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Who we are

Staff

Joanna Buckard

Joanna Buckard

DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION

Joanna Buckard is a specialist FASD trainer and Health and Social Care Lecturer, who has recently completed an award-winning project for her Masters in Developmental Psychology focusing on how FASD is managed in the UK Criminal Justice System. Jo  has been working within the FASD field for 17 years and within the health, social and education sector for 25 years. She founded Red Balloon Training in 2008 to deliver specialist FASD training and consultancy to health, social care and education professionals and has delivered bespoke training and consultancy throughout the UK and Channel Islands. Joanna joined the National FASD staff in 2020 and has been consulting on National FASD projects over the last 14 years including speaking at conferences, delivering training, writing e-learning courses, and other materials for Midwives, GPs, Social Care Workers and other practitioners. She has taken part in and consulted on a range of films and other projects. Joanna has presented research on FASD nationally and internationally and has also spoken in Parliament as part of the APPG on FASD. She has been on the steering group for a cutting-edge FASD parenting course.  Joanna has delivered all the training for the Preventing Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies project for GMHSCP. Joanna regularly appears in the media, including BBC, Sky and other major outlets and her work has been published in book chapters. 

Sandra Butcher - Chief Executive

Sandy Butcher

Chief Executive

Sandra Ionno Butcher is Chief Executive of National FASD. Sandy joined the organisation in January 2017. She has nearly 30 years of campaigning, fund-raising, media and organisational experience, working with diverse networks to create positive change in public policy. In her prior position, she served as executive director of the international Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, recipients of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize. Most of her career has focused on the intersect of science, social responsibility and policy. Working with the Trustees, Sandy has been overseeing a realignment and expansion of the organisation’s projects. She works with stakeholders, experts, the media and policy makers to promote greater awareness of and support for those with FASD.

Sandy is mum to a teen with FASD. She and her husband are co-founders of the Hertfordshire FASD Support Network  (previously the E. Hertfordshire and Area FASD Support Network). They raise awareness through a widely read blog – FASDLearningWithHope.wordpress.com. Sandy is a lay member of the NICE Quality Standard on FASD Specialist Committee and was a contributor to the DHSC FASD Health Needs Assessment for England. She tweets at @SB_FASD.

Katie Liddle

Research & Project Officer

 

Katie is a Registered Midwife who graduated from Northumbria University in 2022. She has experience supporting women and families to make healthier lifestyle choices in pregnancy. Katie will primarily be working on the development of training courses and resources for Midwives and Healthcare professionals to support the prevention of FASD.

Outside of work Katie loves traveling, spending time with friends and family and going on long, countryside walks with her dog, Otis.

 
Elizabeth Mitchell

Elizabeth Mitchell

Helpline Advisor (volunteer)

Elizabeth has served as National FASD’s helpline  advisor for approximately 13 years. In this capacity, she has helped thousands of people  with FASD, their families and professionals seeking insight to access additional resources and support. 

Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts

 

Brian Is Director of Education & Well-being for the National Organisation for FASD and has been the lead author and co-ordinator for the Me & My FASD project and leads our training team.Brian has been a Local Authority foster carer for over 30 years. Along with his wife they have provided long term foster care for large sibling groups. They have been the Special Guardians of children that they previously looked after and currently can provide a home for three young people with FASD.

Brian has been Virtual School Head in two English Local Authorities and was one of the Virtual Heads who was on the Department for Children, Schools and Families national pilot. He was also closely involved in national pilots on One to One Tuition, Multi-Therapeutic Treatment Foster Care and the Assisted Boarding School Pathfinder.

He trained and practiced as a teacher for over 25 years His experience covers Humanities Education, Careers Education and Guidance, Young People’s Voice and Leadership and he was England’s only Advanced Skills Teacher for Enterprise Education.

 

Jessica Rutherford

 

Jessica joined National FASD in 2023 upon completion of her PhD in educational interventions for children and young people with FASD. She has spoken at 10 international conferences and has published her research. Jessica has been working in the area of FASD since 2015 in various roles from family support, training development and delivery, to service lead.

