Meet our lovely judges.
Each judge has been chosen for their understanding of what caring for a child with additional needs is really like. Whether they work in the field, are parents or bloggers themselves, they are perfectly placed to recognise the talents of our nominees.
Head of Public Affairs at Dimensions and Co-Founder of Learning Disability England
Parent, Counsellor and SEN trainer and Family support
I am a parent and step parent of five children in total, two of whom have SEND. Being a parent of children with SEN has taught me many things about life, with the most poignant one being about choosing kindness always, as we never know what battles someone else is facing. In my professional capacity I am a counsellor for Positive Autism Support and Training (PAST) and I see both children and adults in one to one settings and I am also the official counsellor for The Curly Hair Project (CHP) – a social enterprise providing an abundence of info on autism with a particular focus on women and girls who are affected by ASD. I deliver training for both PAST and The CHP.
Chief Executive for Registered Trust INFACT, SEND Blogger
Emma is Chief Executive for Registered Trust INFACT, the only Registered Trust in the world supporting parents and families harmed by Epilepsy medications. Emma is also Lead National Campaigner at Parliament for Epilepsy Medications taken during Pregnancy, continuing to raise awareness in Government and help influence policy change. Emma is also writer for her Blog Emma4facs.
Isabelle is the mum of two extraordinary young people, one of whom has autism and other complex co-morbidities. She has decades of experience in navigating the labyrinth of education, social care and health services, most recently fighting to get her son out of an acute treatment unit and to have a positive and fulfilling life in the community.
Co-Founder of National Trust & Parent Group for all AEDs in Pregnancy, songwriter & Supermum..!
Sometimes I feel like a brand but I’m me, a commuting career woman in a previous ‘life’, now a stay-at-home Mumma to two wonderful children, who just happen to have autism too. One at each end of the spectrum, one diagnosed at 4.5 years old and the other, very recently at 10.5 years. I started blogging to raise awareness and acceptance of autism for them and everyone connected to the autistic spectrum (there’s an ever-growing number of us!), it also helps me at times to ‘blog it out’ when certain worries just get too much.
To wind down, you’ll find me sipping a decaf mocha, with some crochet nearby (in a variant of a purple colour, I have a bit of a purple passion!). I feel very honoured to have been asked to be a judge for the BAPS Awards.
Jo Henley writes over at her blog, Ojo’s World, using her corner of the internet to talk all about her life. Jo has three sons, two of which are on the ASD spectrum. She loves to read blogs, as well as write, mostly because, in her words, she’s nosy! Jo is colourful and hard to miss. She’s also very social, so looking forward to meeting the BAPS bloggers.
Chief Executive at Challenges Children’s Charity
I have worked in the Third Sector and in the field of disability for almost 30 years because I believe that this sector enriches society in the UK and champions positive change. I have been working as Chief Executive at Challengers, a children’s charity that provides inclusive play and leisure for disabled children and young people across the South East. The charity is extraordinary in that they never exclude a child and always ensure that they can attend a scheme if they want to. The charity keeps me busy but I also enjoy volunteering at a local charity Peer Productions as well as supporting National Childrens Bureau on their recruitment board. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my 2 grown up children and my dog Woody!
Clinical Service Model Lead (CAMHS/ LD) at NHS England
Phil is a nurse for people with learning disabilities. He currently works for NHS England on the Transforming Care programme, where his role is to help local areas develop better support and services for children and young people with a learning disability and/or autism.
Before this, Phil worked as a health commissioner and led the SEND Pathfinder in Calderdale. ‘I feel privileged to have been asked to judge the BAPS and I am really looking forward to reading the entries.’
BA (Hons), M.A, CIPD, Fellow of Centre for Welfare Reform
Sarah has worked with people with learning disabilities and their families since the mid 80’s when she began supporting people to move out of long stay institutions back to their homes.
Sarah completed her MA in Applied Psychology of Learning Disability Services and began work at Choice Support, formerly Southwark Consortium. She has been part of its growth from a single borough organisation in South East London to a National provider. Sarah is an advocate of partnership working with people with disabilities their families; other organisations and more recently with regulators. These relationships have challenged her thinking and lead to a range of new initiatives around safeguarding; helping people connect with their communities and making sure people with disabilities are part of the leadership and quality process within support providers. Sarah took up the the role of Managing Director at Choice Support in 2016 and recently Sarah took up her new role as Chief Executive of the Partnership Support Group following the merger of Choice Support and mcch.
She is a Board member of Learning Disability England and a member of the Driving Up Quality steering committee. Sarah is one of the founding members of the Association of Quality Checkers.
Steph Curtis started blogging over seven years ago, after her youngest daughter Sasha was given a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (also called ASD or Autism). Her blog is called Steph’s Two Girls so that her older daughter is remembered too, and not just thought of as ‘the sibling’. Although ASD was the original diagnosis for Sasha, it’s believed that she actually has a specific type of autism known as Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). Steph is keen to raise awareness of this condition and runs courses for parents to help with strategies for everyday life.