Who are we at tips for AUTISM?

In 2018, we had 24 facilitators, with over 100 combined years of experience facilitating face-to-face courses.  They were all involved in the online course and on the right is a brief profile for each.


They are all experienced facilitators, tuned in to the latest evidence, and have real life examples to make theory practical.


Who developed tips? 

tips was developed by Keryn Mells who is a journalist, a primary school teacher and has family experience of ASD.

It has grown and developed with the input of many people including the late Joanna Curzon and our facilitator group. 

Facilitators and contributors

Andrea Graham lives in West Auckland with her three sons and currently works for IDEA Services ASD Team. Andrea has completed a wide variety of ASD training and intervention including person centred planning, future visioning and solution-focused therapy. She is a Registered Nurse, Registered Midwife, has the Post-graduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching (Autism) from Massey University and is now studying psychotherapy. Andrea says her most significant learning has been through her parenting experience, coupled with ongoing professional development.

Bern Hocquard is a NZ trained primary school teacher who is currently working as Resource Teacher for Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) in the Marlborough/Kaikoura region. She has personal family experience with ASD and she has worked with children with ASD for 14 years in schools within the UK.

Bridget Carter is a mother of two beautiful boys on the autism spectrum who inspire her to look at the world from a different perspective.  She is trained as an early childhood teacher and has been involved as a presenter of “Inclusion in Schools” to early childhood audiences (both pre-service and trained educators).  She is also a support parent for Parent to Parent and has been involved as a committee member for Autism New Zealand.

Cat Noakes-Duncan is the mother of three amazing children, two of her children are on the autism spectrum. Cat is currently undertaking the post Graduate Diploma in specialist teaching (ASD) and has founded a playgroup for children on the spectrum, their siblings and families. 

Cath Schofield works a specialist teacher with students with ASD in a special school.  She has previously taught children with ASD in a variety of settings and has worked on projects for the National Autistic Society in the United Kingdom.

Cheryl Palmer is a speech-language therapist for the Ministry of Education, based in Palmerston North. Cheryl has a long-term involvement with ASD in many different settings. She presents many workshops in this interest area.

Dean Sutherland is a speech-language therapist who works at the University of Canterbury. Supporting adults in developing meaningful relationships with children with autism is a long-standing interest. Dean has also published research and presented at international conferences on communication development and autism.

Dervla Beaumont  is a Practice Advisor who currently works for the Ministry of Education in Auckland.  Prior to moving to New Zealand, she worked in London and Dublin with school-aged children.  Working with children with autism has always been an area of interest and she especially enjoys working as part of a team to maximise a child's communication potential.

Hanna Randall is a mother of 3 wonderful children, one of whom has a diagnosis of ASD.  She has a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and a Graduate Diploma in Special Education.  She has been working with whanau, children and teaching teams for the last 15 years.

Janine Moran has both professional and family experience with ASD. She is an educational psychologist in private practice and has been a tips for autism facilitator since 2008. Her background includes working for the Ministry of Education on the National ASD Team and as a psychologist with ORS-verified learners in Hawke's Bay.

Jenny Lee has had many years experience teaching from secondary to early childhood. She is the parent of two teenage children, one of whom is on the autistic spectrum.

Joleen Millward is currently an Incredible Years regional co-ordinator for the Northern region. She has worked as an Early Intervention Teacher with the Ministry of Education for 14 years. During this time a highlight has been supporting Whanau and their children with autism especially in relation to transitions into Early Childhood Education and school. Joleen has also been a Ministry of Education representative on the ASD pathway panel which is a collaborative team made up of paediatricians, the ASD co-ordinator ADHB and two Ministry of Education staff. 

Keryn Mells is a journalist, a primary school teacher and has family experience of ASD. She is the developer and Project Leader of tips for autism. She was a member of the NZ ASD Guideline Implementation Advisory Group and the Intersectoral Advisory Reference Group. She has presented at several national forums and been involved in a number of national research and professional development initiatives.

Kerry McBride is the parent of a young adult with ASD. Kerry is also an Early Intervention Teacher at Special Education and considers that it has been a privilege to work with a large number of young children with ASD and their families. She believes that young people with ASD can teach us as much about the world as we can teach them.

Kerryn Long is a special education advisor within the Ministry of Education in Manukau. She has a long-term involvement with ASD as a specialist teacher in England and New Zealand. Kerryn has worked in special school, boarding and mainstream settings. She has been an advisor since 2003.

Kristy Haslam is a mother of two children, one of whom is diagnosed with ASD. Kristy is also an educational psychologist who has worked at the Ministry of Education and currently works at Explore Specialist Advice providing behaviour support to parents and caregivers of individuals diagnosed with disabilities or autism. Her background includes several years’ experience working with children with autism in the US and NZ as a therapist and teacher aide.

Lauren Forster is a speech language therapist currently working for the Ministry of Education in Auckland. Since qualifying as and SLT in 2007, she has significant experience in working with young people on the autism spectrum, including in specialist settings. 

Maria Boolieris has worked with children and young people with ASD for many years in the health sector and special schools.  Her current role is working alongside children with ASD, their families and education staff as an occupational therapist for the Ministry of Education.  She also has personal family experience with ASD.

Megan Fidler is a parent, teacher and researcher, and is currently working as a Senior Advisor at the Ministry of Education in Otepoti/ Dunedin. Megan holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Education with an endorsement in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. She and her husband parent three young adults, one of which is on the autistic spectrum. Megan has daily lived experience and theoretical knowledge about surviving and thriving on the autistic spectrum. 

Muno Richards is a speech- language therapist in independent practice in Wellington after having worked for the Ministry of Education. She has worked in special education for the past 25 years both in the early childhood and compulsory sector. Muno has had significant involvement with ASD support- teams and is a trainer for Autism NZ in the NAS Early Bird and HELP programmes.

Naomi Grigg is a Speech Language Therapist working for the Ministry of Education In this role she has worked with a number of children and their families who have ASD. Naomi is Hanen trained in the 'More than Words' parent programme.

Philippa Williams is a mother of 5 amazing young adults and is part of a family that has lived experience of autism. Her role as an early childhood teacher sees her working closely with parents and whanau to offer accommodations for children with sensory needs, and strategies that support the development of social communication. Her interest in ASD has led her to complete the Post-graduate Diploma of Specialist Teaching (Early Intervention) at Canterbury University and she has completed 3 further papers towards the ASD endorsement at Massey University.

Richard Belton has a background in secondary education. He is currently working with a centre for people with high needs disabilities and is also a life member of Autism New Zealand. He has an adult son with ASD.

Sharyn Gousmett is as an educational psychologist for the Ministry of Education.  She works with children (including children with ASD) aged between 3 and 15 years, their families and schools.  In 2012, she completed the Diploma of Specialist Teaching (ASD) at Massey University.

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