Hello and welcome!





My role in Sarah Houghton-Birrell and Associates is to focus on developing Sarah Houghton-Birrell and Associates’ offer alongside the work of my Associate, Marie Johnson. Below is the experience that has led me to this point. 

From early on in my education career as a teacher my passion has been to support positive outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and the professionals that work with and for them. My three decades of experience of working in education and other settings, with individuals, families and professional colleagues includes:

  • Appointment as an Autism Inclusion Expert for the Department for Education
  • Registered UK Training Provider (Reference Number 10085245)
  • Approved provider for OCN Credit4Learning (courses at Level 3 and 4)
  • Autism specialist and local authority advisory teacher for autism (all ages with a specialism in the early years )
  • Classroom practitioner and senior leader (Assistant Head and Autism Co-ordinator) in mainstream and special schools, with individuals from the age of 2 years to adulthood.
  • 5 years as a full-time independent autism consultant and trainer for all age groups and settings
  • Former SEND Governor at a local outstanding primary school
  • Work with individuals, schools, colleges, universities, parents, parent carer forums, voluntary organisations, charities, local authorities, the Department for Education and other organisations to promote optimal understanding, support and inclusion of children, young people and adults and their families.
  • Family experience of  neurodiverse and mental health needs. 
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Autism at Master’s Level from Birmingham University 
  • Attendance certificate for a Post Graduate Certificate in Asperger’s Syndrome from Sheffield Hallam University
  • A wide range of autism and SEND related certificates including TEACCH, PECS, Early Bird and Early Bird Plus ( area co-ordinator) , Intensive Interaction and many , many more. 
  • Participated in autism related conferences, written articles for a range of publications and organisations and my work used by the DfE for good practice case studies on paper and film
  • Provided supporting evidence for a range of legal cases
  • Advised on autism friendly strategic development for a range of  organisations including charities, local authorities , schools, colleges, theatres , art galleries, voluntary agencies , sports facilities , workplaces and architectural/design companies (autism friendly designs and environments), and many more

I have a current Enhanced DBS certificate and professional insurances ( PII and PPLI)

Finally, and most importantly, I put at the heart of my work the voice and experiences of autistic individuals, both the challenges and the positives. This is derived from my lived experience of neurodiverse individuals , consultation and agreement with autistic friends and colleagues, my work with autistic children ,young people and adults over many years and my regular reading of blogs and autobiographical accounts, all of which I consider my biggest influence. Learners on my courses often comment upon how central the lived experience of autistic people is and how much they learn about their perspective and experiences.  I am and will continue to be person-centred  and respectful of the autistic community and seek to build bridges in society wherever possible by increasing understanding and acceptance wherever I can


Sarah Houghton-Birrell and Associates is based in the North of England , UK. .