Counsellors, Psychologists & Other Workers

(Please scroll down to see all staff)

Please note that access to the psychologist, speech and language therapist, and paediatric occupational therapist is through the counselling and assessment service only, for these are services that are adjuncts to the main service which is autism-specialist counselling therapy. We refer to such colleagues when the counselling process highlights a need for their respective services for the client. All HCPC practitioners have private practices outside of their charitable role with Action for Asperger’s.

Debbie King

Adv.Dip. Counselling

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I am a fully qualified counsellor with over 10 years experience working with both adults and children. I am experienced in working with relationship issues with individuals, couples or families. I am a British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) registered therapist and adhere to the BACP code of ethics.

My interest in autism spectrum disorders and Asperger’s comes from personal experience of being in a relationship with a partner with undiagnosed Asperger’s. My experience has enabled me to fully understand why communication is key in relationships – especially when a neuro-diverse condition such as autism strongly features.

I feel that my familial knowledge enhances my work supporting individuals who are on the autism spectrum and those who are their nearest and dearest. I have worked in the voluntary sector, privately and in educational settings providing support. I am able to offer support via the medium of Skype/FT consultations. Contact via: [email protected]

Michaela Turner (Mikki)

Dip. Counselling – Counsellor 

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I am a qualified Person-Centred Integrative therapist. My own ‘Asperger-y thinking’ enhances my understanding of the experiential world of people on the autism spectrum. I feel that my own unique understanding informs me well and underlines the importance of the need for strong autism awareness and autism support during the crucial time that is childhood. Remaining mindful that everyone experiences autism differently, I aspire to connect with an individual’s unique experience. I have experience of working with bereavement and currently also work as a counsellor promoting mental health and wellbeing for a charity in Suffolk. Continuing professional development training, reflective personal development and supervision underpin my work. I am a registered member of the BACP and receive regular supervision to ensure safe and ethical practice. Contact via: [email protected]

Helen Eales

Bsc (Hons) cert MRCSLT regHCPC MASLTIP

Speech and Language Therapist

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I have worked as a Speech and Language Therapist since 2006, initially within the NHS and more recently as an independent practitioner. I am a certified member of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and registered with the regulatory body the HCPC. I am also a member of the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP).

I am passionate about my work as a Speech and Language Therapist. I am experienced in providing assessment, advice and therapy for children and young people with a range of speech, language and communication needs, including ASD and related conditions. I like to work closely with families and educational settings to ensure that the children I work with are supported throughout all the different areas of their lives.

I have grown up with Asperger’s Syndrome in my family and now have a young son of my own with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. Contact via: [email protected]

Dr Kate Baldry, BSc, DClinPsy

Chartered Clinical Psychologist

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I have worked in the field of clinical psychology for 9 years and currently split my time between working in a NHS community team and my independent practice in Northampton. I am a chartered member of the British Psychological Society and registered with the regulatory body, the HCPC. I specialise in working with both children and adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disabilities and have worked in these areas both within the NHS and privately throughout my career. I have completed post-qualification training in the use of the ADOS-2, a diagnostic tool for the assessment of autism and I am currently completing further training in an additional autism diagnostic tool.

In addition to my work in the assessment and diagnosis of autism, I also work therapeutically with children and adults with autism, drawing upon different psychological therapies and adapting these to meet individual need. I also work with parents and carers to support with behavioural difficulties and challenging behaviour. This involves applying functional analysis and Positive Behavioural Support to understand behaviour and identify strategies to reduce challenging behaviour and develop replacement, appropriate skills. Contact via: [email protected] [email protected]

Rachael Gartland 
Paediatric Occupational Therapist

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Since being a young child I have always enjoyed helping others and supporting those with disabilities. I particularly like the rewarding outcome of watching children with disabilities learn to achieve daily skills which others may take for granted.

I have been working in the NHS as part of a Child Development Centre since qualifying as an Occupational Therapist (OT). I am now working as an Independent Children’s OT specialising in 0-19 years. I have experience with a range of physical disabilities and neurodevelopmental difficulties including ASD and ADHD. I have worked as part of the Multi-Disciplinary Team assessing for Autistic Spectrum Disorders and providing therapy for children post-diagnosis. I have also been working in schools and nurseries to provide strategies and interventions that aid learning and promote access to the curriculum.

I have a special interest in Sensory difficulties and the impact this can have on behaviour and daily living.  I have passed my level 1 Sensory Integration Practitioner training and I am due to complete level 3 in September 2017.

Within my role I offer various training sessions for parents and other professionals to help them gain a better understanding of the difficulties faced by their child/children and how best they can support them. I believe that empowering families and those working with the child is the key to a successful outcome.

I am very passionate about supporting children and families and I understand this from my own lived experience of autism, not just academically.

I can support children/teenagers and young adults to maximise their participation in daily life, this can include: self care (dressing,eating,toileting, sleeping, washing; leisure (playing or hobbies); productivity (school/ college work). Contact via: [email protected]

Elaine Nicholson, MBE, MA, PGC, DMS      
Founder & Counsellor

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More information about me can be found on the  ‘about the founder‘ page. I work from our Corby (Northamptonshire) office via 1:1 or Skype consultancy. I have over 2,000 hours of counselling lives affected by autism, and have plenty of personal experience (relationships and parenting) that has been gleaned over a 20-year period.  I am a National Autistic Society Approved Counsellor with a Master’s Degree in Autism, alongside a Post-Graduate Certificate in Asperger’s Syndrome. I am also a BACP registered counsellor.