She spent three years working with a residential summer camp for young people with FASD as their Assistant Director of Operations and was involved in the National FASD Brain Base in 2019. Jessica joins National FASD to work on the Me and My FASD Project.

Jessica has a one year old and a seven month old so life is very busy. Outside of work she enjoys exploring new places with her family and all the fun that brings.

 

Alice Sewell

 
Alice is a qualified teacher with experience of supporting and teaching a wide range of children with SEND. She has more recently worked in training within education and the business sector.
 
When not at work, Alice enjoys a range of outdoor sports and has a keen eye for charity shopping.
 

Consultants

National FASD is honoured to work with innovative and talented consultants on a range of projects.

Little Man Project Logo

Gill Chester and Jennifer Compton

Gill and the Little Man Project team are creating interactive elements and animations for some of our new projects.

James Cracker

James Craker

James is leading on our website designs and our rebranding.

Mia Tkacova

Mia Tkacova Bookkeeping

Mia handles our bookkeeping and liaises with our accountants.

Trustees

Susan Fleisher

Honorary lifetime president and founder

A trailblazer in the FASD field in the UK, Susan founded NOFAS-UK in 2003  and served as executive director until she retired in 2016. Prior to setting up the charity, Susan was an executive  producer and freelancer for  Midlantic films, where her work included the Ricky Lake Show, the Oprah Winfrey show and Channel 4.

Michael Attwell

Honorary Vice-President

Michael Attwell is an independent British television producer / director and was a senior commissioning editor at Channel 4, BBC Television, and then Channel 5. He is also a former chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), which confers British Academy Awards. He is chairman of the independent media production company MAP TV.

He became the first chairman of NOFAS-UK (as we were then called) when it was founded in 2003 by Honorary Life President Susan Fleisher. In 2008, he steered NOFAS-UK through the complex process of merging with MENCAP to help keep the organisation afloat. In [20??], by mutual agreement, it was felt NOFAS-UK could stand on its own feet again, and it became once more an independent charity, now known as National FASD. He stood down as chairman in 2019 but remains a trustee.

Until 2019 he was also a trustee of Topsy UK, a charity dedicated to supporting poor rural communities in South Africa, particularly in areas affected by HIV/Aids, and focussing especially on orphans and vulnerable children.

Alasdair Bovaird

Alasdair Bovaird

Trustee

Alasdair Bovaird has enjoyed a long career in public service management. He has worked at Director and Chief Executive level in a wide range of local authorities and NHS organisations and now works as a freelance interim manager in public sector organisations and as chair of NHS England Independent Review Panels for Continuing Healthcare eligibility appeals.

Alasdair’s professional background is in organisational strategy, performance improvement and governance.

In his spare time, Alasdair is a keen follower of Rugby Union, a supporter of the Scottish international team, and was until recently Chair of Eastern Counties Rugby Union who administer the local game in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

 

Tania Griffiths

Tania Griffiths QC

Trustee

Tania Griffiths Queens Counsel was the first female member of Exchange Chambers, Liverpool. She is also a Recorder (part time judge) and is responsible for issues of equality and diversity within Chambers. She has professional and personal experience of neurodiversity from working within the Justice sector where neurodiverse people are significantly overrepresented and as an adopter she has experience of FASD/ADHD/ASD and a range of educational and other needs. She is part of the award-winning pro-bono team within Chambers providing legal support to families for The National Autistic Society’s Education Rights Service including free legal representation before the Special Educational Needs Tribunal and is currently working on building similar initiatives with the ADHD Foundation. She is very familiar with the educational needs of children with and legal issues relating to EHCPs, SEND, Social Care and accessing support with employment issues through Access to Work. She is passionate about creating a positive environment in which neurodiversity and the special gifts it brings can be celebrated rather than endured.

