About us

Sarah, Donna and Odette 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.  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 and Donna have successfully worked on previous projects together, 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, MPs and project managing a team. They also assisted in developing a support group for parent/carers when a need for the service was identified in the local area.

Sarah

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Sarah is one of the Directors of the company and a senior family support worker.  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 studying at university, the other in 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.


Donna

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Donna is also a Director of the company and a senior family support worker.  

She has a passion for equality, inclusion and diversity. She believes that empowering parents with knowledge, they are better able to make positive decisions for their family, equipping them with skills and support to care physically and mentally for their children.

She has five children, all with their own needs. Her children have attended special, independent and mainstream schools. Three are successfully in full time employment (two living independently) and two are school age.

Donna has been to Special Educational Needs Disability tribunal, worked extensively with a variety of schools, social services including safeguarding and attended Care Education Treatment Reviews. She has experience of working within large multi-disciplinary meetings and advocating for families. 

She has been a carer at home for her children whilst working on other projects to continuously develop her skill set.



Elizabeth

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Elizabeth is our Educational Consultant.

She gained her Post Graduate Diploma in Education (SEN : Behaviour, SpLD, SEND) from Plymouth University, then National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) at National College, Nottingham followed by MA Advanced Educational Practice focusing on Inclusion, Transition, Mental Health (Anxiety), Autism and SEND from Institute of Education, University of London.
She has held several senior executive roles within SEND Education as well as working as an independent Educational Consultant for the full range of educational phases in her career. Elizabeth is also a member of the British Psychological Society.






Odette

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Odette is a member of our board and is our office manager. 

She has a young autistic child, who until fairly recently was non-speaking. She is experienced in the EHCP process and her child attends a special school. 

Odette is a valuable asset to the team. She was a service user before working with us and knows exactly how it feels to be the other side of the camera in a meeting!





Michelle

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Michelle is a family support worker.   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 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. One attends a specialist provision and the other a mainstream school.  

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.






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.


The Autism Apprentice CIC is registered in England and Wales.  

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