DR SIMON BIRD
I graduated from the Plymouth University clinical psychology doctoral training programme in 1999. I worked in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Bristol between 2000 and 2016. Between April 2016 and March 2018 I was the lead psychologist for children and young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, but I now work exclusively in private practice. I am eligible for chartered status through the British Psychological Society. I am regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
I am formally trained in the identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), having completed certified courses on the use of the ADOS-2 and the 3Di parental interview. I also specialise in assessment and therapeutic work with adolescents and young adults with mental health difficulties, particularly where these difficulties are co-existent with Autism Spectrum concerns. I have experience of working with the majority of common mental health difficulties and have also worked with young people with learning disabilities, drug and alcohol dependency and complex developmental difficulties.
In my other role, I provide psychological assessments as an expert witness to the Family Courts. This includes work with children and adults who are subject to care proceedings due to child protection concerns, or where there are difficulties establishing acceptable contact and residency arrangements after a parental separation. Sometimes this overlaps with my work with autism, and I have increasingly been instructed to conduct assessments where ASD issues may be present. If you are in this type of situation, please visit my sister site at https://formulate.org.uk.
DR JONATHAN JONES
I graduated from Plymouth University Doctoral Clinical Psychology training in 2002 and have worked in adult mental health and learning disability services in the NHS, the private sector, and in the New Zealand public health service. I have worked with people with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), in various roles, since 1989. I currently work part-time as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in service for adults with Intellectual disability, ASD and mental health difficulties. I have experience of working with children in school and residential settings, adults, families, and care workers in respect of ASD.
I am registered with the Health Professions Council and have extensive experience assessing and diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders since 2005.
I have a very positive view of ASD. I understand that there are many difficulties experienced by people as a result of neurodiversity but that it also brings great strengths and personal qualities.
I graduated from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, as an Occupational Therapist in 2009. Following my training, I briefly worked in hospital and community settings, and then went on to work in specialist education provisions for young people with neurodevelopmental conditions and associated communication and learning difficulties for 10 years. It was during this time that I formally trained in the identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), having completed training on the use of the ADOS-2. Having additionally been formally trained as a certified Ayres Sensory Integration therapist in 2014, my role within education settings consisted of therapeutic intervention, as well as diagnosing individuals with autism, and supporting their families. In 2020 I completed a certified course on the use of the Autism Diagnostic Interview-revised (ADI-r), and have had additional training on the use of the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-revised (RAADS-r). I have since purely been carrying out autism diagnostic assessments for both young people and adults, as well as more recently leading a multidisciplinary team of neurodevelopmental practitioners.
I am regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), and a member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).
Together with Simon and Jonathan and their associates, my hope is that as a team we can enable individuals, and their families, to gain a better understanding of their experiences, gain insight into their self-identity, and thereby enable individuals to focus on their strengths as well as identify and gain support on areas of difficulty.
OUR ASSESSMENT APPROACH
Clarity, balance and cost-effectiveness
We work with a strong focus on balance and engagement. We believe that persons with ASD profiles are differently abled, and identifying strengths as well as areas of difficulty is a key part of our approach. We operate from an ethical, evidence-based position: our assessments are independent from any vested interest, aside from the best interests of the person under assessment. We sometimes conclude differently to those who have commissioned the work. We try to approach these situations with sensitivity, but also a robust focus on the evidence that we have been able to gather. In our experience it is essential to demonstrate the foundations of any diagnosis that we make, particularly if the person or family in question hopes to take the report to statutory services that may have preconceptions about the validity of independent assessments.