Over the past 18 years Dee has gained extensive experience in working with children and adults across the spectrum, whether they have High Functioning Autism / Asperger Syndrome or have classical autism with and without other learning difficulties. Her experience ranges from children and young adults, both within mainstream and special educational settings. Dee has an excellent theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding of Autistic Spectrum Disorders and conditions and engages in continuing professional development in this area.
Dee’s previous roles have included Lead Teacher of ASD and Teacher in charge of a primary school ASD Resource base, which she set up. The ARB offered 8 places for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, all of whom have a diagnosis and a statement of Special Educational Needs and range from Nursery/Reception to Year 6 and their levels range from P Scales to Level 4. The amount of time spent in class varied according to the abilities and needs of each individual. Wherever possible, the children joined their class for lessons and activities and were included in class trips and other projects. As Lead Autism teacher, Dee devised appropriate and differentiated Individual Education Plans, which take account of pupils’ need to access the full National Curriculum, with specific reference to the thinking and learning styles of pupils with ASD. Her aim was to involve all children in the social and academic life of the school. As Lead Teacher for Autism, Dee disseminated the most effective teaching approaches for pupils with ASD and she was also a founding member of a working group to develop good autism practice within the borough.
As an ASD practitioner, Dee is passionate about autism awareness and sharing good practice. She is available to deliver high quality training and run regular staff and parent training, for example What is Autism?, 5 point scale, Sensory Processing, ASD Friendly environment, Visual Communication, Differentiation within the classroom and created specific training for lunch time staff on ‘AS in the playground’.
Dee has an energy about her that cannot be rivalled by many and her personality and drive are infectious.
“If a child cannot learn in the way WE teach, we must teach in a way THE CHILD can learn” ~Ignacio Estrada
Rhonwen is passionate about inclusive education and believes that ALL children can learn. She holds her Masters in Teaching Early Childhood Special Education and her roles have included teaching in inclusive classrooms where she was the case manager for all children with special needs (age 3-7), teaching self-contained classrooms where she could focus on individual students needs and target specific needs such as social/emotional/behavioral skills, home visits with families and their children with special needs as an early interventionist (age 0-3), and conducting comprehensive evaluations to determine whether or not children qualified to receive special education services. Collaborating closely with other teachers, caregivers, and healthcare providers to ensure that all children reach their full potential is Rhonwen’s passion and expertise. Rhonwen continues to attend conventions and trainings and uses evidence-based practices.
Rhonwen’s life has been largely impacted by children and adults with special needs. She began working as a counsellor for teens with autism in 2001. She grew up with friends and family members with disabilities and her desire to help others and her natural curiosity of the world led her to a research, science based bachelors degree. Throughout university she also worked as a personal care attendant for children with autism and nannied for young children (age 0-12). She worked thousands of hours after university with people with developmental disabilities doing direct care. She has always been a passionate advocate for under-served populations and fiercely believes all humans deserve to be seen, included, and respected. As a teacher, she strives to ensure every child’s needs are met through differentiation, modifications, and adaptations. She has an ability to make every child she serves feel safe and supported so that they can achieve learning outcomes and maintain positive social relationships with other children.