Vanessa Alexander - National Coordinator, Parent Carer Program

Head shot of Vanessa Alexander, SA team leader How long have you been working in the autism/disability sector and in what capacity?

I am a Developmental Educator and have been working with individuals on the autism spectrum and their families since 1994. I have had experience in a variety of roles, including day options, family support, intensive intervention, student counsellor, behaviour support in pre-school & school, respite, residential support, social skills groups, and day option programs.

 I spent a short period of time working at the Scottish Autistic Society in 2000 in a day options program whilst on a working holiday. I led the development of the TAFE SA course in autism support work in 2005-2008, and have also lectured at both TAFE and Flinders University in autism and disability programs. In more recent times I managed the Autism Advisor Program in the Northern Territory 2008-2010, before returning to SA. I worked privately as an Autism Consultant for a number of years and took on the SA Team Leader for the Positive Partnerships Program in 2014.

I feel really fortunate to have had such a wide range of experiences with people on the autism spectrum and their families at different ages and stages of life.

Why Positive Partnerships?

Positive Partnerships focus on valuing individuals on the autism spectrum, and use a strengths based lens to view supporting school aged students as well as parents/ carers and school staff. I really love the Positive Partnerships resources and feel committed to promoting evidenced based materials that are free and easily accessible. I enjoy being part of a team who are reflective and who continually strive to be innovative and improve the work we do to support individuals on the autism spectrum.

What do you like most about being a Positive Partnerships Team Leader?

I really like facilitating the workshops, as each group of participants is so different, no two are ever the same! I like working across both the parent/carer workshops and the professional learning with school staff. I am also fortunate to work with a passionate SA delivery team who all come from different backgrounds and experiences and are all committed to providing a quality experience for the participants.

What do you hope to achieve in this role?

As the South Australian Team Leader, I hope to increase the profile of Positive Partnerships in SA and to reach as many parents/carers and school staff as possible. I hope to be involved in the further development of resources and tools that can assist young people on the autism spectrum to self-advocate, as well as support parents/carers, school staff and the wider community.