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Abigail completed her undergraduate degree at Sheffield University in 1989 and worked in a number of paediatric positions in the UK including community clinics, special schools, special nurseries and a language unit. Migrating to Australia she commenced work in the disability field in 1996 developing a particular interest in working with children with autism. As the Autism Project Officer for Therapy Focus she completed ‘Forging Friendships: a social skills manual for children with autism spectrum disorders and other social skill deficits’ which continues to be published by Therapy Focus.
During 13 years in the disability field, Abigail held a number of senior positions including Autism Specialist, Allied Health Officer and Clinical Standards Officer. The latter two roles involved staff training, resource development and standards monitoring. She was part of the team that developed Therapy Focus’ Life-long learning program – a competency based training program to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes of allied health professionals entering the disability field. Part of this program was further developed into the highly successful Graduate Program, taking 10 new graduates across disciplines each year and developing their competencies in the disability field. She has carried out Clinical Audits and Clinical Benchmarking across the Speech Pathology staff in Therapy Focus.
Abigail has presented at a number of conferences on a range of topics including family centred practice, using a clinical audit tool, supporting parents with learning difficulties, post graduate education in the disability sector, evaluating the school environment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and developing the social, play and friendship skills of young children with disabilities. She has presented workshops for Speech Pathology Australia on ‘Autism: current strategies and practices for speech pathologists’ and ‘Being a successful educator’. She is currently completing a Masters in Developmental Disability. She has strong interests in disability, autism, developing friendships and social skills, working with diverse families, developing reflective practice, using family centred practice and developing family quality of life.