Dr. Patricia Jackson OBE, FRCPCH

Trustee

 

Paediatrician, Honorary Fellow University of Edinburgh Department of Child Life and Health

Dr Jackson was born in Northern Ireland, and has lived mainly in Scotland since graduating from Edinburgh University Medical School. She specialised in neuro-developmental paediatrics. Her previous role in NHS Lothian was the development and organisation of Learning Disability Services for children and young people. She established, and was the Clinical Lead for, the CEN NMCN (National Care Network in Scotland for Children with Exceptional Health Care Needs) She co-chaired the SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network) 156 Group that, in 2019, published the first UK Clinical Guideline for Children and young people exposed prenatally to alcohol.

In her teaching and research roles she has a continuing interest in improving services for children and young people with additional support needs especially those with FASD, and this links well with her interest in Sleep issues in Children and Young People.

She is involved in awareness raising about FASD as a lifelong condition through teaching, the development of e-Learning programs for Scottish Government, and online courses for paediatricians through the RCPCH, and educational events for GPs and other health colleagues.

As well as promoting awareness and knowledge with health colleagues she links with colleagues in other statutory and third sector services to seek to improve services and resources for those with FASD and their families. Through her voluntary commitment to the Childrens Tribunal System in Scotland she sees the way better awareness and understanding of FASD can improve the life outcomes of those children and young people who are care experienced, or have become involved in the judicial system.  

 

 

Nikki Pasek MBE

Trustee (acting chair)

Nikki Pasek MBE brings more than 20 years’ experience working in local government.   During that time, she has worked in both strategic and operational roles focused on developing services to support local communities and businesses. She has significant Board level experience having held positions as a Chair, Non-Executive Director and Trustee.  She has a well-developed network having worked closely with a number of national organisations and stakeholders during her career.  Nikki was awarded an MBE in recognition of her service to local communities and won the Guardian’s Public Servant of the Year Award for her work.

Roisin Reynolds

Róisín Reynolds

Trustee

Mrs Róisín Reynolds has worked in the drug and alcohol field since the early 90s in both clinical and managerial roles. During this time she also worked as a reviewer for the Health Care Commission and has delivered the RCGP Part 1 and 2 – Working with Drug Users in primary care in venues across the North West. Róisín has also facilitated workshops at several national conferences. Her current role as Senior Advisor for Alcohol Exposed Pregnancies at the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, is to lead on an initial 2 year ‘proof of concept’ programme to reduce alcohol exposed pregnancies and progress towards and ambition of ending new cases of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. She is a member of the NICE specialist committee for the FASD quality standards and has been involved in the development of the very successful Drymester campaign as part of her current role. https://www.drymester.org.uk/

Experts Committee

(advising the Seashell Trust/National FASD partnership project funded by the Department of Health)

Dr Carolyn Blackburn

Dr Carolyn Blackburn

Experts Committee

Carolyn has worked in education for nearly 25 years in early years, primary and secondary school settings.  She has researched early years practice and educational support for children and young people with FASD and published widely in this area.  She has qualifications in early years practice, special and inclusive education, research practice, teaching adults in further and higher education and research supervision. She is a Churchill Early Years Prevention and Intervention Fellow, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an associate staff member at the Champion Early Intervention Centre, NZ an Editorial Board member of Infants and Young Children and a co-convenor of the Social Justice Special Interest Group for the British Education Research Association (BERA).

Joanna Buckard

Joanna Buckard

Experts Committee

See staff listings above.

Sandra Butcher - Chief Executive

Sandy Butcher

Experts Committee

 

See staff listings above.

 
Barry Carpenter, Trustee, National FASD

Prof. Barry Carpenter OBE, CBE, D.Litt.

Experts Committee

 

Prof. Barry Carpenter (OBE, CBE, D.Litt.) is the UK’s first Professor in Mental Health in Education, Honorary Professor at universities in the UK, Ireland, Germany, and Australia.

