Curly Hair Helpers

 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)

helen-eatonI’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.

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.

Caroline Kearl – Trainer (West Sussex)

Hi, my name is Caroline and I live in a sleepy village near Horsham in West Sussex with my husband and 4 children (and a large hairy dog, ginger tomcat, chickens and occasionally a lodger called Rory…….aka eldest daughter’s boyfriend).

To make life super exciting and fun 5 of the 6 of us are diagnosed with a mixture of Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, Depression and Anxiety – I can’t speak for the animals/lodger(??!!).  Number 6 (let’s call him the Dr – because he is one) is a self diagnosed and fully signed up member of the ASD tribe.

Making me a wife and mother of wonderful, crazy, awesome individuals.

So our life is a heady mix of noise, chaos, meltdowns, hiding under quilts, and quirky routines buoyed up with huge amounts of love, kindness, hard work, determination, courage and a lust for life.

I have had a colourful and exciting career before and during bringing up a family revolving mainly around people. One of my favourite things in the whole world (on a par with food, wine, cinema and rock music) is meeting and interacting with others. I have managed Restaurants and Hotel Receptions (and done many a staff training courses), tour led for a travel company, travelled around the world, been a Sales Manager and rep and run stands at Trade Shows.

I am hoping that I can bring two of my biggest areas of expertise to the Curly Hair Project – talking and living and loving amazing people with ASD!

Angela Kelly – Counselor

I provide one to one support through the curly hair project.

I will provide you with a safe, confidential, non judgmental and down to earth counselling experience. I am warm, welcoming and empathetic and I understand that deciding to come for counselling can be a big step. I want to offer you reassurance that sessions are about you and what you need. I will explain how we can work together to enhance your life experiences enabling you to live the life you want to.

As a specialism I have in-depth knowledge of Autism (ASD), Asperger syndrome and PDA (pathological demand avoidance). These conditions can create very high levels of anxiety as you try to make sense of the world around you. This can feel very debilitating. Together we can discuss and explore how your condition affects you and explore ways to enable you to reduce or manage the anxiety in your life.

If you are in need of someone to talk to, please book a one to one support session.

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!

Nele Muylaert – Writer

nele-muylaertMy 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.”