Consultant Developmental & Educational Psychologist
Chartered Psychologist (BPS)
Joanne Douglas is a Consultant Psychologist, specialising in Autistic Spectrum Disorders and related social and communication difficulties. Joanne completed her formal studies at The Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Joanne left employment of The National Autistic Society UK after 11 years service to set up a specialist diagnostic, intervention and research centre for autistic spectrum disorders based at The Queen’s University, Belfast in 2000. As the service and team members has expanded it has been necessary to relocate to bigger premises which are now centralised in Dungannon, Co.Tyrone. Outreach services from this Centre are also available.
The Spectrum Centre offers a range of services including diagnostic assessments, educational assessments, adult assessments of need, social skills training (for individuals and groups), counselling and life skills, support programmes for adolescents and adults with Asperger syndrome, professional and parent training courses, a professional interest group, guidance on behaviour management, as well as consultancy to schools and other educational and health service providers.
Joanne previously worked for 6 years as part of a multidisciplinary diagnostic and assessment team with Dr. Lorna Wing and Dr. Judith Gould in the National Autistic Society’s Diagnostic Centre, Elliot House in South London (recently renamed The Lorna Wing Centre). She has previous experience as a teacher in mainstream education, in a specialist school for children with autism and as Co-ordinator of a Specialist Unit for adolescents with autistic spectrum disorder.
Joanne has undergone autism specific training at the Institute of Psychiatry under Prof. Michael Rutter and has trained formally in the application of the TEACCH and Options methods. She has also trained with Prof. Reuven Feuerestein in the Canadian–Wizo University Jerusalem, Israel, where she qualified in the application of Instrumental Enrichment and Assessment Techniques.
The National Plan for Children (NIASA 2003) which outlines best practice in the process of assessment and diagnosis of individuals with suspected Autistic Spectrum Disorders advocates the training of professionals involved in the diagnostic process in the use of the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO) or the ADI-R, thus stressing the importance of applying a standardised structured, validated parental interview rather than ad hoc individual approach to information gathering. Joanne has trained in the use of both these diagnostic systems. Indeed she participated in the data collection researching the validity of the DISCO developed by her colleagues Dr Lorna Wing and Dr Judith Gould, and was part of the training team in delivering training on the DISCO to local and international professionals.
Joanne continues to work with mainstream and specialist schools and adult centres to provide advice on the development of individual programmes, assessment, behaviour management and policy issues. An extensive part of her work is in consultancy, advising local services regarding the development of their autism specific provision. Joanne is a member of the National Autistic Society’s Advocacy for Education Advisory Panel.
Joanne is also involved in the development and delivery of training programmes. Joanne was instrumental in setting up the now well established specialist courses for Educational Psychologists and Teachers at The Institute of Education, London. Joanne has developed and lectured on several undergraduate and post graduate university courses throughout the UK. She set up and is currently the Course Tutor for the MSc in “Autistic Spectrum Disorders” course provided through the School of Education at The Queen’s University Belfast. As an Honorary Associate of the School of Psychology she provided the autism specialism input on a range of under-graduate and post graduate courses including the MSc in Developmental & Educational Psychology Course.
Joanne has participated in several published research projects / books relating to the educational needs of young people with autism and Asperger syndrome and is extensively engaged in parent workshops and professional training in methods of identification and intervention. Joanne is original author of the Parent Post Diagnostic Training Programme “HELP” delivered through The National Autistic Society, has worked with Essex Education Authority to produce a teaching video and training pack on Asperger syndrome and developed the National Autistic Society’s Autism Baseline Assessment Schedule for schools.
Joanne has presented papers at various international conferences and has provided consultancy services throughout the UK and Ireland, as well as in Greece, Norway, Israel, Switzerland, Singapore and Bahrain.
Joanne works closely with local autism related charities and is Consultant to the National Autistic Society NI Branch and The Asperger Network. She is a Northern Ireland Councillor for The National Autistic Society. In 2007 a project she set up for students with Asperger Syndrome at The Queens University Belfast was nominated as a finalist for a Times Education Award.
Joanne continues to offer support to Colleges and Universities throughout Ireland (Queens University Belfast, Trinity University Dublin, University College Dublin, Ulster University) in relation to the development and delivery of support programmes for
3rd level students with a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. She also provides direct consultancy and support for individual students and has set up a Social Skills and Support Group for students with a diagnosis of AS at Queens University Belfast.
Increasingly Joanne has also been involved as an expert witness in both Educational Tribunal and other legal cases. She has also provided consultancy to the NI Prison Service in relation to individuals with a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome.
Clinical Lead Specialist Speech& Language Therapist
Pauline has worked with children and young people for 18 years. She trained as a Speech and Language Therapist at the University of Ulster, graduating with an Honours Degree in Speech and Language Therapy in 1991. Her dissertation on Auditory Processing Disorder and Age was selected for presentation at the Multidisciplinary Conference in Dublin 1991 .She received a certificate of commendation in counseling from Queen's University in 1998.
For 14 years Pauline enjoyed her work as a speech and language therapist in the local Health Service. She provided a service to children with communication and learning difficulties in various community and educational settings. She was promoted to Clinical Lead of Specific Language Impairment. As the first lead in specific language impairment in the area she was responsible for training of health and educational staff. ed to the University of Ulster and completed the following modules towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Speech and Language Therapy: ·
In 2001/2002 Pauline returned to the University of Ulster and completed the following modules towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Speech and Language Therapy:
Student Clinical Education
Evidence Based Practice Research Methods ·
(3 of above with commendation)
Pauline has completed the MSc Autistic Spectrum Disorders at The Queens University of Belfast. She has part completed the MSc in Advanced SLT at The Ulster University.
Certificates in training:
- Sensory Integration Therapy ( Exam/Cardiff University)
- TEACCH (5 day training & 3 day training)
- Picture Exchange Communication System (Pyramid Education)
- Greenspan DIR (Certificate of mastery at introductory level )
- Parent Child Interaction (Lena Rustin- Michael Palin Centre)
- Advanced Auditory Processing Training Edinburgh)
- The Listening Programme (Learning Solutions)
- Johansen IAS Sound Therapy (Leslie & Crewsdon, Edinburgh)
- Derbyshire Language Scheme