MEET OUR TEAM
Lizzy is both a lead Aspie Trainer and the Research and Development Officer for our Central team. She writes our training materials and manages our social media presence.
Lizzy lives in Worthing with her husband and two children Leo (8) and Henry (5). Lizzy finally discovered she was autistic in December 2017 after her eldest son was diagnosed. Lizzy is passionate about improving awareness and acceptance of autism. She views it is a neurological difference not a disorder and wants to improve access to education and employment for young people and adults with autism.
Lizzy had a successful career in HR and Training & Development with a number of big corporations. After a 3 year career break to focus on her children during which time she and her son were diagnosed with Aspergers, Lizzy decided to use her experience to deliver accessible and inclusive training on Autism. She loves being part of the Aspie Trainers team and has taken a lead role in designing and delivering training on behalf of West Sussex Mind, one of our training partners.
In her free time Lizzy is a keen amateur photographer. She loves exercising and being outdoors, enjoying long walks by the sea and in the countryside with her family. She is a voracious reader and loves eating but is a terrible cook! Lizzy has travelled all over the World and her favorite places to visit include India, New Zealand and Finnish Lapland.
James H lives in Crawley. He has a keen and wide-reaching interest in current affairs and socio-political topics. He offers up his valuable knowledge of local and national issues within many voluntary roles, where many people benefit from his astuteness , his unique perspective, and his good-natured personality. He was diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition in January 2013, aged 24.
Since 2015, he has been actively involved with the Aspie Trainers' project. He was drawn to this project because he is interested in providing invaluable knowledge to wider society.
In his spare time he enjoys a variety of activities including visiting many different places, seeing friends, quizzes and trivia, listening to alternative music, and watching both old and new British comedy.
Fraser received his diagnosis in 2011 at the age of 41 after he learned about autism online and took the AQ test which indicated that he was autistic. He has volunteered as the leader of an autism book group and a music appreciation group and has worked with Aspie Trainers since it started in 2014. He has a variety of outside interests including hiking, reading, weight training and listening to music.
Mark is an accountant by trade, who was diagnosed with having Asperger’s Syndrome in 2012.
Since the diagnosis, Mark has started to go on a journey to find out more about the condition and Autism in general. He discovered that there is a big gap in people’s knowledge of Autism, and decided to do what he could to bridge that gap.
In addition to accounting, Mark now gives training in Autism Awareness, through Aspie Trainers, as well as some private work. These are generally to local groups, as well as employees of West Sussex County Council. Mark has also given talks at Sussex University, Brighton University, Sussex Police Headquarters, Brighton and Hove Albion, as well as giving a Lecture at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London. Mark has also been a guest on Radio Sussex, he has also been featured in various local (and a couple of national) publications, and has taken part in an awareness poster campaign.
Mark is a Trustee of Aspens Trust, a local autistic charity as well as an advisor on West Sussex Autism Planning Group. Mark attends, and is a committee member of a local Self Advocacy group.
Anna was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Condition 9 years ago at 21 years of age, and has been an Aspie Trainer since January 2016. She is a self-professed book worm and spends a considerable section of most days either reading or thinking about what books to add to her growing reading list. Anna particularly enjoys reading about food and nutrition, philosophy and psychology, and autism. Another major interest of hers is public speaking and talking about autism and her experiences, particularly the different way in which autism can affect women.
Her biggest difficulty is sound sensitivity, particularly when she is at home and trying to concentrate on reading. At home she listens to white noise through headphones, which helps to block out the background noise to a small extent.
Anna also experiences a lot of anxiety because she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder around contamination. However, her strong interests and determination to constantly challenge herself to try and overcome her fears is a positive factor in her life, and she is an optimist by nature. She would like to help make the world a better place for autistic people through awareness raising activities.
Becky was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2010 at the age of 31. Becky has a background in psychology and neuroscience, and when her initial childhood dream of becoming a cat was not realised, she decided to pursue a PhD in cognitive psychology and is now a university researcher.
She got involved with Aspie Trainers because she is passionate about raising awareness and promoting understanding of Autism Spectrum Conditions. Becky strongly believes that people on the spectrum are best placed to deliver meaningful training sessions from a first person perspective. Her other interests include parenting a tiny human, dancing, food, gaming and crafts. She does not like sport, waiting, or things getting broken.
In 2007 aged 15, Vicky was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, after difficulties at school drew the attention of teachers. This didn't adequately explain her problems, and at age 21 she was also diagnosed with ADHD. She joined Aspie Trainers to provide an alternative narrative to media stereotypes, and give a more realistic representation of the condition and the difficulties it causes. She firmly believes that autism is a disability rather than a difference, and wants people to know that autism doesn't always bring positives or special abilities for sufferers.
