Meet The Team
Dr Annie Clements (Hons)
CEO of Autism & ADHD
Annie founded this social enterprise here in Ipswich to support those living or working with Autism and ADHD. It is a thriving organisation that offers practical advice, support and training. Since its inception it has supported thousands of people with Autism and ADHD, their families and professionals.
Annie’s association with Autism started long before the company was founded as back in 1993, Annie’s son Tom was born. At that time, very little was known about Autism and most people diagnosed with it were placed in long term, residential institutions away from their families and out of sight of social communities. Annie was determined that this was not going to happen to Tom and so alongside her husband Peter, became part of the first generation of parents who fought not only against exclusion and segregation but also for the recognition of rights of their sons and daughters with Autism.
Tom’s diagnosis was a catalyst for change in the Clements household. Somehow, they had become members of an exclusive club that they neither recognised nor applied to join. Hungry to learn anything and everything she could about Autism, Annie immersed herself within the world of special educational needs and disability, fighting for the rights of her own son and other disabled children and young people. She became actively involved with the Local and County Councils and the National Autistic Society and was soon involved in setting up initiatives that enabled parent’s voices to be heard and effective parent partnerships created.
Annie has never been one to conform to societal norms. If she sees a problem, she will try and fix it. If she sees a barrier, she will try to remove it or find a way around it. Applying the same drive and enthusiasm with regard to challenging the norm, she began to break down social barriers for people with Autism. Tirelessly, she drives projects forward, making significant differences in thousands of people’s lives, not just here in Suffolk, but nationally and internationally. Her energy, enthusiasm and passion knows no boundaries, and according to her husband, if Annie joins a project, within 6 months, she’ll be running it!
Annie’s background knowledge in marketing, business and banking has supported her to establish and shape the Social Enterprise, Autism and ADHD. Harbouring ideas of setting up a company that offered support, resolved problems and broke down social barriers faced by those with Autism, their families and those working in the sector, she signed up for a 1 year course at the Easter Enterprise Hub at the University of Suffolk which she attended one day a week.
Not having a plan, but finding herself surrounded by ‘can do’ people, she was positively encouraged to set up a Social Enterprise. Much hard work and determination paid off and Autism and ADHD soon became a reality. Working with purpose, the company gained local recognition and very quickly went from strength to strength, winning a local Community Action Suffolk award and then a National Award for a youth project ‘We have a Voice’. This was a pivotal moment for the enterprise as it became a national and international platform for Autism and ADHD, the roots of which were built firmly on local and personal knowledge.
Annie now works regularly in an advisory capacity with families, in schools, colleges and universities alongside other professionals who support children and young people with Autism. She has worked with the Armed Forces, has been involved in research projects and been regular visitor and keynote speaker here at the University of Suffolk, the University of Essex and at International conferences. She has also been invited to consult with Lego as a play expert and was invited to a Garden Party to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace in recognition of her Youth Work at a Third Sector Charity Day.
She is in meetings with CEO’s from internationally renowned companies such as Lego, Colgate, ETSY, The New York Times and Oxfam, she pinches herself, wondering what on earth she has done to gain a place at that particular table. She is bold. She is not afraid to step outside of the norm. She takes risks, makes the journey, embraces difference and never shies away from a challenge. She believes that change begins with the courage to acknowledge reality and her passion and integrity know no bounds.
Daniel Lee Harvey
Marketing, Events & Media Manager
Daniel Lee Harvey is our media, events & marketing manager. His background is made up of working within the creative sectors, youth engagement, social inclusion, education and mental health. He has a lot of experience around supporting nuero-diverse young people and adults in multiple settings. His big thing is creativity. Daniel did a video recently on our wall around how creativity helps with problem solving and adapting to difficult situations. Dan very much advocates the power behind it when managing his own health too.
In May 2020, he put together a music festival for Autism and ADHD in under a week with an incredible line up of artists to help raise funds for the telephone line system. With the support of our community and the wider network of friends and families, the target was smashed. Dan has launched a second music festival due to the feedback from the last. He feels that it's important to make opportunities accessible for all and that it's a great way of bringing everyone together even when we're apart.
Client Support Manager
My name is Michelle and I started working for Autism and ADHD in April 2018 offering client support.
I have 3 children and a grandson. 2 of my children have a formal diagnosis of Autism/ADHD. 2016, my my journey down this path ended in mental and physical burnout due to lack of support and understanding around Autism/ADHD amongst family and others professionals.
For years, I was constantly battling to get help for my middle daughter who had been labelled as (a child with chosen bad behaviour). I felt judged as a parent, lost my confidence, and relationships broke down around me. A mother’s love kept me going. I got back up and decided the way to help my children and others was to become a professional in Autism and ADHD.
I reached out for support from Annie and her team and my daughter finally got her diagnosis aged 16. I have since continued to study Autism/ADHD and learnt so much from Annie and I now parent in a completely different style and it works.
Whilst walking this path I have found myself; I now know my worth and purpose in life, my ambition is to help the world become a place that is inclusive and accepting of difference. I would love to see it mandatory that other professionals must study Autism and ADHD so that children do not go undiagnosed, and parents don’t have to battle to be heard and understood.
My name is Claire and I got involved with Autism & ADHD in September 2019, after hearing Annie talk as a keynote speaker during a lecture on my degree in SENDs Studies at the University of Suffolk.
My dissertation at Uni was centred around the ‘impact that a late diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism) had had on adult females’ and incorporated a wealth of research surrounding ‘The Lost Generation of Females’. I received a First for my Dissertation and I also received a First-Class award for my overall degree, which was amongst my proudest moments in my life. I would have been proud to receive a degree…full stop…. Let alone a first!
I have spent 20 years working within nurseries and schools, whilst also taking periods of time out to raise my family. I’m a qualified Nursery Practitioner and hold the Level 2 Working in Schools qualification. One of my roles during this time was working as a 1:1 SEN Teaching Assistant, supporting a child, diagnosed with ADHD, all the way through his primary schooling years, working with him each day, every year in all aspects of his schooling day.
I learnt a great deal about the condition and about him as an individual and it was this role that really started my journey into SENDs. I have found that I have an instinctive skill with children with additional needs and a particular strength in identifying and applying any reasonable adjustments that children may require along with a strong eye for spotting barriers within internal and external built environments that could hinder an individual’s progression.
I am passionate about increasing the understanding that neurodivergence is a spectrum and that people are not checklists, i.e. you can’t work down a list of strategies and expect them to work for every person or if they do work, they may not work every time because situations and surroundings change continuously, as do people’s reactions and emotions. By taking the time to get to know people, to learn what may work for them and what may trigger them, we can offer them support and help, striving towards an open-minded world where every person lives a fulfilling, enjoyable and accessible life
I also hold the Level 1 British Sign Language qualification.
During my time so far with Autism & ADHD, I have written several Social Stories, advised on a sensory room layout for a well-known Rugby Club, written an academic paper about Sensory Spaces in Mainstream Schools, advised on sensory equipment, along with supporting Autistic and/or ADHD students of Suffolk New College. I am currently writing Training modules about females on the spectrum.