Living with someone who has Asperger’s syndrome can at times be heartbreaking, but it can also make you stronger. Similarly, life as an Asperger’s individual can be difficult trying to make yourself understood amongst your neurotypical family and peers. At AfA we get you from both sides! It may be tough to make that first call to our office, but you are promised respect, understanding and confidentiality when you do. Contact via: [email protected] or [email protected]


Ryan Tebbit, Dip. Counselling, MA


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I am a qualified and experienced therapist who specialises in working with adults and children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) including Asperger Syndrome. I am a registered member of the BACP and adhere to their ethical framework. I receive regular supervision, both individual supervision and group supervision and attend continuing training and development, both personal and professional. I also have  experience of living with autism and mental health difficulties. Having high functioning autism allows me to relate more deeply to my autistic clients and can give me unique insight into their world. This means that I work with an insiders view of ASD. Some clients have commented that they are so glad to have finally found someone that ‘gets them’. Contact via: [email protected]


Chrissy Nikel, BA (Hons), Dip. Counselling


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I studied the Advanced Diploma in Counselling at Tresham College in Kettering and went on to work at the Child and Adolescent Bereavement Service based at Northampton General Hospital for nearly three years. There I counselled children and young people who had experienced loss and bereavement. I trained as a Humanistic Counsellor using a Person-Centred approach and also have familial experience of autism. I have a background of working with children and young people in various settings. I have also worked for many years as a Parent Practitioner, supporting parents with parenting issues and delivering parenting classes and have worked with the whole family to create action plans to solve pressing problems. I also run Laughter workshops. I have familial experience of autism. Contact via: [email protected]


Kate Pode, BA, MSc Special Ed, PGC Autism 



My interest in autism was first sparked when my son and nephew were diagnosis with Asperger’s.  Thanks to them I identify with the thought processes and sense of difference; understand and enjoy the unique view of the world; the pattern of logic and sense of inter-connectivity that is sometimes exhibited.

One of my strengths is my ability to assess and review individuals, to identifying the motivation behind behaviours exhibited and to assist with coping strategies.

Whilst gaining the necessary qualifications to help my family I have built up over twenty years of experience in supporting children with learning difficulties.  I possess a strong understanding of intellectual impairments and learning styles and have a keen understanding of how these difficulties manifest as co-morbitants for individuals on the continuum.

I continue to attend conferences and keep current on research in the field in such things as dietary developments, sensory integration difficulties, medical advances, including neuro-imagery, and the best way to design and deliver the social skills and communication courses. Contact via: [email protected]


Kathy Parry, Emotional Support Worker


I qualified as a Social Worker at Nene University, Northampton in 1987 and worked for the Local Authority until 2009.  During my working life I have worked in Child Care, Youth Justice, Learning Disability, Care Management and Mental Health.  I therefore, have a wide breadth of knowledge and have supported many families who have been touched by Autism.

In particular I have a personal interest in Aspergers Syndrome and the devastating effects it can have on family life.  Having lived with a member of my own family with undiagnosed Aspergers for years I believe I can offer true empathetic support and encouragement to family members who are often at a loss to know where to turn for support and understanding.  I feel passionate about raising the awareness of what I believe to be a totally misunderstood and truly hidden disability. Contact via: [email protected]


Gita Savage, Emotional Support Worker


I have many years personal experience with understanding ASD, as I have a member of my own family who has Asperger’s. It has made me realise through my own struggles that more support needs to be made available to families from all aspects. I am truly aware of the challenges and difficulties families are faced with when a member of their family is given or is suspected of being on the autistic spectrum.

My role within Action for Asperger’s is to carry out initial consultations with clients and families, together with providing ongoing emotional support if required. During my personal autism journey, a brilliant counsellor who completely understood my life experience and gave me the confidence in managing my family member, supported me. Being heard makes a huge difference to people’s lives.

I am currently a volunteer support worker for a charity called Lowdown in Northampton. The charity supports young people between the ages of 12-25 dealing with all aspects of adolescent issues. My role is to counsel young people using the (humanistic) person centred approach.

I also volunteer as a support worker for a charity called Homestart. Homestart supports young families in their home environments, with the focus being on children under the age of 5 years. I have been doing this role for over 8 years. My personal experience and understanding of autism means that I am usually allocated the families who have children with Autism or Asperger syndrome.

Contact via: [email protected]


Sam Sefton, Secretary


I originally trained and worked in London as a PA in the city and moved to Northampton in 2000. I have two children diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and previous experience includes running a parent support group for children and families on the spectrum and volunteering at a local autism charity. Contact: [email protected]


Lorna Hession, Accounts

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Originally from Manchester, I moved to Northamptonshire 5 years ago. I started my career as a PA and took on some finance duties, the roll developed further which lead me to becoming an accounting technician. I have worked in Finance for 12 years.

As a mother of two young children, aged 8 and 5, child welfare is a subject close to my heart.

Contact via: [email protected]