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Our Neurodevelopmental Team

Lead Psychologists

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Dr Sam Carruthers

BSc (hons) MSc PhD DClinPsy

Consultant Clinical Psychologist


Based at Halifax

Dr Sam Carruthers is a Clinical Psychologist. She is registered as a Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (PYL 34479) and is a full member of the Association of Clinical Psychologists (ACP-UK). 


Sam studied at the University of York, graduating with a degree in Psychology in 2001. She also gained a masters degree in Health Psychology in 2003 and a PhD in Psychology in 2008 at the University of Leeds. After working as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences she undertook Clinical Psychology doctoral training which she completed in 2015. She has worked as a psychologist in a range of NHS services since 2004. 


Sam has over 15 years experience of working therapeutically with a range of clients who have physical and neurological difficulties such as chronic pain, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, stroke and autism. She plays an important role within NCPS's specialist autism Assessment and Diagnosis Service. Over this time, Sam has specialised in the area of autism, and has a specific interest in autistic girls and women. She has several years experience of working with adults, children and their families with neurodevelopmental differences. As well as direct therapeutic interventions to support individuals with autism, she also works systemically with carers, schools and organisations to improve knowledge of neurodevelopmental difference and consider ways to support those who identify as neurodiverse. 


Sam is also a qualified Clinical Supervisor and has experience of supervising a range of health and other related professionals such as clinical psychologists, medics, nurses and educational support staff.


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Dr Sam Edwards 

BSc (hons) ClinPsyD CPsychol AFBPsS MSc PGDip

Consultant Clinical Psychologist

Paediatric Neuropsychologist


Based at Cookridge & Boston Spa, Wetherby


Dr Sam Edwards is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist. She is registered as a Practitioner Psychologist with the Health & Care Professions Council (PYL03875) and is a member of both the British Psychological Society and the Division of Clinical Psychology.


Sam forms an integral part of NCPS's specialist autism Assessment and Diagnosis Service.  She has completed postdoctoral study (PGDip in Clinical Paediatric Neuropsychology at University College London). This specialist qualification provides her with expertise in clinical paediatric neuropsychology, including neurodevelopment disorders, and additional clinical training in the assessment and treatment of young people with language, memory, attention and/or executive functioning (planning and organisation) difficulties.


Sam has over 25 years experience in working with children, adults and families experiencing distress as a result of neurodevelopmental difficulties, significant life events and/or illness.  She works part time within the NHS as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in an inpatient Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). She has extensive knowledge and skill in the assessment and treatment of young people (and their family) experiencing problems such as Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Psychosis and Eating Disorders. Often these difficulties are as a result of traumatic events and/or health conditions that affect not only the individuals coping and recovery but also other family members.


Sam's professional training and experience provides her with a unique set of skills and expertise with which to support individuals and families to identify and manage the consequences of accident or illness; she is passionate about using these skills to help children with neurodevelopmental difficulties achieve their potential, and to reduce the distress felt by young people and families following traumatic events.

Dr Claudia Salt

BSc (Hons) MSc DClinPsychol

Clinical Psychologist


Based at Ilkley 


Dr Claudia Salt qualified as a Clinical Psychologist from the University of Leeds in 2007. She is registered as a Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (PYL04210).


Claudia has developed her keen professional interest in neurodevelopment and child mental health throughout her career. Prior to Clinical Psychology training, Claudia worked with the charity Barnardos creating their post autism diagnosis parent training programme ‘Cygnet’ - which is now available nationally and in some parts of Europe. 


Since qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist 12 years ago, Claudia has worked in the field of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, providing assessment, formulation, consultation and intervention for children and young people experiencing a range of mental health problems, intellectual disabilities or neurodevelopmental conditions. Claudia specialises and has extensive experience and skills working with autism and associated conditions.


Claudia joined NCPS in 2019  and plays a key role within NCPS's specialist Autism Assessment and Diagnosis Service.   She also has extensive experience in completing complex assessments, where intellectual disability, learning and attachment issues are present. 


In addition to working with NCPS, Claudia has extensive experience as a Senior Clinical Psychologist in an NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service as part of a specialist neurodevelopmental team focussing on the assessment and diagnosis of autism and related conditions. Claudia has 11 years experience utilising the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2) in autism assessments. She is also trained in the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI-R) and is skilled at completing observational and cognitive assessments as part of complex assessments. Claudia’s role also involves extensive liaison and consultation with other agencies and professionals such as schools, speech and language therapists, paediatricians and social workers. 

