Gita manages the Autism Family Support service and responsibilities include development, training, fundraising, partnership work, and staffing. Gita works full time and takes the lead in strategic development, including local and national consultation and strategy. She is a member of the Oxfordshire Autism Partnership Board.
07929 379125 Email Gita
Family Support Worker
Becky is often the first point of contact for parents and carers. Becky provides autism-specific information, support and advice to parents, as well as managing referrals to our youth groups. Becky is also available to provide advice and consultation to professionals supporting Oxfordshire families. Becky has a background in behaviour management and autism. She works full time and covers the whole of Oxfordshire and is community-based.
07929 379124 Email Becky
Community Outreach Worker
Sam joined us in January 2013 to help us extend our work into adult services. Sam provides autism-specific information; support and advice to young people aged 14-25, and their parents/carers as well as managing referrals to some of our older youth groups. Sam is available to provide advice and consultation to professionals supporting 14-25 year olds within Oxfordshire. She has a background in developing services and supporting adults on the spectrum. She works full time and covers the whole of Oxfordshire and is community-based.
07975 600625 Email Sam
Befriending Scheme Coordinator
Jenny coordinates our Befriending Scheme. She is responsible for recruiting, placing and supporting volunteers, as well as liaising with families who would like a Befriender. Jenny works part time 16 hours per week. She has a background in teaching and previously taught children with special educational needs.
Youth Group Coordinator (Saturday mornings)
Rachel runs our youth group for 8-12 year olds with Asperger’s Syndrome. She has a wealth of experience supporting children on the autism spectrum, with particular experience working in schools and supporting children in leisure activities
Youth Group Coordinator (Thursday & Friday evenings)
Dorothy runs our teenage youth groups on Fridays in Wolvercote, and co-runs the ‘Stuff’ youth group on Thursdays with Abingdon Early Intervention Hub. Dorothy is also a qualified Art Therapist and has experience of working with children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Youth Group Coordinator (Wednesday evenings)
Claire runs our youth group for 16-21 year olds with Asperger’s Syndrome. Claire has a wealth of experience supporting young people and adults on the autism spectrum in schools, college, and their natural environments.
Youth Support Worker
Bob supports young people in both our Friday evening and Saturday morning youth groups. He also has experience of running mainstream after-school clubs and holiday clubs. Bob is a parent of a young adult with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Youth Support Worker
Nathaniel supports young people at our Saturday morning group for 8-12 year olds. Nathaniel also has experience as a Learning Mentor working within education, as well as mainstream play schemes.
Youth Support Worker
Hannah supports young people in our youth group for 16-21 yr olds with Aspergers Syndrome. In her day job Hannah works for the local authority supporting young people on the autism spectrum to access education, by providing individual support and integration in a mainstream secondary school.
Our office admin is carried out by a team of fabulous volunteers who dedicate their time in the office, helping with events, and sometimes working from home – we would be lost without them!
Judith has been volunteering in the office on a weekly basis since 2008. She regularly sends emails to parents on our mailing list and processes much of our admin work. She may be the first point of contact for email enquiries. Judith is also a parent of a teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Yoko has been regularly volunteering with us for several years and provides a variety of admin duties including collating our information packs and assisting with mailings and post. Yoko is a parent of an adult on the autism spectrum. She has also volunteered as Befriender, befriending an adult with Asperger’s Syndrome.
We have a team of staff who support young people during our Summer and Easter Activities. All staff are experienced in working with children on the autism spectrum as well as having lots of enthusiasm and a sense of fun!
Board of Trustees
Dr John Richer
Chair of Trustees
John Richer has been involved in the field of autism for over 40 years, at first in research then in clinical practice. As Consultant Clinical Psychologist and department Head in Paediatric Psychology at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford he was fortunate in being able to see a wide range of children with behaviour on the autistic continuum and to meet them when they are very young, as well as following them and their families through to adulthood. He has gained greatly from the knowledge and ideas of the parents and of colleagues from many disciplines. He retired from the NHS in 2010 but retains honorary posts at the Children’s Hospital in Oxford, and the Department of Physiology Anatomy and Genetics in the University of Oxford.
His clinical work involved early diagnosis and treatment of children with a wide range of disabilities and disturbance, including Autistic Spectrum Disorders. He worked closely with Sheila Coates, then Head of the Service for Autism and was consultant to the Service. Since its foundation in the 1970s he was a Trustee of Children in Touch.
Although by training a psychologist, he is by inclination an ethologist. Ethology is the biological study of behaviour which emphasises direct observation of behaviour in natural environments and putting behaviour in a context of evolutionary theory, as well as looking at the immediate causes of behaviour, the long term causes in a child’s development and the function of behaviour. He was fortunate to be taught by the Nobel prize winner Professor Niko Tinbergen when an undergraduate at Oxford, and later to discover that he had come independently to similar views about the structure of autistic children’s behaviour. Professor Tinbergen very kindly donated a large proportion of his Nobel prize money to the work of Children in Touch.
