The Autism Accreditation department has 15 members of staff, including 11 advisors who work around the UK.

Head of Accreditation

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell has worked as a professional social worker in Learning Disability, Mental Health and Autism services throughout his 35 year career. He has held various posts at senior managerial levels in the voluntary sector for 15 of these, including an earlier four year period as Head of Adult Services with The National Autistic Society and three years as the Deputy Chief Executive of the Association for Real Change.

From 2008-2015, Chris led and managed the establishment, operational development and service delivery of the well-known and respected Nottinghamshire Adults with Asperger’s Team.

Chris was a member of the External Reference Group which informed the introduction of the Autism Act and Autism Strategy for England, and later, he was a member of the NICE Quality Standards Committee in Autism. He has the CQSW, an MA in Applied Psychology and the Post Graduate Certificate in Asperger’s Syndrome delivered in partnership by the NAS and Sheffield Hallam University.

Contact:
Chris Mitchell
Head of Accreditation
Tel: 0117 9748438
Email: chris.mitchell@nas.org.uk

Northern UK and overseas

Christine Flintoft-Smith

Christine has worked for in a variety of different roles within The National Autistic Society for a number of years. Working with both children and adults throughout the North East and North Yorkshire, in provisions such as supported living, employment, education, inclusion projects and outreach.
 
Christine has been a passionate supporter of various initiatives implemented within supporting those on the autism spectrum such as personalisation of services and participation, and has worked closely alongside departments and people that are supported to ensure that these are understood and embedded within practice.
 
Christine now leads a team of Advisors in the North, including Lancashire, Yorkshire, Tyneside and Scotland. Christine has a background in psychology and began her career in autism from university, and believes that experience has been the biggest learning tool of all.

Contact:
Christine Flintoft-Smith
Senior Accreditation Advisor (North)
Mobile: 07766 315 661
Email: christine.flintoft-smith@nas.org.uk

Greater Manchester and Lancashire

Rachel Gittens

Rachel has over 20 years’ experience working with children with autism and/or additional and complex needs. Her initial interest in supporting others stems from her early experiences growing up when her parents fostered children with additional needs.

Rachel has worked as a teaching assistant in mainstream and specialist provision, including private settings and schools, gaining invaluable hands on experience and supporting the learning, development and attainment of young people with autism. For 12 years Rachel worked for a local authority as an early years additional and complex needs advisor, advising parents, early years settings and schools. She has a BA in Special Educational Needs and a Diploma in Management Studies.

Rachel has a number of family members on the spectrum, this personal insight along with her professional experience advising services gives her a real enthusiasm for person-centred services and best autism practice.

Contact:
Rachel Gittens
Accreditation Advisor
Mobile: 07436 036 722
Email: rachel.gittens@nas.org.uk

Scotland

Stephen Pyott

Stephen has been a teacher since 1993, working in a variety of school settings both within the UK and overseas including mainstream, generic special needs and autism-specific environments. He has also worked in both day and residential schools.

Stephen joined the Autism Accreditation team in August 2003. He has a first class honours degree in education, a postgraduate certificate in Asperger syndrome and recently graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a MA in autism.

Contact:
Stephen Pyott
Accreditation Advisor
Tel/Fax: 01563 559 258
Mobile: 07766 311 966
Email: stephen.pyott@nas.org.uk

North East of England

Richard Cooper

Richard has been supporting children and adults with autism and/or special and complex needs since 1987, and has been a Registered Nurse for Learning Disabilities since 1990.

During this time he has worked within the NHS in residential and day care services, as the Registered Manager of an independent sector residential home, manager at a residential home for deaf/blind adults and, before recently joining the NAS, spent 13 years as a senior manager within an autism specific service, 6 years in its residential school before moving to open up the groups new adult provision.

Richard also has a son with autism so finds every day contains a new learning experience.

Contact:
Richard Cooper
Accreditation Advisor
Mobile: 07423 434770
Email: richard.cooper@nas.org.uk

North West of England

Liz Eddowes

Liz has over 25 years experience of working with children and young people with autism. As a teacher she has worked in both generic special schools and autism specific schools and units. She has also undertaken outreach work into schools, early years settings, and out of school clubs.
 
Liz worked for Autism Accreditation in 2010 completing a 6 month temporary contract as an Advisor, she rejoined the team in December 2011. Liz has a degree in Special Education and has postgraduate qualifications in Autism, and Education Management.

Contact:
Liz Eddowes
Accreditation Advisor
Tel/Fax: 0151 342 6197
Mobile: 07810 418 144
Email: liz.eddowes@nas.org.uk

Southern UK and overseas

Stephen Dedridge

Stephen has been a teacher since 1987, becoming the SENCO of a mainstream comprehensive high school in Hertfordshire before working as a consultant on autism spectrum disorders for the London Borough of Ealing SENS team.

