Meet the Team

Catherine Trezona – National Manager 

Catherine is charged with providing quality, evidence-based and timely information to autistic people and the professionals and family/whānau who support them. Catherine is responsible for both the strategic and operational management of Altogether Autism, which is delivered in partnership with Life Unlimited and Parent to Parent.

Catherine joined Altogether Autism as a researcher in 2014 after completing a Master’s degree in health psychology, and moved into a managerial role in 2015. She is one of the programme developers and lead facilitators for our Professional Development (formerly PRISM) series, our specialist autism workforce development series. She brings a passion and commitment to building community and is a strong advocate of seeking and supporting an authentic autistic voice to ensure Altogether Autism is built on the principle and practice of ‘nothing about us without us.’


Emily Acraman  (B.A. – Psychology) – Researcher

Emily joined the Altogether Autism team as a researcher in early 2019. She graduated from the University of Waikato in 2009 with a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree majoring in psychology and human development and then completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology.

Emily has worked with children with autism in an education setting and also has experience in the mental health field. Emily is a mother of two young boys and comes to us most recently from her role as researcher for the Hamilton City Council.

Sanam Bagherian (Ph.D., registered clinical psychologist in Iran)

Sanam Bagherian is Autism Specialist Facilitator, has a strong interest in autism and has a Ph.D. in autism psychology which included delivering educational programmes to support parents with autistic children. Sanam has worked as a clinician and educator to support children on the spectrum and their families for several years, and more recently has worked with autistic adults. She is registered as a clinical psychologist in her home country of Iran and is working towards registration here in New Zealand. Sanam has published more than six studies and has presented at events such as the 5th World Congress on Positive Psychology (July, 2017).  Sanam is passionate about getting up to date in depth reliable autism information and sharing it with the autism community.


Kelly Booth – Administrator

Kelly has joined the Altogether Autism team to provide administrative support for Professional Development, Strengthening through Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) and network meetings.


Christina Forrest – Researcher

Ko Manunui ā rangi te waka.
Ko Paeroa me kakaramea nga Maunga.
Ko Waikato te awa.
Ko Ngati Tahu Ngati Whaoa te iwi.
Ko Ohaaki te Marae

Ko Christina Forrest toku ingoa

Christina joined the Altogether Autism team as a researcher in 2022. She graduated from University of Waikato in 2009 with a Bachelor of Social Science, majoring in Psychology and Social Policy; in 2010 with an Honour’s Degree in Psychology; and in 2013 with a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology.

Christina has experience working with children and adolescents in mental health and disability, women and whanau during times of crisis, and supporting communities in need. She is a mother of two young children and is currently completing a degree in social work.

Jenny Gibbs – Clinical Psychologist

Jenny Gibbs is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked at the Child Development Centre at Waikato Hospital for the past 30 years. She has a small private practice of quirky kids and their families.  Jenny has a strong interest in autism and autism spectrum conditions.  Jenny is the consultant clinical psychologist for Altogether Autism and was previously a member of the Altogether Autism Professional Expert Group.

In 2009, Jenny was a member of a reference group which gave input into the development of a training toolkit on ASD assessment, diagnosis and clinical management for Paediatricians, Psychiatrists, and Psychologists. She was subsequently invited to co-present this training to these professional groups.

Amanda Phillips (B.A. – Psychology)

Amanda is one of the founding facilitators for Professional Development (formerly PRISM). Amanda has worked with people on the autism spectrum for more than 12 years in England, New York and New Zealand.

Through working in schools and the community, Amanda has experience in many settings and across all ages. Previously Amanda was the service manager for Enrich+ Spectrum Energy, developing new services in the Waikato for people with autism.

Amanda, who has returned to the workforce as Professional Development sales and delivery for Altogether Autism, is passionate about building knowledge and awareness about autism in the community along with supporting autistic people and their families to navigate support services.


Jamie Timoti – Research assistant, Live Chat

Jamie Timoti has a passion for helping people.

She is the face of instant #LiveChat on the Altogether Autism website. Which is another way our #autism community can engage in real time with real questions.

A whole new world has opened up for Jamie and her whānau since her youngest son’s Williams Syndrome diagnosis. Jamie, a mother of four, knows what it’s like to have questions.


Ashe Yee – (B.A. – Psychology) – Researcher

Ashe joined the Altogether Autism team as a researcher in late 2019. She graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2016 with a Bachelor in Psychology (First Class Honours).

She is passionate about delivering evidence-based information to families in need, and in fighting against the spread of misinformation about autism. Ashe has previously worked at the University of Waikato as a researcher on the Counting Ourselves transgender health project, and was a co-author on the resulting publication.