Our Autism Team
Our Specialist Autism Service comprises of 4 Lead Clinical Psychologists, 2 Speech and Language Therapists and a Consultant Child Psychiatrist. We also work in close partnership with The Children’s e-Hospital, which provides access to a team of independent Paediatricians. 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.
Lead Clinical Psychologists
Dr Sam Edwards
BSc (hons) ClinPsyD CPsychol AFBPsS MSc PGDip
Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Based at Cookridge & Wetherby
Specialist areas: Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Cognitive Difficulties
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 Robynne Boyd
BSc (hons) DClinPsy
Based at Wetherby
Specialist areas: Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Developmental Trauma
Dr Robynne Boyd is a Clinical Psychologist and registered as a Practitioner Psychologist with the Health & Care Professions Council (PYL27456).
Robynne plays an important role within NCPS's specialist autism Assessment and Diagnosis Service. Robynne has extensive experience of providing Autism Spectrum Disorder assessments and diagnosis for children and young people aged 0-19 years as well as interventions to support young people and their families following a diagnosis with for example, specific behaviour/ development concerns or understanding and adjustment to the diagnosis.
Robynne studied at the University of Leeds and graduated with a Psychology degree in 2005. Having worked in the NHS since 2006 she graduated from the University of Sheffield as a Doctor of Clinical Psychology in 2011. Since qualification, Robynne has worked in the field of child and adolescent mental health providing assessment and intervention for children and young people experiencing a range of mental health problems, complex physical health and neurodevelopmental conditions. In this time she has specialised in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
In addition to working with NCPS, Robynne works part time in the NHS as the lead for Psychology within a multi-disciplinary Paediatric Diabetes Team providing specialist psychological assessment and interventions for young people and their families. Alongside this, she works part time in the independent sector providing psychological assessment and intervention for looked after and adopted children and their carers, with a range of emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties including attachment difficulties.
Dr Claudia Salt
Based at Ilkley
Specialist areas: Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Intellectual Disabilities
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 focusing 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 Laura Shewan
BSc (Hons), DClinPsych, AdDip
Based at Wetherby
Specialist areas: Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Learning Disabilities
Dr Laura Shewan is a Senior Clinical Psychologist currently working for Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust. She has a First-Class Honours Degree in Psychology, a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and since qualifying has completed an Advanced Diploma in Systemic Thinking and Practice. She is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as a Practitioner Psychologist.
Laura has over 8 years experience working in the NHS in various settings, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and community and in-patient Learning Disability services.
Laura has an interest and has developed specialist skills in working with children and young people with additional and complex needs, such as Learning Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Conditions. She provides comprehensive assessment, formulation and intervention to a range of developmental, behavioural and mental health issues. Laura is trained in and has extensive experience of assessing children and young people for Autism Spectrum Conditions. This includes the use of standardised assessment tools, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2), which is recognised in good practice guidelines. Laura joined NCPS in 2019 and is a key member of our autism assessment and follow-up service.
Laura is known to her peers as hard working, reliable, supportive and engages in high quality clinical work.
Speech and Language Therapists
Speech and Language Therapist
Managing Director of The Talking House
Based at 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).
BSc (Hons) MRCSLT MASLTIP
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!
Consultant Child Psychiatrist
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 10years.
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