Tori Chamberlain – Trainer (Scotland)
My name is Tori and I am mother to 5 children all under 10 years old! I have one daughter with ASD and getting a diagnosis was a very long and arduous process. We found she always had a slightly different view of the world and just presented very differently to my other children. Finding the CHP was our life saver as both myself and my daughter could recognise similarities and draw many parallels. We even took my copy of Alis’s book to our diagnosis appointment with many scribbled notes and highlighted parts! It is now like our family Bible as my older children have also read the books to help them understand how life can be difficult for my own curly haired girl!
I live with my partner who is the love of my life and my best friend. We live very remotely in the Wild Angus Glens, spoilt with beautiful views and settings. It is absolutely idyllic and we are extremely lucky.
I have a background largely in Education and Administration and I took a career break to raise all my babies, but as they are getting older I am now making my way back into the world and the Curly Hair Project seemed the perfect opportunity.
I am so excited about spreading the Curly Haired word to the NE of Scotland and working with both Sam and Alis. One of the best things for me going through diagnosis as a parent was having another friend with a child on the spectrum and just talking about things to know what to expect and for confirmation. I am passionate about raising awareness and I hope passing on my own experiences with Alis’s knowledge will help to lighten the “load” for someone else.
“Tori, who is a parent, leading the workshop was invaluable, someone who actually knows what they are talking about.”
“I love Tori’s real life examples.”
Laura Kerbey – Trainer (London and Surrey)
I have been working with children and young people with autism and other special needs for over 15 years.
I started my teaching career in Further Education, and have worked in the Supported Learning Department of 2 large Mainstream Colleges teaching Numeracy, Literacy, Life Skills and Childcare. I also worked as the Life Skills Co-ordinator at a residential college for young people with severe physical disabilities. I was the Assistant Head Teacher, then Head Teacher at an independent special school for children with Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism. I have also worked as an ABA tutor.
My passion has always been working with young people with autism – I believe that they have so much to offer, and yet the education system often fails them because staff do not have the right skills and experience. This is something I am passionate about changing! I am an experienced trainer and really enjoy training others.
Helen Eaton – Trainer (South West)
I’m Helen and I live with my hyper-active husband, three amazing children aged 12, 10 and 8, along with a lovable but generally over-excited dog called Hector. Several people in my family have been diagnosed with Asperger’s and I recognise many ASD behaviours in myself and other family members. I believe that having Asperger’s gives a wonderfully different and refreshing view on life, but also adds an extra layer of challenges to face each day. Having taken a child through the lengthy diagnostic process and fought hard to find the right education for all of my children, I’m very aware of the difficulties ASD families face.
I have worked as a freelance trainer for over 15 years, specialising in Leadership Development and Communication skills training. I consider myself very fortunate to have delivered training for a vast range of companies, from small family run businesses through to leading IT and household brands. Along the way I’ve enjoyed seeing the successful lives many people with Asperger’s have in the workplace, and have met some really interesting people with great stories to tell.
I love studying and have a Master’s degree in Management Development, and over the past few years have studied for a GCSE and A’Level in Spanish. In 2012 I again returned to university for a PGCE in Primary Education in order to better understand learning and education for children.
I’m really excited about being involved with the curly hair project as I can combine work with the things I’m passionate about in life.
Susan Case – Trainer (South West)
I’m a 41 years old married mother of three girls aged 18, 13 and 12. My 18 and 13 year old daughters and my husband have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
It’s been very up and down on our ASD journey and I have found that support and information are the key ingredients to an ASD focused home, coupled with total acceptance and unconditional love. Life is often amazing, but isn’t always easy and it was during one of the ‘tougher’ times I was introduced to ‘The Girl With The Curly Hair‘ by a crisis worker we were working closely with. All I can say is ‘Wow!’ – I read it and re-read it, my daughter read it, read it again – and again – and again. I can’t offer a better endorsement – a neurotypical mum and a 13 year old daughter with Asperger’s who got so much from the same book – amazing! We then started following The Curly Hair Project on Facebook and reading Alis’ Visual Guides, which have been incredibly useful, and are a favourite of my daughter.
My background is in education doing finance and HR. I’m also Deputy Safe Guarding lead and have a hand in Health and Safety and First Aid within the school. I’ve been told I’m a very approachable and positive person and I hope I can offer an insight when delivering Alis’ workshops from the perspective of a neurotypical mum.
I must also add that we have an incredibly old cat called India – we can never remember how old she is, but she’s possibly the most vocal family member as she’s totally deaf and very opinionated – especially at 5 in the morning!
Jane Tipple – Trainer (Suffolk)
My name is Jane and I’m a mother of two, my daughter and her partner have two children and my son is at University. I live in Suffolk, with my partner whose main hobby is racing motorbikes. (I’m his crew team). We both enjoy going to the gym and keeping fit, when we can. I am dyslexic and I have Irlens Syndrome (visual Stress).
I have been working in the field of Autism for over 11 years. It all started when I was a child-minder working with children of various ages. Although I had my childcare qualification I felt I needed to learn more. I went on to be a portage working within our local NHS trust and that’s when I started to work with young children with Autism. I knew if I could get into their world, I could help them begin to understand our world.
I completed P.E.C’S Training and Makaton and have used the TEACCH approach. I worked with the children as well as their parent/carers. Some of these children had other difficulties too and it was a big learning curve for me well as them. I really enjoyed helping them on their journey to full-time education.