Barry has held the leadership positions of Headteacher, Principal, Academic Director, Chief Executive, and Director of the Centre for Special Education at Westminster College, Oxford. In 2009, he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as Director of the Children with Complex Learning Difficulties & Disabilities Research Project. Barry has also overseen the development of a national project creating online ‘Training materials for teachers of children with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities’.

He has authored over 200 articles and texts on a range of learning disability/special needs topics and has co-authored 2 books on children with FASD. Barry lectures internationally and is the co-founder of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education.

Barry has 3 children – one a School Principal, one a Senior Occupational Therapist, and a daughter with Down’s Syndrome, who is an Actress and published author.

 
Jan Griffin

Jan Griffin

Experts Committee

Jan is birth mum to Rossi who is a young adult and has FASD. She has been a member of the EU Birth Mums group since its inception and the FASD UK Facebook group for longer. She believes it’s important to provide a voice for so many birth mothers who are struggling and believes education will change the future of FASD and the perspective of those who think only certain groups are responsible.  Having taken on training with IPSEA she now strives help those who find it difficult to help themselves.

Dr Cassie Jackson

Experts Committee

Cassie is a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist who is founder and director of The Centre for FASD (based in Suffolk), a multi-professional service, providing full FASD assessment, diagnosis, and post diagnostic support for children and their families.

Sharon Jackson

Sharon Jackson

Experts Committee

Sharon is founder of Much Laughter: Stand Up for FASD. She is an adoptive mum of five young adults with FASD and a former foster carer. She advises local agencies and regularly conducts trainings on FASD. She’s been involved in raising awareness of FASD for 15 years including in national media.

Michelle Jones

Michelle Jones

Experts Committee

Michelle is the Head of Outreach Services at Seashell Trust a national Centre of Excellence in the provision of services and support to children and young people with a wide range of complex communication difficulties. Her background is as a qualified teacher of Deafblindness (MSI). She  has over 20 years of experience in this specialist field.  She  has worked at both an operational and strategic level within a range of settings including LA maintained schools, LA sensory service, university, independent and specialist organisations.

Susan McGrail

Susan McGrail

Experts Committee

Susan McGrail is mother to a 13-year old with FASD, a foster carer and is founder of FASD Greater Manchester. She also is on the steering group and speaking team lead for the Parents and Carers Together Stockport.

Prof Raja Mukherjee MBE

Experts Committee

Raja is an Adult Learning Disability Consultant Psychiatrist for Surrey and Border’s Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, with interest in the management of developmental disorders across the lifespan. In September 2009 he started the first NHS based specialist Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders behavioural clinic. Dr Mukherjee completed his PhD on the subject of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in 2014. He acted as an invited advisor to the BMA board of science, the Department of Health and the World Health Organisation on the subject of FASD. Dr Mukherjee is a member of the NICE quality standards group for FASD. He is currently the UK representative to a NIH sponsored initiative to consider the research criteria for FASD. He is currently Clinical Lead for Adult neurodevelopmental services provided by Surrey and Borders including Adult ASD and ADHD services across Surrey, Hampshire and Portsmouth. He is a an executive committee member of the RCPsych SIG on neurodevelopmental disorders. Raja is Honorary Professor at the University of Salford.

Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts

Experts Committee

 

See staff listings above.

 

Dr Inyang Takon

Experts Committee

Inyang is a Consultant Neurodevelopmental Paediatrician at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. She has a special interest in FASD and carries  out diagnostic assessments for children with suspected FASD. She previously chaired the healthcare professionals’ forum on FASD and leads the ADHD service at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.  She carries out regular training on FASD and is a member of the NICE Quality Standard on FASD Specialist Committee.

Adults and Young Adults with FASD Advisory Committee

(advising the Seashell Trust/National FASD partnership project funded by the Department of Health)

Tolka Butcher
Bailie Jordan-Collins
Nyrene Cox
Rossi Griffin
Lee Harvey-Heath

Andy Jackson
Rachel Jackson
Claire McFadden
Georgia Roberts

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