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Lesley Evans, BA Hons

Business Development Officer

With a BA Hons in Marketing, Lesley brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role. Having spent over 25 years in the corporate sector, running her own businesses, she has worked with a range of private, public and third sector clients. Lesley has responsibility for designing and managing ANS's events, the smooth operation of the office and with lived experience offers support to Health and Social Care Partnerships and other partners to improve secure better outcomes for autistic people. With a keen interest in employability, Lesley was Chair of a social enterprise assisting women back into the workplace for 10 years and manages the Autism Aware Glasgow City Project. Having recently completed The COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills at the University of Strathclyde, Lesley is continuing her studies in this field by embarking upon a Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling.

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Lynsey Stewart, BA Hons

Capacity Building and Network Co-ordinator

With an honours degree in Psychology, Lynsey is currently in her third year of a Masters in Autism (Adults) where her research focus is autism and dementia. Lynsey was the author of the Autism Supplement to the Principles of Good Transitions 3 and co-produced the Because Life Happens: Autism Across the Lifespan E-learning resource. Lynsey is lead improvement officer for ageing, transitions and employment. She leads on the Autism Aware Glasgow City Project and sits on the steering group of Strathclyde University Project SEARCH. Lynsey believes in the importance of participatory research and of ensuring autistic people are at the heart of all work and research that she undertakes. Lynsey is lead improvement officer for the following geographical areas: Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire (North, South and East), East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Moray, Orkney, Shetland, West Dunbartonshire, Western Isles.

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Richard Ibbotson, BPhil

Director

Our Director, Richard brings over 20 years of senior management experience with most of this time at Director level within Autism specific organisations. Originally nurse trained he has worked across the NHS, Social Work and the voluntary sectors. He has a particular interest in autism and employability having established 3 social enterprises employing autistic adults, is chair of a small charity promoting supported self-employment for autistic adults and has chaired the ANS employability forum. In addition, he has interests in autism and criminal justice, complex needs and hoarding condition.

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Christine Collingwood, Diploma in Social Work, CQSW, PQCSWE

Network Co-ordinator

Christine has professional qualifications in social work and social work education. She worked with children and families , and for several years managed a social work team in which child protection was the priority. She has been involved with autistic children and adults at various stages of their life journey and joined the Network in 2017, her specialism being Early Years. Christine engages with the Autism Strategy Leads from the following regions: Edinburgh, the Lothians (East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian) and the Scottish Borders, and from 2020, Dumfries and Galloway. Recently, Christine has worked with Education in Inverclyde on a pilot study looking at transitions in early years: including pre and post-diagnostic autism support for parents and more recently explored what is needed to better support parents. Christine has lectured in communication skills, worked in the field of health and research and in the charitable sector. She has a keen interest in criminal justice and has been a prison visitor, supporting an individual "through the gate" over a long period.

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Thom Kirkwood, Ph.D.  MAPM,  FIntAPA. FRSA

Engagement and Participation Officer

Thom has served our communities for over forty years with thirty of those years dedicating his knowledge and expertise to autism. His career has been multi faceted straddling public, private and voluntary sectors operating at individual, corporate, local and national levels. He has also served on many policy review forums in areas of Education, Economic Development, Health, Housing and Social Care. Thom is a former member of the Scottish Strategy for Autism Governance Group, Chair of the former parent carer sub group and member of the wider engagement group. As well as facilitating contributor to the NES NHS Training review group, a contributory member of Families and Carers, Employment and Wider Opportunities, transitions work groups within Stirling Clackmannanshire Council Autism Development Plan. Thom has undertaken associate input to other key policy areas of GIFREC and Advocacy. He is a current member of Scottish Strategy for Autism Review Group and was an adviser to the Independent Review of Mental Health Legislation. Within Autism Network Scotland Thom leads on advocacy, with some emphasis on parental advocacy, and co-produces information and advice by the community for the community. He is also co-producing the ongoing work on assistive travel with one of the Network’s autistic associates. Out with the professional environment, Thom is a single parent of 24 year old autistic daughter, diagnosed just before her 3rd birthday. He enjoys rugby, formula 1, all kinds of music, and has recently taken up the clarinet. Thom is also a specialist trainer for Brain In Hand.

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Corrie McLean BA Hons, PGde (Primary)

Training and Enquiries Officer

Corrie has professional qualifications in English literature and teaching. They have a background in primary teaching as well as teaching children and young people with additional support needs across all ages. Corrie is a carer of an autistic sibling and has lived experience. They have spent a decade working with autistic pupils in various roles, and was previously an Autism Improvement Officer at ANS, leading on Education. In their previous role, Corrie trained teachers nationally on how to make their practice more autism inclusive. They recently co-wrote the new Relationship, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) Scottish Curriculum. As a member of the Autism team at the University of Strathclyde as training and enquiries officer, Corrie works closely with the team at the Network and co-delivered the PGDE professional specialism module for PGDE students at the University of Strathclyde.