Professional Advisory Group

Dr Kevin Appleton – MB.ChB, JCVTGP(UK), M.Med.Sc, MRCPsych, ARANCP.

Kevin, originally from Liverpool in the UK, is a Child, Adolescent and Adult psychiatrist.

He trained in medicine, general practice and then psychiatry in Yorkshire. He was honorary senior lecturer and consultant child psychiatrist at Leeds University Teaching Hospital.

He emigrated to New Zealand in 2000 and was service clinical director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health at Waitemata DHB. He established Starfish Clinic with Dr Yvette Ahmad. He has worked throughout NZ as visiting psychiatrist in child and adolescent mental health services. He has been acting clinical head at Counties Manukau DHB and an expert advisor to Altogether Autism, Autism NZ and ADHD NZ. He was on the NZ Guidelines group for ASD and ADHD. Kevin has worked for ACC Sensitive Claims Unit for over 10 years. He is a medical writer and regular contributor to various publications.

Tanya Breen M. Soc. Sc. (1st hons.); Dip. Psyc. (Clin.); MNZPsS; MICP

As a consultant clinical psychologist in private practice in New Zealand, Tanya Breen often appears as an expert witnesses in criminal cases where autistic people are charged with criminal acts. She also undertakes autism diagnosis, assessment and intervention/support with individuals and their families, and provides professionals with autism training.

Tanya is well-known for her work on the New Zealand Autism Spectrum Disorder Guideline, her role in the development of Altogether Autism, and her work with the Ministry of Health on a range of other autism related topics. Tanya is currently working towards the degree of Doctor of Health Science, where she is researching autism and legal proceedings.

Nan Jensen – Barrister and Solicitor, QuinLaw Barristers and Solicitors

Nan grew up in New York City and her education and working life was in the financial sector. She moved to Denmark in 1988 and then to New Zealand in 1995. After a stint in the software industry as a translator and technical writer, Nan became interested in the disability sector after the diagnosis of her second son with autism.

Nan has been involved in the disability sector since 1998 and has held roles in governance, advisory, support parent, advocacy and employee capacities. Two of her four adult children are on the autism spectrum, and she decided to study law after taking a successful arbitration case against the Ministry of Education to retain Ongoing Resourcing Scheme funding for her son.

Nan was admitted to the bar in 2012 and practices in all areas of general and family law (except criminal) with a special interest in disability law. She is a trustee of McKenzie Centre (Early Intervention Centre for children with special needs) and is on the Altogether Autism Consumer Reference Group. Nan has been running workshops about Disability Law for disabled people and their families as well as professionals. She is also a director of The Disability Trustee Limited, a company that provides independent trustee services for family trusts who have a beneficiary with a disability.

Estelle Pretorius – Speech Language Therapist

Estelle qualified as a speech language therapist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, before relocating to New Zealand in February 2007.

Estelle recently received her Master in Speech Language Therapy at Massey University. Her research investigated an embedded social communication intervention for young children on the autism spectrum.

Currently, Estelle is employed as a speech language therapist at McKenzie Centre for early intervention in Hamilton, New Zealand, where she applies her specialist knowledge and experience to support families and their young children on the autism spectrum.

Estelle has a strong interest in the field of family capacity building practice and collaborative interventions. Therefore, Estelle’s next steps for her doctoral work at Massey University, will be to work with families and early childhood education teachers in a joint training and coaching model, implementing a naturalistic embedded instruction approach.

Catherine Swan – Development Paediatrician