Amanda Phillips (B.A. – Psychology)

Professional Development sales and delivery for Altogether Autism, Amanda Phillips is one of the founding facilitators for our Professional Development series (formerly PRISM). Amanda has worked with people on the autism spectrum for nearly 15 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 is passionate about building knowledge and awareness about autism in the community along with supporting autistics and their families to navigate support services.

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

Sanam Bagherian joined the Altogether Autism team as Autism Specialist Facilitator in 2019. She has strong interest in autism and has a Ph.D. in autism psychology which included delivering educational programmes to support parents with children on the autism spectrum. Sanam has worked as a clinician and educator to support children on the spectrum and their families for 13 years, and more recently has worked with autistic adults. She is registered 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.

Joanne Lawless (Dip Arts, Psychology)

Joanne has extensive experience of autism, both professionally and personally, and is an experienced facilitator in adult learning. Joanne’s two adult sons are both on the autism spectrum. She has previously worked as a foundations trainer and services facilitator for Taikura Trust. She is also an accredited trainer with the Crisis Prevention Association and a licensed trainer with the Family Partnership Model. Joanne is an Autism Specialist Facilitator for our work with Early Childhood Centres (SELO) and is also a contract facilitator for our Professional Development series.

Dr Karen Layton, PhD (Psychology), MAppPsy (Behaviour Analysis, 1st Hons.)

Karen is the behaviour specialist/intern psychologist at Enrich + Spectrum Energy and has worked closely with Altogether Autism in her time at Enrich+ as a facilitator of our Professional Development series. She completed her PhD in 2018 and will finish her NZ Psychologist Registration in early 2020.

Karen spent several years working with individuals with a range of intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, both as a behaviour therapist and support worker, and most recently as the Autism Services manager at Enrich+ before moving into her current role.

Karen is passionate about supporting individuals to live meaningful lives and achieve their goals, and about teaching those supporting them the best methods and evidenced-based practises to do so.

Trisha Lealiifano-Mariota (M.Ed, GradDip in ECE, BCom)

Trisha is a qualified Early Childhood Education Teacher, an Early Intervention Therapist (trainee) and a Mother to Joziah who is on the Autism Spectrum.

Trisha is part of the Early Start Denver Model Therapy Team from Victoria University (Educational Psychology Dept) and is at Fidelity in the Early Start Denver Model approach. She is highly involved in the Pacific community and is part of the Wellington Pasifika Autism Support Group.

Trisha holds a Masters of Education from Victoria University, Bachelor of Commerce from Otago University and a Graduate Diploma in Teaching endorsed in Early Childhood Education from Victoria University.

Trisha is passionate about helping autistic children reach their full potential.

Dr Martyn Matthews (PhD-Psychological Medicine)

Martyn has worked with people with autism spectrum disorders or intellectual disabilities for almost 30 years which has been split between his two passions: early intervention for children and families and developing services for people who have complex behaviour support needs behaviours or have come to disability services via the criminal justice system. He was co-developer of the ASD Plus programme and a co-author of the NZ version of the Growing up With Autism programme. Originally from Yorkshire, but living in NZ for 16 years, along the way he’s held a number of clinical and management roles both in the UK and NZ.

Martyn completed his PhD in Psychological Medicine with Otago University and his research investigated the mental health treatment and support needs of people with autism spectrum disorders. He was also part of the NZ Autism Spectrum Disorder guideline implementation group and is a current member of the joint Ministry of Health and Education ASD Living Guideline Group.  He’s also a member of IASSID Special Interest Research Groups for Autism and for Challenging Behaviour & Mental Health.

Cat Noakes-Duncan (Grad dip teach: ECE, Post grad dip specialist teaching ASD)

Cat Noakes-Duncan is a community developer and specialist teacher who is passionate about working with children and whānau.

Cat, a mother of three (two of her children are on the autism spectrum) is the founder of Spectrum Playgroup which combines two of her passions, community development and autism.

She is currently working in a specialist teacher outreach team. Cat has completed (with Distinction) the Post Graduate Diploma of Specialist Teaching: Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Hanna Randall

Hanna Randall is a specialist teacher working within the Wellington region. She has a passion for supporting autistic people. She has three tamariki of her own, one of which has faced many learning challenges. Hanna sees it as a privilege to awhi and support her and many others in their life journey.

Catherine Trezona, M.A. Psychology (1st Hons)

National manager Altogether Autism. Catherine joined Altogether Autism as a researcher in 2014, and moved into a managerial role in 2015.

She is one of the programme developers and lead facilitators for Professional Development (formerly) PRISM. Catherine is passionate about sharing best practice skills and strategies in a way that is engaging and innovative for workshop participants and has been delivering Professional Development since 2014.

She takes seriously the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ and seeks autistic input for both the content and delivery of Professional Development. Catherine lives on her uncle’s farm in the Waikato with her mother and her beagle and loves spending time in nature. View more on LinkedIn

Tanwen Ward, BSocSci (Psychology, 1st Hons).

Tanwen began her role as a facilitator of PRISM in partnership with Enrich+ Spectrum Energy in 2018. As a service facilitator at Enrich+ Spectrum Energy, she worked with autistic people between the ages of 5-30 years. Within her role, Tanwen was involved in planning and running social support groups for children, teens and young adults on the autism spectrum, supporting teachers in implementing practical, beneficial classroom strategies for their autistic students and providing one-on-one mentoring for young autistic adults. Tanwen completed her Bachelor of Social Sciences with first class honours in Psychology in early 2018, in which she investigated whether gender bias and representativeness heuristics have an effect on primary school teachers’ recognition of autism in their students. She currently works with Tanya Breen consultant clinical psychologist as a psychology and research assistant, continues to run a role-playing game group for Enrich+ Spectrum Energy and is enrolled in the University of Otago doctoral programme, focusing on the autistic community’s engagement in tabletop role-playing games. Tanwen expects to complete her PhD studies by the end of 2021.