Facilitators

Amanda Phillips (B.A. – Psychology)

Amanda is one of the founding facilitators for 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.

After 18 months maternity leave, Amanda has returned to the workforce as PRISM sales and delivery for Altogether Autism.

Amanda is passionate about building knowledge and awareness about autism in the community along with supporting those with autism and their families to navigate support services.

Tegan Andrews, MAppPsy (Behaviour Analysis, 1st Hons)

Tegan joined the Altogether Autism team as a researcher in 2015 after working as a behavioural therapist working with autistic children. Alongside this, Tegan is currently working on a PhD in Behaviour Psychology at Waikato University and has contributed to the university’s psychology department over the past five years, tutoring and lecturing in introductory psychology, behaviour analysis and research methods.

Tegan is a confident public speaker, and is passionate about science communication and promoting evidenced-based practices.

Rebecca Armstrong, MAppPsy (1st Hons)

Rebecca is one of the facilitators and developers of PRISM. She joined Altogether Autism as a researcher in 2015, building on her experience as a behaviour therapist working with children with autism.

She is currently in the Clinical Psychology Programme at Waikato University and tutored general and experimental psychology and cognitive psychology at the university for five years. She worked in various volunteering positions including refugee services, lifeline, camp quality and Evolve, anxiety and depression support.

Rebecca is passionate about facilitating understanding and knowledge around autism and evidence based practice in order to create more inclusive environments that are strength based.

Paula Jessop, Autistic Advisor

Paula Jessop is an autistic woman who advocates for ‘radical acceptance’ of autism as a valid type of neurological difference and supporting autistic people through strengths based methods.

She has been a member of a range of autism reference groups most recently including a Te Pou group aimed at formulating an autism skills framework for the disability workforce. Along with being a founding member of the Consumer Reference Group, Paula works with Altogether Autism in an advisory role as an autistic advocate.

Paula has strong connections with Autistic communities and works as an independent autism mentor through her own business Autism Insights as well as working for Enrich+ co-facilitating an autistic youth group and supporting disabled people living in community.

Paula also gives ‘lived experience’ workshops for Altogether Autism or Autism Insights aimed at assisting parents and professionals to understand autism from ‘the inside’.

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 PRISM.

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 PRISM. 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.

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.

Laetitia McKenzie (Grad dip teach:ECE, Post grad dip specialist teaching ASD)

Laetitia (Tish) has 20 years teaching experience working with learners from diverse backgrounds and completed the Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching in 2018 with an endorsement in autism (with Distinction). She has joined the Altogether Autism team as an Autism Specialist Facilitator.

She has a sound knowledge of autism, evidence-based interventions and interprofessional practice. Demonstrating manaakitanga in her work is a value she holds closely, and it is her priority that learners and their whānau know that they are cared about, valued and respected. Tish currently works as an early childhood teacher and is a mother of a young child with support needs.

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 and is a facilitator for Explore Specialist Advice. Cat has completed (with Distinction) the Post Graduate Diploma of Specialist Teaching: Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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 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 PRISM since 2014.

She takes seriously the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ and seeks autistic input for both the content and delivery of PRISM. 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.