I have taught in special schools since 1988 having experience in both the maintained and non- maintained sector. I have been a school leader since 2004 and am committed to training and developing staff to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs in order to maximise their potential. I have a particular interest in strategies that enable families to successfully understand and manage autism and other communication barriers as well as strategies to promote positive mental health. I am a keen practitioner researcher and seek to use and discover the most effective approaches for children that will make a long term difference to their life opportunities. I have worked in a voluntary capacity for various different organisations over the years, most recently for the Livability / Prospects charity where I support young people and adults with learning disabilities and communication needs to integrate successfully into their local communities.