Claudia enjoys working collaboratively with children, young people and their families to develop a shared understanding of their presentation or difficulties. Developing trusting professional and therapeutic relationships forms a key part of Claudia’s role. She is very experienced working with children and young people of all ages and is as happy playing on the floor working with little ones as she is discussing the latest technology or Pokémon whilst working with young adults. Claudia has extensive experience at flexibly using a range of evidence based psychological interventions therapeutically including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) to meet the needs of the individual. She regularly attends training to continue her professional development such as with the National Autistic Society (Earlybird Plus training) and the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) (PDA training day, Tony Attwood autism training day). Claudia also enjoys providing supervision and training to colleagues, professionals and other groups. She receives regular (confidential) clinical supervision herself and considers this essential to maintain and promote best practice. 


Outside work, Claudia enjoys spending time with her two young children and family. She likes to dabble in interior design as she gradually renovates her home and loves gardening and spending time walking in the local countryside.


Dr Lucy Rymer

BA (hons), MSc, DCounPsy

Highly Specialist Counselling Psychologist


Based at Pocklington & York

Dr Lucy Rymer is a Counselling Psychologist. She is registered as a Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (PYL040355).


Lucy has had invaluable experience working in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) where she split her time between therapeutic work and the autism clinic. In her therapeutic work she supported children facing a diverse range of challenges, including self-harm, emotion dysregulation, anxiety, low mood, and low self-esteem as well as developing positive behaviour support plans for individuals with autism. In the autism clinic, she worked within a wider multidisciplinary team assessing and diagnosing autism in children and worked systemically with schools, parents and the local authority. Lucy's specialist experience within the field of autism has made her a valued and respected member of NCPS's autism assessment and follow-up service.   


Lucy is passionate about empowering individuals to discover their strengths, navigate obstacles and cultivate resilience. Her approach to therapy is person centred emphasising the importance of warmth, empathy and unconditional positive regard. She works collaboratively drawing on a range of therapeutic modalities such as DBT, CBT and ACT to create a tailored approach to meet the unique needs of each individual.


Beyond her clinical endeavors, Lucy is a creative individual dedicated to making mental health support and education more accessible. She channels her passion into translating complex mental health concepts into easily digestible formats, such as engaging videos and infographics on Instagram and insightful blog posts.



Speech and Language Therapists

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Julie Anstey


Speech and Language Therapist


Based at Boston Spa, Wetherby


After qualifying as a Speech and Language Therapist from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1985, Julie Anstey has more than 30 years clinical experience in the assessment and management of children and young people with complex speech, language and communication impairments. Over the years she has worked in a wide variety of educational and NHS settings: including a language resourced school for children with Specific Language Impairment, in mainstream schools supporting children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and in an oral school for the deaf, where she was head of department with a caseload of profoundly deaf children with additional needs and highly complex communication impairments.


She has lectured at the Leeds Metropolitan University and provided second opinions in assessing children and students with deafness and in Autism. She has run training courses in Autism and deafness and works in close collaboration with other professionals including Occupational Therapists, Teachers, Child Psychiatrists and Psychologists. She developed an interest in Autism in the 1990s when she became involved with some intensive ABA home programmes. This prompted her to pursue an interest in different therapeutic interventions for Autism and seeking out the most useful and practical tools and therapeutic approaches to help improve the communication skills of children and young people with Autism. She completed an MSc degree from the University of Sheffield in Language and Communication Impairment in Children in 2010 with distinction and has a wide range of other postgraduate training including ADOS 2, Makaton, PECS and advanced transcription skills (PETAL), Oral Placement Therapy (TalkTools) and PROMPT.

The broad and eclectic experience she has gained has given her an ability to take an holistic as well as detailed approach to her work. She established ‘The Talking House Ltd’ in 2005, a private speech and language therapy practice in Wetherby, near Leeds, employing a large team of Speech and Language Therapists providing a service to schools and private clients across the region. She continues to work as a highly specialised independent Speech and Language Therapist providing assessment and intervention to children with a wide range of communication difficulties, and training, support and advice to professionals working with children with complex speech, language and communication needs.

She loves her profession and takes great pride in the service she and her team deliver. She has been involved in the development of the profession at a national level, sitting on the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists’ Professional Development and Standards Board and serving as Chair of the Association for Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP).

