21 Feb Welcome message from Mary Simpson, Chair of Autism Alliance
I am extremely excited to be taking up my new position as Chair of the Autism Alliance from January 2020. Thank you to the Executive Committee and the members for their trust and confidence in choosing me as the new Chair, I am very honoured to accept the position.
The Alliance has already undertaken much important work I would like to build on the successes already achieved to ensure, through collaborative working, we can make a real difference for autistic people and their families.
As you know there are many gaps in the support of autistic people whether that is ensuring they have the correct support in the community, access to work and appropriate care needs assessments to name but a few, there is much work still to be done. I am confident that the Autism Alliance can work together collaboratively to ensure autistic people live rewarding and fulfilling lives.
A passionate campaigner
You probably want to know a little be about me. I am the Chief Executive Officer of Spectrum, an autism Charity based in Cornwall. I have been with the Charity too many years to remember but have been CEO for the last 15 years, I have also volunteered as a counsellor for people in crisis. Before this, I spent my time in the North of Scotland as a practice manager and I also spent several years in America where I managed the training department of a large teaching hospital.
I am a passionate campaigner for the rights of autistic people, and I was delighted to be part of the Autism Alliance Know your Rights campaign and the work involved in checklist for social workers carrying out care needs assessments. My interest is in the law, especially the Care Act and the Autism Act and where this legislation can benefit autistic people and their families to ensure their rights under the law.
I have always been interested in the arts and have worked with may autistic artists. I am currently working on developing a professional network for autistic artists to enable them to access opportunities that might otherwise be closed or difficult to access. I also wish to build up an archive of art and autism which previously has not existed to help educate the wider public about the brilliant talent of autistic artists.
I would personally like to thank Jane Howson for her three years of service as Chair of the Autism Alliance, for all her dedication, hard work and commitment to us all as members and her passion in wanting to make a real difference for autistic people and their families. I am very much looking forward to working with you and carrying on Jane’s legacy.
Mary Simpson, Chair Autism Alliance