About us

Sarah and Michelle are parents to children and adults with broad and complex needs. This gives them a unique and essential depth of understanding, personal knowledge and hands on experience. All have a determination to make the future brighter for others. 

All of our staff have lived experience and/or identify as being autistic themselves. Family support workers hold an enhanced DBS certificate, they have NSPCC SEND safeguarding training and GDPR training.  They continuously receive ongoing training from those who identify as autistic.

They have experience with the following conditions and difficulties:

  • Autism spectrum condition (ASC/D)
  • Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/HD)
  • Anxiety
  • Sensory Processing Difficulties (SPD)
  • Hyper-mobility
  • Epilepsy
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Mental health difficulties, including trauma, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Irlens Syndrome
  • Conversion Disorder/Disassociation
  • Dyslexia
  • Hyperlexia
  • Executive functioning skills
  • Echolalia
  • Language delay
  • Demand avoidance
  • Selective mutism
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Eating disorder

It is living with these conditions that allows them to have an insight into the complexities and skills required to meet the individual needs of the client, relate to them and support so that they can access the services parent/carers/young people are rightly entitled to.

Our team have successfully navigated the system for Education Health Care Plans (EHCP) for their children, have appealed decisions, attended SEN tribunal, worked extensively with the Local Authority, social services, mental health services and have knowledge of working within large multi-disciplinary teams, including health and social care.

Sarah has successfully worked on previous projects, mainly the Aspire School in Sittingbourne - an ambitious and large-scale four-year plan to develop a special needs school for young autistic people or those with speech and communication needs in Swale, Kent. This involved extensive communication with parents, service providers, the Department for Education, charities, councillors and MPs. She also assisted in developing a support group for parent/carers when a need for the service was identified in the local area.


Please note we are not medical professionals and cannot make a diagnosis or a referral to a medical professional. We can, however, support you through this process.

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Sarah is our Managing Director and Founder.

She feels passionately about families and young autistic people obtaining the support they are entitled to in order for them to lead their best lives, access their education in the right environment for the individual to be their authentic self. She has two children, one studied at university, the other is at a specialist school.

Sarah is a former councillor and cabinet member for Health & Wellbeing. She was a member of the Local Children Partnership Board, District Children's Advisory board and Kent Health & Wellbeing board and Budget Task force group. Safeguarding and leisure also fell under her remit.

Before having children, she worked in commercial finance.

michelle

Michelle is our Family Support Director.

She is incredibly passionate about ensuring families are listened too and have their feelings validated. She wants to ensure all children get the best support early, so they can go on to reach their full potential and lead a successful life.

Michelle was diagnosed as autistic in her 40's, after identifying similarities with her own life and her children's.

Michelle was a service user and as a result has successfully managed to obtain EHCP's for both her children. She has two boys both with additional needs who both attend specialist provisions.

Michelle became a teacher in 2004, specialising in early years. She spent the following 14 years in mainstream primary schools before moving to a private nursery in 2018. Michelle became SENCo and was able to fully discover her passion for supporting families of children with additional needs.

bridget

Bridget is our Operations Director / Admin Manager.

She spent 25 years as a primary school teacher, specialising in additional needs. More recently Bridget has worked for a national learning disability charity. She is passionate about equality and inclusion for all people.

She has 3 children with autism and other co morbid conditions and has advocated for them all their lives. Bridget has been through the EHCP application and appeals process as a teacher and a parent.

carla

Carla is a member of our family support team.

She has 3 children and has been on the SEN journey since 2012. Carla’s two boys have additional needs, both have EHCPs in place and her eldest attends a specialist provision. Carla has experience with ASD, ADHD, speech and language, presentation of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) and Anxiety. Carla believes in moving forward positively and hopes that by keeping communication open, advocating for others and being compassionate that we will be able to make a difference for young people and their families.

laura

Laura is a member of our family support team.

She is a Registered Nurse who has six children one of whom is at a specialist provision as well as other children with varying special educational needs including experience of twins with SEN.

Laura has experience in Autism, including demand avoidance profiles (PDA/ODD), Global Development Delay, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Speech and Language delays, echolalia and gestalt language processors. ARFID, Sleep disorders, behavioural problems, cognitive problems, anxiety, hypermobility and SPLD’s.

Laura has experience in EHCP’s and Tribunal appeals and has IPSEA SEN Law training.

Laura has a keen passion to want to help families navigate the complicated SEN system and will do this by listening to parents and ensuring that their children obtain the support and provisions they are legally entitled to in Children’s and Family Law.

sara

Sara is a volunteer member of our family support team.

She has a lived experience with autism, sensory processing, anxiety and PTSD. She has undergone and participated in courses / training relating to anxiety, positive behaviour, non violent resistance, sensory processing and has personal experience in applying for EHCP’s. Sara was previously a police officer for seventeen years. During her career she specialised in youth intervention and multi agency working with housing, social services and the council to support families and divert children from the path of crime and drugs. She also worked within a high risk domestic violence unit assisting victims of crime and collating information for civil court.

This career has enabled Sara to problem solve, assist family in crisis situations, knowledge of adult and child safeguarding and offering a sympathetic ear.

Sara has a teenage son with autism who is in a specialist provision and a son with a rare syndrome.

Nadia

Nadia is our administration assistant.

"I have experience working in administration and first hand experience with autism. I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 12, I went to a special needs school which I loved and had some of the best years of my life.

When the opportunity arose to work for a team that helps give autistic people everything they need, I knew instantly I wanted to be a part of it. During sixth form I helped the younger students come to terms with their diagnosis and showed them that autism isn't something you deal with, but instead something that makes you different in so many amazing ways."


The Autism Apprentice CIC is registered in England and Wales.  

Registered office: 8 Twisleton Court, Priory Hill, Dartford, Kent DA1 2EN
Company number: 12025031