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Annette Smith


Speech and Language Therapist


Based at Pudsey, Elland & Tinshill


Annette is a Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist and after qualifying as a Speech and Language Therapist from the Leeds Metropolitan University in 2007, gained over 10 years of clinical experience in the assessment and management of children and young people with complex speech, language and communication impairments before leaving to concentrate on her independent work in 2018. 


Since qualifying, Annette has gained a wide range of clinical experience including working with children with speech sound difficulties, a stammer, a hearing impairment or who have complex needs such as developmental language disorder and autism in mainstream schools.   


During her employment at the NHS, Annette worked within a multi-agency team, which assessed children and adolescents for suspected autism spectrum disorder.  She has continued to carry out these assessments as an independent therapist and became an associate of NCPS in 2019.  


Annette has also worked as part of a wider team to provide training to early years and school age settings in relation to language and social communication development.  


Her postgraduate training courses include the ADOS 2 and Palin Parent Child Interaction training.   


Annette works in a holistic and child centred manner and supports clients and their families across a range of settings including clients’ homes, educational settings and clinics dependent upon need.  


She is familiar with working in association with a range of professionals including: Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Paediatricians, ABA therapists, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Teachers of the Deaf and teaching staff across Early Years settings and Key Stages one to four.  


Within her independent practice, Annette continues to work in close collaboration with a range of professionals to ensure that a child’s main area of need is at the forefront of therapy.  This includes seeking advice from and referring onto other professionals as appropriate.  


In her spare time, Annette enjoys spending time with her now grown up daughters and friends.  She enjoys eating out and walking in the countryside (often a combination of both!) and Penny the Schnoodle joins in wherever she can, particularly if there’s a dog friendly pub involved!  

Our Specialist Autism Service comprises of Lead Clinical Psychologists, a Lead Counselling Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapists and a Consultant Child Psychiatrist, who all specialise within the field of neurodevelopmental differences. We also consult with Consultant Paediatricians when required. Similarly, we work closely with The Talking House, an independent Speech and Language organisation offering children and families access to a wider service should language difficulties be identified. Whilst predominantly Leeds based we see families from all over Yorkshire.


Jess Mortimer 

BSc and MSc

Speech and Language Therapist 


Based in Hull and East Yorkshire 


Jess is a HCPC registered, Speech and Language Therapist and since qualifying from Leeds Metropolitan University has gained over 10 years’ experience working in the NHS. Jess has also completed an MSc focusing on advance practice and leadership at the University of Hull and a range of other postgraduate training including management of dysphagia, Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS 2), Historical Clinical Risk -20 (HCR-20), Positive Behavioural Support, Lego therapy and PECS.  


Within her clinical roles, Jess has worked in a variety of clinical settings including community learning disability services, forensic mental health and children’s Autism Assessment service; providing specialist assessment and interventions for individuals with complex communication needs. Over recent years, Jess has worked within an IST setting focusing on complex communication needs and the impact of these on an individual’s behaviours of concern and emotional wellbeing. In addition to her direct clinical work, Jess has provided training at local and regional clinical excellence networks, for social care providers and other healthcare staff. Throughout her career Jess has developed a significant interest and clinical focus supporting young people and adults with neuro developmental disorders and differential diagnoses.  


Jess currently works in the NHS as a team leader in a multidisciplinary Intensive Support Team, supporting adults with a learning disability and autism, who experience high levels of distress and mental health difficulties. Within this service Jess offers operational leadership, specialist supervision and direct clinical interventions focusing on communication difficulties and positive behavioural support. She also continues to provide assessments of social communication difficulties. Jess began working part time in private practice, alongside her NHS role in 2022 and joined NCPC in February of the same year.  

Consultant Child Psychiatrists


Dr Mini Pillay

MBBS, MRC Psych 

Consultant Child Psychiatrist


Based at Wakefield


Dr Mini Pillay forms part of NCPS's multidisciplinary team for ASD assessments.  


Mini has worked as a Psychiatrist in the NHS for more than 20 years. After training in various subspecialties, she specialised in child and adolescent psychiatry and has been working as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the NHS for nearly 10 years.  


Mini's particular area of specialism is working with children and young people with learning disabilities and autism. She trained in ADI-R and ADOS and has participated in multidisciplinary assessments for autism for more than 10 years.  


Mini feels strongly about ensuring that additional needs due to developmental difficulties are identified early, so that adequate support can be given to children and young people at a time when it’s crucial to make a difference. 


She has been described by young people and families as being warm, caring and friendly. 


Mini holds a Degree in Medicine and Surgery and is a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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