Board of Trustees
Sue is a mum of two, whose eldest daughter has ASD. When she started a home ABA programme in April 2014, she saw immediate results and became an instant advocate for ABA.
Sue has worked as a programme manager for graduate trainees and as a journalist. In her spare time, she established a network for employees with disabilities and those with disabled family members.
She has a Masters in Human Resources, a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and a BA in International Relations and Psychology. Sue first became involved with Focus South London which her daughter attended, and was very excited to get the opportunity to launch Focus Surrey in September 2016. Sue has volunteered as the Saturday club's Operations Manager since September 2016 as well as chair of trustees from May 2018.
June is a parent carer of a young adult son with autism who has been in a specialist ABA placement since he was 6 years old. She is experienced and trained in SEND advocacy and is a volunteer at SOSSEN, a SEND charity based in Richmond.
Her role involves advising parents/carers at their advice centres and helplines, drafting documents for appeals or attending mediation/meetings with them.
June has a degree in Chemistry and Economics, was self-employed as a leatherwear designer, has been a school governor, is nearly completing a law degree and is enjoying being a grandmother!
Kath's 9-year-old daughter has a diagnosis of ASD and ADHD. Kath has been running an ABA home schooling programme since 2017 and watched her daughter thrive ever since. Kath is a successful advocate for ABA. Kath enrolled her daughter into Focus Surrey in 2020 to assist with her socialisation. Having seen the energetic, inspiring, uplifting and extremely well run Saturday playgroup - Kath immediately volunteered.
Through Focus Surrey, Kath would like to share her experience with other families and hopes to empower them with knowledge and strategies that have helped with the progress of her own child.
Kath is Director Of Licensing , Warner Music and has been with the company for 30 years. Following Kath's own love and involvement with music, along with her own daughter's first communication through song, Kath acted on this and enrolled her daughter in Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy sessions. Kath plays an active role as ambassador for the charity. Often making speeches at corporate events to raise money. Kath is also on hand for interviews regarding charity awareness.
Lisa Masarati has been working in education for the past 15 years, with the last 9 years working with SEN in a number of different roles. She currently works as a SENCO in mainstream schools and recently completed a post graduate qualification - the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination.
Lisa's commitment to supporting pupils with special educational needs has been strengthened by having a son with Autism. When he was 3, they began a home ABA program. This approach was particularly effective in enabling her son to acquire skills that he had really struggled with previously, such as motivating him and getting his attention. Lisa is passionate about sharing her experiences of ABA with other parents and is really proud to be a trustee of Focus Surrey. Through Focus, it is her aim that more families will be introduced to an ABA approach and parents will be given the knowledge and confidence to implement some of the strategies and see progress with their own child.
Hoi has been working at home as an ABA tutor with her teenage daughter for a year. This involved applying Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) on a daily basis to develop her daughter's life skills, communication skills and reading and practical maths.
Hoi gave a talk at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists’ Clinical Excellence Network for SLTs with an Interest in ABA Study Day, to share her personal experience as a parent as well as an ABA tutor, especially during the period of the first UK Lockdown in 2020.
"I feel passionate what I am doing as an ABA tutor," Hoi said. Hoi would like to support other parents of children with ASD by sharing her own personal experience as a mother of a child with ASD as well as her experience being an ABA tutor. Focus Surrey will also benefit from Hoi's professional skills as an accountant. Hoi has worked as an accountant for more than 10 years.
Amanda has supported Focus Surrey from its inception, being part of the support crew at its first Dragon Boat fundraiser! Full of energy, Amanda has worked tirelessly to support Focus Surrey from undertaking reference checks, to proof reading and helping to register Focus Surrey with the Charity Commission. She is a hands on trustee with a can do attitude!
Amanda has a long history of raising money for charity and supporting charitable initiatives including Marie Curie; Cancer Research UK; BBC Children in Need and has even shaved her head for the Royal Marsden cancer campaign.
Amanda has undertaken a wide variety of jobs including data analyst, examiner, teaching English as a foreign language, working on a kibbutz and working with children with learning difficulties. Her social awareness and degree in Psychology gives her a keen eye for detail and broad social understanding which makes her an asset to Focus Surrey.
Why is a Saturday club important?
Our Chair, Sue, answers:
A birthday party invitation for my oldest daughter is a treasured item in our house, a play date a rare occurrence and friends extremely rare. My daughter has Autism Spectrum Disorder and finds it difficult to communicate, she has trouble getting the words out and understanding the social nuances that are involved in making friendships. She also has sensory processing disorder which means the world comes rushing in with disorientating noises, information, sights, sounds and smells and means she often feels overwhelmed in new situations or meeting new people.
My daughter is 13. When demands are put upon her which she may not understand or when instructions she cannot follow are given, when she is feeling overloaded sensory wise, she will stare
out the window, jump up and down and make what is to others
nonsensical repetitive noises but which to her make sense or provide
Like many other children with Autism my child doesn't respond to the
usual request 'go play with your friends' she has needed to be taught
how to play with toys appropriately; learning to share, how to join in,
how to communicate and how to socialise. The vast majority of children
with Autism have to be taught these skills whether they communicate
through spoken word, signing or in clear sentences that require social
So why a Saturday club? We are continually being told that our children with Autism are unique and if you meet one child with autism you meet one child with autism. So it makes sense that they would need individual targets and goals set by
experienced professionals. This is why I chose Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) as an individualised child-centred teaching approach for my child and why I agreed to help establish and chair another Focus Saturday Club using the principles of ABA.
My daughter joined Focus South London Saturday club based in Waterloo in October 2015 so she could get meaningful tutoring on play skills such as turn taking, learn fun alternatives to stimming, sharing and how to join in. It was a place she could meet and socialise with more children than those she meets in school. Like many girls with ASD my daughter is in the minority and for most of her school life she has been the only girl in an all-boys classroom. The Focus club is a place where she can practice these important play skills on different children to those she meets at school.
I have always wanted to find a place where my daughter could be herself, practice her communication skills, find fun alternatives to repetitive behaviours, and meet other children in an accepting environment. The other positive effect was that I was able to meet other like-minded parents with similar concerns and we were all able to share experiences and provide advice or support.
Unfortunately having professional oversight and one on one tutoring does cost money and our aim was to make it as affordable to as many people as possible which is why we need to fund raise to subsidise the costs and pay for vital equipment, staff and operating costs.
So if any of your potential donors ask why fundraise for a Saturday club for children with Autism in Surrey, please feel free to relay my story.