In August 2007, Stephen became an Autism Accreditation advisor. Since July 2014, Stephen has been leading a team of Advisors in the South, Midlands and Wales. He has postgraduate certificates in both education and psychology and an RSA diploma in special educational needs. Stephen wrote a chapter on including pupils with ASD for the book Looking At Inclusion: Listening To The Voices Of Young People. Stephen is approaching his final year of his Masters in Disability Studies at the University of Bristol.

Contact:
Stephen Dedridge
Senior Accreditation Advisor (South)
Tel: 020 8863 3811
Mobile: 07766 311 964
Email: stephen.dedridge@nas.org.uk

South Wales and the South West

David Slocombe

David has been working in the education sector since 1987, working in a variety of schools and colleges in the UK and the Middle East.  David has also recently worked closely alongside adults with learning difficulties and autism in South Wales, helping with access to employment opportunities.  David has a keen personal interest in developing all aspects of service provision for people with autism, as two of his family members are on the spectrum.  This has given David years of experience from the point of view of a parent.

David joined the Accreditation team in July 2014 and is very much looking forward to working with and supporting all types of provisions through the process in Wales and the South West.

Contact:
David Slocombe
Accreditation Advisor
Mobile: 07917 088 095
Email: david.slocombe@nas.org.uk

Central England

Stephanie de Vries

Stephanie has been working in the field of autism since 2007. Before becoming an Accreditation Advisor, she was the Autism Lead at a specialist residential school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Stephanie successfully led the school through the Accreditation programme which led to her interest in becoming an advisor.

Prior to working as an Autism Lead Stephanie practised as a fully-qualified Homeopath for several years during which time she supported many children with autism and their families.

Stephanie has a Post Graduate Certificate in Asperger syndrome.

Contact:
Stephanie de Vries
Accreditation Advisor
Tel: 07764 564661
Email: Stephanie.devries@nas.org.uk

East Anglia and London

Hannelore Bout

Hannelore has worked in the field of autism since 1997. She started in an adult residential setting, then worked in an outreach service for both adults and children with autism, learning difficulties and Asperger syndrome. Hannelore has successfully managed day services for the past ten years.

Hannelore studied art therapy (BA/ MA) in Holland and the UK. She has also studied human resource management and has PGcerts in SEN, autism/Asperger syndrome and learning difficulties. These reflect her interests and dedication to the development in approaches that help people with autism and staff development.

Hannelore has worked with accreditation standards since 2000 and has been through the process of becoming accredited several times.

Contact:
Hannelore Bout
Accreditation Advisor
Mobile: 07766 497 999
Email: hannelore.bout@nas.org.uk

London and South East

Lana Holmes (on maternity leave until 2017)

Lana has worked in adult residential services for people with autism and learning disabilities since 2006. During this time she supported staff to develop communication techniques, social inclusion and positive behavioural support practices to improve the quality of life of people with complex and challenging needs.

Lana has successfully supported services achieve Accreditation status and in 2010 was a finalist in the National Care Awards. Lana has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Psychology and Counselling and a Postgraduate Masters in Behavioural Analysis and Autism from the Tizard Centre-University of Kent. Both her experience and education reflect her passion for supporting and developing services to meet the needs of the people they support.

Contact:
Lana Holmes
Accreditation Advisor
Mobile: 07768 926592
Email: lana.holmes@nas.org.uk

Sue Granger

Sue has worked with autism children and adults in a variety of provisions over the past 20 years, including advocacy, education, outreach and respite care. During this time she has supported autistic individuals with complex needs using interventions such as Intensive Interaction, SPELL and TEACCH, and provided training on managing behaviour and sensory needs.

From 2013 to 2016 Sue set up and ran a support service for families and adults affected by autism in West Berkshire for The National Autistic Society, which included 1:1 support for adults and delivering training seminars and support direct to families and schools. This has also led to an ongoing volunteer support project for autistic adults in West Berkshire.

Sue originally studied biology and neuroscience leading to a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biological Sciences and a PhD awarded for research into neurological differences associated with theory of mind and conscious processing. Since then she has graduated with an MSc (distinction) in Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities with Multi-Sensory Impairments, focussing specifically on the use of Intensive Interaction with autistic people.

Contact:
Sue Granger
Accreditation Advisor
Mobile: 
Email: sue.granger@nas.org.uk 

London and Home Counties

Nicola Kennedy

Nicola has spent most of her career working in special and mainstream education. Most recently, she has been working in further education supporting young people on the autism spectrum with college study and beyond.

Nicola has completed a BA (Hons) and an MA in Education with particular focus on autism. She also has a PGCE in Lifelong Learning. Nicola’s passion for working with people with autism has led her to this role as an advisor and she is looking forward to supporting a range of provisions through the accreditation process. 

Contact:
Nicola Kennedy
Accreditation Advisor
Mobile: 07766 990089
Email: nicola.kennedy@nas.org.uk