Cornwall Autism was established by us; friends and colleagues Mary Hosken and Oni Law. We have both worked in the NHS as well as in private practice and we understand the need for a robust and ethical private ASD assessment pathway down here in the Southwest of England. Through our work, we have noticed the increasing gap in service provision for Autism assessments. Having helped establish, and been part of the local NHS Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team (ASDAT) and the new Neurodevelopmental Service in Cornwall we have a very clear understanding of what an assessment team should offer individuals and families. We have a clear understanding of NICE guidance for ASD diagnosis and have a comprehensive knowledge of the DSM5 criteria for ASD.
We are also very lucky to be able to call on the expertise of Lisa White, a Mental Health Nurse, Dr Sophie Augarde, Clinical Psychologist, Jo Bryan Brown, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapists, and Devon based therapists Gemma Smith, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Lisa Tobin Specialist Occupational Therapist, when their skills are required. They are are also great friends of ours but more importantly for you, are hugely experienced clinicians all of whom have been involved in ASD diagnosis and support for many years.
Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist / Mental Health Practitioner / COMPANY DIRECTOR
"I am an HCPC registered Occupational Therapist with over 20 years experience of working in health services both in the UK and in New Zealand. I have spent many years working with adults with mental health difficulties and with young people and families in the CAMHS services in the North West and in Cornwall. Since 2013 I have worked exclusively in children's autism and neurodevelopmental assessment teams in both a clinical and leadership role. I recognise the benefits of diagnosis in helping an individual understand themselves, as well as equipping those around them to support them around their specific needs. As an Occupational Therapist, I strongly believe in recognising a person's unique strengths as well as the things they find difficult, in order to help them to build on their skills, learn coping strategies and develop their independence as they progress through their education into adulthood.
I have a broad knowledge of neurodevelopmental disorders and mental health problems, and an understanding of how these can impact on an individual's functioning, particularly in terms of their sensory processing skills. I love working with families, hearing their stories and helping them to find ways to develop together.
Outside of work, I am married to Andy and a mother of 2 boys and a girl. Our latest family adventure has been in planting an orchard with the plan to start producing cider and apple juice in a couple of years time. I live in Devon but work in Cornwall, where I was born and my family still live. I love spending time with family and friends, walking and exploring parts of our beautiful countryside. I also love reading and listening to audible books which I do on my long drives to work!”
Catriona 'Oni' Law
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist / COMPANY DIRECTOR
"I have been a Speech and Language Therapist working in the NHS since 2007, over that time I have had various Community roles all of which have involved working closely with families to support the Speech, Language and Communication Needs of their child. In 2014 I started working in Cornwall’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team and became an ASD Clinical Lead for the SLT service. Since taking on this role I have had many opportunities to develop my clinical skills focused specifically on ASD and other Neurodevelopmental Conditions both within ASDAT but also with CAMHS, contributing to their ASD assessments and providing the service with training on the use of Online ASD assessments.
I have developed a particular interest in understanding a young person’s social communication and language profile. This information not only adds diagnostic information to our clinical discussions and reasoning, but also my hope is that it helps families understand their child’s specific communication needs, so ensuring appropriate adaptations and supports are put in place.
Also, very importantly, I am married to Al, a wedding photographer, and am a mum to two children and a beloved dog ‘Daffy’. I hail from Scotland but sadly moved away young so never developed a Scottish accent. I enjoy walking (with café pit-stops), art and Netflix”.
Dr Sophie Augarde
"I am an HCPC registered and chartered Clinical Psychologist who has had the privilege of working with and supporting neurodevelopmentally diverse young people and their families across Cornwall and other parts of the UK. Locally, I have worked in the Cornwall Council Autism Spectrum Team as well as in the NHS for the Cornwall CAMHS Learning Disability Team and with Mary, Oni and Lisa in the Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team".
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
"I have worked for 8 years in the community across a range of NHS settings, providing a high-quality speech and language therapy service to children, young people and their families. In conjunction with families, my previous roles have required me to assess and diagnose children with a range of speech, language, and communication needs. I have longstanding experience of planning and implementing specialist programmes of support and intervention for these children as part of a multi-disciplinary team. In 2020 I joined the Cornwall Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment Team, recently becoming a clinical team lead. In this role, I provide specialist assessments and advice to children and young people, including those with highly complex presentations, and contribute to diagnosis on the ASD and Neurodevelopmental assessment pathway. More recently I have strengthened my leadership skills by becoming a safeguarding supervisor within my team which has compounded my understanding of the link between effective supervision and improved outcomes for vulnerable young people. Alongside this, I have taken a lead role in both the design and delivery of termly parent information sessions, collaborating with the Cornwall branch of the National Autistic Society and represented the neurodevelopmental assessment team on a wider platform to disseminate valuable resources to clients and families.
I am passionate about raising awareness of speech, language, and communication needs through training for parents, teachers, support staff and other multi-agency professionals across a wide cultural spectrum. Respecting the opinions and contributions of colleagues and families is at the core of my clinical work. I encourage children, young people and their families to actively participate in the assessment process by empowering them to be key agents in their diagnostic journey.
Outside of work, I am a very keen runner and have completed several half-marathons for charity…hoping one day to tackle a full marathon! I also practice yoga every week and am working up to accomplishing a headstand! My partner Amy and I enjoy bike rides, paddle boarding and cooking (although I definitely end up making more of a mess than anything else)! We have a very grumpy but loveable cat called Georgie who has moved all over London and now finally down to Devon with us, where we are all enjoying life by the sea."
Specialist Mental Health Nurse
"I am an HCPC and Nursing and Midwifery Council registered mental health nurse with over 10 years experience. I have worked in adult mental health and with young people and families within CAMHS services. Since 2016 I have worked exclusively in an autism assessment team in a clinical and safeguarding role".
Jo Bryan Brown
Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist
"I have worked for the NHS since 1991. My whole career has been focused on children and young people who have additional individual needs. As well as children who have autism, I have extensive experience with children who have physical and learning disabilities, developmental language disorder and medical and genetic conditions.
I have worked in the development of the NHS Early Years diagnostic pathway for autism since it was started in 2006. Since 2020, I have been the Early Years' lead SLT for autism diagnosis within Cornwall Foundation Trust.
I am always fascinated to do new assessments as every child and family is unique."
Specialist Occupational Therapist
"I am a HCPC registered Children’s Occupational Therapist and have been working in Children’s Health (NHS) and Social Care for over 20 years. I have been working for Children Family Health Devon since 2011 supporting children with a wide range of physical, sensory and learning difficulties from 0 – 18 years. As part of this role, I regularly work with children who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (or are awaiting diagnosis). My role includes assessment and intervention for children who have functional difficulties due to sensory and /or motor challenges. I am also involved in providing training to parents, carers and education staff on sensory processing challenges and ways to help. I have always enjoyed working with children and their families to help each child reach their full potential.
Outside of work, I live in Devon with my husband and two teenage sons. At weekends, I really enjoy walking and cycling in the countryside and at the coast, with the occasional bit of paddle boarding!"
Please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like to arrange a private autism assessment for you, or your child here in Cornwall.