Professional Advisory Group

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.

Jane Hughes – MBChB, FRANZCP, Consultant Psychiatrist

During my practice as a consultant psychiatrist within a specialist mental health service for adults with an intellectual disability, I have developed expertise in both autism and the assessment and treatment of mental health conditions that autistic individuals may experience.

Nan Jensen – BA (English Lit) ; MBA (Finance and Int’l Business); LLB (1st Hons) 

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 also recently diagnosed autistic herself.

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

Catherine has worked as a developmental paediatrician with Canterbury District Health Board since 2002 having trained in Aotearoa and London, UK.  Over the last decade her main focus has been diagnosis and support for autistic children and their whānau. Catherine is also a clinical lecturer at the University of Otago and parent of five children. Catherine says one of the aspects of her work she enjoys most is working with others to create positive solutions within existing networks and resources whilst keeping an eye out for new directions for understanding and support.