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.”

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.

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.

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!

Sam Ramsay – Trainer (Warwickshire)

sam-ramsay-alis-roweI am 49 years old with 15 year old twin girls, one of which was diagnosed with Asperger’s on the Autistic Spectrum last year. Over the past few years we have also dealt with poor mental health in the family, and so I am experienced in managing a challenge!I started my career in Human Resources, and at the point I commenced my maternity leave I was a Deputy Director in HR in the NHS. Like many people, after children, I started to look at what I was doing and decided that I wanted to do something that fitted better with my family.

I only discovered Alis and her work two years ago but I have found the whole approach to be amazingly refreshing! The training, books and social media posts have been a fantastic support to me and my family as we begin to understand the diagnosis and how it presents itself in my daughter.

Alis likes to carry out the presentations and workshops between herself and an NT, which I believe gives the whole topic much more relevance and means that whatever category you fall into – either someone on the spectrum yourself or a carer/parent/loved one, means that it can be communicated to you in a way that will be understood like never before.

During my time at Curly Hair Project, we have developed the range of sessions offered, now have a number of corporate clients and have also introduced webinars.

I am thrilled to be able to work with Alis on some of her workshops and presentations in the Midlands area, and throughout the UK, as needs require it.

On a personal note, aside from my twin girls, I also have 4 dogs, 4 guinea pigs, a tortoise and 2 degus! So, looking after pets, walking the dogs and reading specifically a range of ASD work, crime thrillers as well as mental health topics, fill my time well!!