I was fortunate to move on in my career to work with the learning disabilities team in my local NHS trust, this was so rewarding. I worked with the child, young person, their family/carers and education. I also worked in a multi-agency team working in Health and social care. I went on to complete My B.Phil. in Autism for children in 2013 at Birmingham University, this was a big achievement for me and I was determined to complete it.
Even though I have this degree, I am still learning and gaining knowledge from the people I work with, both the professionals and the people with Autism. I have also worked for the National Autistic Society in Suffolk as a family support worker.
My biggest achievement was joining a new team within my local NHS just over two years ago, being part of the diagnostic team with both young people and adults. I have met so many people on the autistic spectrum and I believe by beginning to understand the world of an individual with Autism, you can then begin to help and support them within our social world.
Rebecca Swist – Trainer (London)
Hello! My name is Rebecca, and I have been working as an Autism Specialist since the summer of 2012. I qualified as a social worker in 2003, but my first experiences of working with individuals on the autistic spectrum happened much earlier: in 1998 I supported children with autism in a mainstream school and nursery, and this got me interested in the area so I have not strayed far from it since.I’ve also got experience of working as a social worker with adults, including young people in transition and adults with learning disability and autistic spectrum conditions. Since the summer of 2012 I have been working with the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames to develop and implement the local autism strategy. It has been great to have the opportunity to influence what’s onoffer in a local authority, and it has been even better to meet Alis through this work!
Alis and I started offering workshops together in spring 2015. It has been amazing working with Alis and learning from her. We really enjoy working together and I think (and hope) that this shows to those attending and makes our workshops interesting and engaging. I hope to see you at one of our workshops soon!
Kella Unnerstall – Trainer (Missouri, USA)
My name is Kella. I’m 25, and am a single mom of an awesome 5-year-old boy. I’m autistic and I have SPD and CAPD. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 22. About a year or so after receiving my diagnosis, I stumbled upon The Curly Hair Project and it was like I finally found someone who got it. I had read numerous ASD blogs, forums, and books, but none of them compared to the work that Alis was/is doing. I immediately had a sense of being at home. After a lifetime of not feeling like I fit anywhere, finally getting a diagnosis and finding The Curly Hair Project made me feel like I didn’t have to search anymore.
I have previously worked with others on the spectrum for around seven years, as both a residential direct care staff and as a special education paraprofessional. Currently, I homeschool my son and run my own business, selling handmade art and other items and teaching herbalism, fitness, and arts-based classes. I love both learning and teaching. I have an AA in studio art and a B.S. in psychology, as well as certifications in several areas including herbalism, fitness, nutritional coaching, and ASL.
I have a passion for The Curly Hair Project and for sharing my own experiences with life on the spectrum. I am ecstatic about being able to share this information with others and to be a part of the CHP team here in the US!
Nellie P. Moore – Trainer (Wisconsin, USA)
My name is Nellie. I live in the United States with my family and live and work in two states, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, visiting the state of Illinois several times per year. I am 55 years old, mom to three amazing children. We have one cute as a button granddaughter that we love to boast about and spend as much time with as we are able. Thursday, December 4, 2014 at just before 11:00 in the morning, I, along with my husband who sat beside me, received my diagnosis. 299.00 – Autism Spectrum Disorder – Mild. What a journey leading up to my diagnosis.
My professional HeartMath® coaching and wellness practice over the years, while focused on wellness, and stress reduction; was a reflection of my deep quest for answers to my own personal challenges of being on the Autism Spectrum and not knowing it. I have worked in healthcare and wellness for over thirty years. After receiving my diagnosis I feel like I have been reborn. Aspien At Heart is truly who I am.
I now understand the reasons for the diagnosis I was given of depression, anxiety disorder and PTSD. It all made sense as soon as I received my ASD diagnosis. My deepest desire is to help others with this same process of discovery and understanding through being an advocate for Aspergers ASD Autism.
I came across The Curly Hair Project one day in 2015 while scrolling through my Facebook feed and I immediately felt like I had found family and someone who understood the world inside my head. I immediately purchased kindle versions of several books and upon reading them knew I had to purchase copies in paperback to gift to my husband and therapist who specializes in ASD. Alis, Nele and and Sam, as well as the rest of the team at CHP get it and I love that. I am so excited to be a member of Team CHP!
Nele Muylaert – Writer
My name is Nele and I’m a Special Needs and Educational Therapist from Belgium.
A few years ago I came into contact with this project, and all of a sudden my life made sense to me. It was clear at that point that being different just meant being autistic for me. It was thanks to Alis and her project that I pursued this trajectory and started making sense of the many issues I had throughout life.
It became clear very quickly both me and Alis were at the same wavelength on a lot of things, and she gave me the wonderful opportunity to start blogging and vlogging for The Girl with the Curly Hair project.
I have always tried to write about valuable methods and techniques that may provide help in the daily life of the person with autism, or the loved ones around them. Because I have autism myself, I can offer a very unique insight in the world of those with autism and can provide tools that I use myself. Understanding is key and I try to help both those with autism and their loved ones.
As a Special Needs and Educational Therapist I try to provide The Curly Hair Project with methods and techniques that are easily adaptable for everyone including professionals.
Alis and her project are a massive source of inspiration in my life, and I am very grateful to be able to be part of this project. Together with her, I hope to offer valuable input to anyone interested, and understanding and validation for those who need it.
“Alis is our Asperger’s soul mate and Nele is our shoulder spirit whispering tips into our ears.”