Vicky is particularly interested in autism in women, and how the condition interacts with co-morbidities like ADHD. Her interests outside of Aspie Trainers include veganism, conservation and animal welfare, conspiracy theories, and celebrity gossip.
Jane brought up her two children on her own and her eldest child had medical and neurodevelopmental issues Asperger/autism. Whilst bringing up her children she was aware of how little was being undertaken to help teaching staff teach SEND pupils let alone autistic pupils. She decided to start her education by walking into the local OU centre and asking to do a psychology degree as a carer online. After winning awards, several degrees later she became lead educationalist at the NAS providing report to Local Authorities. Assistant Headteacher and running the AET free training in the South East which aim to provide competencies and standards for staff employed in education establishments not just the organisations themselves.
Jane worked as a professional autism educationalist for special autism/epilepsy schools, Local Authority advisory teacher, as lead educationalist in the National Autistic Society, steering group member for the Autism Education Trust, Assistant Headteacher/lead trainer for Autism Education Trust, DfE supported. Due to illness with Ehlers-Danlos syndromes she had to stop working in 2015 and diagnosed in 2016.
She is a co-production member at Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) and participated in the co-ordinated transition from children’s to adults’ services for young people with social care needs, peer reviewed the latest Autism pathway. She is also a Trustee for Carers Support West Sussex, advisor for human rights, Equality and Diversity for SCIE, volunteer speaker and coordinator for Ehlers-Danlos UK/Sussex. Also involved with NICE immunology advisory committees and advocate for the air transport forum for visible and invisible disabilities.
She is passionate about authentic autistic training across the spectrum particularly in education/health and employment. She is an advocate for research organisations, recently involved in autism/epilepsy summit conference and speaks at the Autism Show and other autism conferences.
Charlie was diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Condition at age 7 in 2004, he had difficulty participating in school activities and many teachers simply thought it was "bad behaviour". Charlie was never comfortable in school and teachers back then weren't as open-minded about autism as they are nowadays.
Charlie's hobbies include video games, watching movies and spending lots of time on his computer. Upon many years of relaxing in his bedroom, Charlie is finally ready to come out and share some of his experiences with autism to perhaps motivate or enlighten others.
Sue discovered she was autistic in 2014 and subsequently set out to learn as much as she could about this neurodevelopmental condition and was awarded a Distinction in a PGCert in Autism and Asperger Syndrome from Sheffield Hallam University in February 2020.
Sue has enjoyed a particularly varied career working in the arts, film, law, construction and professional football!
With an interest in human behaviour and psychology, Sue qualified to be a counsellor in 2010 and is an accredited member of the British Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellor; she has a private practice in Brighton www.umbrellacounselling.co.uk (not sure if I can plug my business here??!!) specialising in autistic individuals, their families and/or carers.
Sue also works as a mentor at Brighton University supporting students with disabilities or mental health issues and volunteers within the probation service as a mentor to autistic service users at the Kent Sussex and Surry Community Rehabilitation Company.
Sue is delighted to be a trainer for Aspie Trainers and to have the opportunity to be able to share her knowledge and experience of being autistic to individuals and organisations to help bridge any gaps between what people think they know about autism and what it actually is and how it affects individuals in different ways.
James Shreeve is an outsider artist/business owner, with autism and a cat. He is a University of Brighton graduate with a Master’s in Digital Media art as well as a degree in English Language & Media.
His work has been part of Brighton Digital Festival, Brighton Disabled Pride and National Autism week, Most of his work revolves around complex sets of patterns that he is able to meticulously bring to life.
Throughout his personal life, James has always adopted a caring personality whether that means helping bring up his sisters or providing end of life care for his father and grandparents. James belives in providing support so he also works as a freelance autism mentor/buddy.
In 2020 James Graduated from the Lloyds Bank School for Social Enterprise Course and the Prince’s Trust enterprise course. His mission is to create an inclusive arts brand creating art for adults with invisible disabilities.
James is not shy when it comes to talking about personal experiences or explaining his view on issues that he faced growing up with autism and how that shaped his world.
Our Central Team
Lesley is Impact Advocacy Service Manager and has been advocating alongside autistic people for over five years. She is keen to empower autistic people to use their own voice in order to gain the services they need, which is why she co-founded Aspie Trainers in 2014.
In her spare time, Lesley spends most of her time raising her sons and fawning over her cats.
Trainer Support and Development Officer
James has been involved with Aspie Trainers since January 2016. Hailing from an advocacy and education background, he supports the Aspie Trainers to prepare for and deliver their training sessions, whilst working with them to ensure that they continue to develop as trainers.
Outside of Aspie Trainers, James supports two self-advocacy groups for adults with Asperger's Syndrome living in West Sussex. When not working, James enjoys going to the cinema, spending time with his partner and friends, and supporting causes for the many, not the few.