He has written about attachment and social behaviour, communication, the acquisiton of culture and sharing of minds/intersubjectivity in the understanding and treatment of autism, as well as hyperactivity, nutrition and behaviour, behaviour problems, the rise of psychosocial problems in modern societies and ethological approaches to children’s behaviour. With Sheila Coates in 2001 he published the book “Autism – The Search for Coherence”. He is known internationally for his work in autism and other topics in children’s disturbed behaviour, and has lectured around the world on these topics. He has appeared on television and radio many times in this connection, and was link clinician in “Children Behaving Badly”. From time to time he has been asked to help companies, usually multinationals, with psychology related issues, (e.g NPD, background research papers, staff relations, company strategies). He is often asked by Courts to provide expert witness reports.
He has been Honorary Secretary of the Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Chairman and Secretary of their Oxford Branch. He was Assistant Secretary General of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions and on the Editorial Board of an international scientific journal, Ethology and Sociobiology and the Italian Journal ‘Autismo e Disturbi dello Sviluppo’. He was on the Scientific Board of the Japanese society “Four Winds: for Infant Mental Health”. He was founder chairman of the Child Clinical Psychology Special Interest Group (now called the Faculty for Children and Young People), which is part of the British Psychological Society. He is on the Board of Assessors of the journal, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry and of the Human Ethology Bulletin. As well as chairing the Trustees of Children in Touch, he is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Society for Human Ethology, and is a Governor of Northern House school in Oxford.
Jacky is a mother of four grown up children and has lived in Oxfordshire for the last 20 years.
Jacky took a degree in Social Studies and after graduating, began what is now a 30 year career in working with children, young people and their families in both statutory and non- statutory settings. In 1983 Jacky qualified as a Social Worker and since that time has worked for Oxfordshire County Council on the Children’s Disability Team. In 2008 Jacky has been seconded to a Specialist Learning Disability Mental health Team for Children and Adolescents currently known as Oxfordshire Learning Disability CAMHS Team. Her experience on this Team has led to her particular interest in Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Jacky is very committed to supporting young people with Learning Disability and Autism to be able to access the support and services that they, along with their families, may require in order to meet their needs and to flourish. For this reason she was delighted to be approached to join the Trustees of Children in Touch in November 2012 and enjoys using her professional experience to support the on-going and future development of services by Children in Touch.
Nick is an independent Clinical Psychologist with a special interest in developmental disorders. He has a degree in Social Psychology from the University of Sussex and an MSc in Clinical Psychology from the University of Leeds. For most of his career he worked with adults and children with learning disabilities. From 1998 to 2008 he was head of the Psychology Department at the Ridgeway Partnership NHS Trust. He still provides a consultancy to the NHS concerning diagnosis of ASD in adults and supports adults with Aspergers Syndrome in a voluntary capacity. He joined our Board of Trustees in 2011.
Chris’s wife, Sheila, worked with children and families with autism from the early 1970s .
She was a pioneer in developing innovative and therapeutic education and integration of children on the autism spectrum and support of their families. She was a founding Trustee of Children in Touch.
Chris’s own working life was focused in the industry of cementitious materials but along with his family a lot of Chris’s spare time was spent supporting Sheila with the work and development of Children in Touch. After retiring Chris was able to support the Trust more and after Sheila’s death in October 2010 was invited to become a Trustee.
Chris is very pleased to be able to continue to support all the work of the charity, and especially to help organise fundraising events.
Carol is a parent of a severely autistic adult son and my nephew is also on the spectrum. As a family, we have been involved with Children in Touch Trust (CIT) for more than 25 years. The Trust offered a lifeline at diagnosis and has provided crucial practical and emotional support throughout the intervening years.
Carol’s family has been glad to take part in projects, supported by the Trust, to evaluate research into the very best of educational strategy and therapy, to provide cohesive packages of intervention which are now widely accepted as best practice.
Throughout their son’s childhood, and still today, Carol and her family have been heavily involved in fundraising. Carol has excelled in conference and exhibition management on behalf of the Trust including several large fundraising events. Carol and her family have enjoyed the many benefits of a strong CIT parent support network, and have been extremely pleased to assist in raising the profile of the Trust.
On a personal note, following periods working in Norway and The Middle East, Carol has worked in various retail businesses and now owns and directs a retail business in Oxfordshire.
Carol brings a valuable family perspective to the Board of Trustees and our service.
Marian is the mother of 3, now grown up boys, one of whom has Special Educational Needs. She took an Economics and Sociology Degree and then after a couple of years a qualification in Social Work at Bristol University. Working as a Psychiatric Social Worker in Cornwall she developed an interest in Attachment Theory. Since moving to Oxford in 1990 to work as a Specialist Social Worker in Learning Disability based at the Park Hospital, she then took up the post of Co-ordinator of Oxfordshire’s Parent Partnership Service for Parents of Children with SEN in 1999. Marian has been a member of the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health for 35 years and during that time has developed a particular interest in Autism.
Marian originally helped to set up and establish Oxfordshire based play and leisure projects Parasol in 1992 and The John Watson Kids Club in 2001 because she recognised that the play and social needs of young people with Learning Disability and Autism were not being met at that time. She joined the Trustees of Children in Touch in 2009 to contribute to the development of further services for the growing numbers of young people on the Autistic Spectrum.