benefit from the whole student experience. In addition to this, I have worked with many students to help them make sense of their disability and its impact on them and also understand the impact of their surroundings and other people’s attitudes on their ability to function to their best.
2009 – 2016 Independent EFL Teacher (Birmingham)
This role required me to assess individual learning needs and set appropriate learning targets. In addition, it was critical to teach and inspire international students to express themselves effectively so that they could achieve in their chosen academic course.
2008 –2009 EFL Teacher (the University of Birmingham, English for International Students Unit)
Assessing individual learning needs and devising effective plans was central to this role, and through the use of varied materials, I developed creative learning opportunities to inspire and enable students studying at various levels.
2007 – 2008 Piaget Centro de Formación, Córdoba, Spain
Teacher trainer and English teacher (all ages and abilities)
I led classes for children in order for them to build on English skills learnt in school or better understand the language if difficulties presented. Classes were run using fun activities based on a book and supplemented with music, art, and craft activities. In addition to this, I led a programme of Teacher Training to train primary school teachers to teach children in English, build lesson plans effectively and build a tool kit of materials for classroom practice.
2003 – 2007 Self-employed English Teacher, Córdoba, Spain
I ran individual and group classes for children, young people, and adults. With children and young people, the classes were to supplement school-based learning and to identify barriers to learning, and break down difficulties into more manageable parts to build their confidence. With adults, classes were aimed at supporting working professionals and doing copywriting for businesses.
2005-2007 Córdoba Language Centre, Córdoba, Spain
English Language Teacher and Director of Studies. In this role I was responsible for appointing 15 teachers, co-ordinating their work, and allocating resources. In addition, I designed a Summer Camp attended by 25 children and young people from 5-16 and where their English was extended through a selection of art and nature activities. As a teacher, I covered absent teachers and also had my own classes.
2003-2005 Meyer School of English, Córdoba, Spain
English Language Teacher (Head of Young Learners’ Department)
I led the English programmes for 2-5-year-olds and introduced Parents’ Evenings where the children could showcase their work. I also designed a Summer School for 5-15-year-olds which also introduced English through a variety of extra-curricular activities such as art, games, and sports.
Jan - Sept 2003 Birmingham Youth Service
Disability Support Worker.
Working in a predominantly Pakistani Mirpuri community, my primary role was to engage young disabled people with youth club activities and ensure their accessibility. Cultural beliefs and practices impacted heavily on these children and their families, so building a good rapport through some 1:1 work and small-scale projects was essential as a starting point.
March - Sept 2003 Birmingham Adult Education
ESOL tutor (pre-literacy and Entry 1)
Working with Pakistani Mirpuri women, several of whom were illiterate in their native language, I designed active classes where students worked on aspects that were critical for their everyday life. For example, I would introduce and work with First Aid Kits prior to exploring language around visiting a GP or hospital, or I would set up a market stall so that students could either buy or sell products and learn the language in a less threatening way.
2001 -1999 Supporting my family, Birmingham
I took some time out of work to support my family.
1998-1999 Focus Housing Group, Birmingham
In this capacity, I co-ordinated a Single Regeneration Budget project to support young homeless people, as such, I had to liaise with several stakeholders to meet distinct targets.
Activities established ranged from a parent and toddler group, adult learning in technology, English and maths, gardening projects, mosaic building, and many more.
1997-1998 Sandwell Health Authority, West Midlands
Senior Health Promotion Officer (Adoption cover) and Training and Support Officer (Maternity Cover)
Each of these posts lasted for a duration of six months and were in fairly deprived areas with poor demographic health.
As a Senior Health Promotion Officer, I jointly ran sex education sessions for detached youth workers with the Asian male project worker. With a colleague, I co-designed a university accredited course for Asian women who wanted to study Health Education and Health Promotion. In addition, I participated in advisory groups around the building of new services for the area such as an arts and entertainment venue and contributing to a White Paper. As a Training and Support Officer, I established a women’s health group, a group for young mothers, and a health day in which local health organisations, groups, charities, and individuals were invited to attend and exchange ideas and information. I also identified and acquired funding, appointed artists, and co-ordinated an anti-racism project recommended to all schools in England Wales and commended as a resource by the [former] Commission for Racial Equality.