My name is Penny. I am a neurodiverse adult, wife and Mum to 4 boys, 3 of who are also Neurodiverse. We have 2 gorgeous dogs, a cocker spaniel and a Portuguese pointer.
I love walking with the dogs in the beautiful countryside and spend my weekends watching my boys playing football, rugby and doing gymnastics.
I have been working as a specialist mentor for the past 6 years supporting neurodiverse students and those struggling with their mental health. Both autism and ADHD are my niches and I have supported many both diagnosed and undiagnosed students to overcome barriers to accessing their studies. I work holistically and with a flexible approach, always being mind minded and adapting my work to ensure it works for the individual.
Together we explore strengths and barriers, problem solve, seek out any additional support required to move forward positively, and devise and adapt personalised strategies until they are accessible and effective. We tend to gain more self-awareness and understanding when things don’t go to plan, so hiccups along the way on an academic journey are unpicked and explored together... the most effective strategies are often devised following this process, so ‘hiccups’ are welcomed alongside recognising and celebrating successes.
I like to think that I am there to ‘hold your hand’ along the way, and support you on your journey to develop a good level of self-understanding and independence until a point that you no longer need my support. Sometimes a new or different approach to mine is required and I would always support a student to find the best possible match of a mentor in such a situation.
My overall goal for every student is to see them on a path to success, what that looks like for each individual is different, but I hope that I have and continue to make a positive difference for the students I am lucky enough to work with.
My name is Lynn marshall and I have been supporting autistic adults for the past 16 years, firstly as a tutor in a specialist residential college, and then more specifically as part of a service for autistic adults and their families in Birmingham.
I went to university a while ago now, firstly to Staffordshire University where I studied Fine Art, before moving courses and finally graduating at the University of Wolverhampton. A strange mix, but I studied Electronic Media and Women’s Studies, specialising in creating art-based films.
I have also completed a Certificate in Education and have spent time tutoring adults in creative arts and embedded literacy and numeracy, and in developing life skills at the residential college.
The past 14 years I have had the pleasure to meet and work alongside some amazing people who have helped me to develop my understanding of autism and improve the way I support people. My work has included specialist mentoring at a range of local universities, and delivering in work support for individuals who need some mentoring support to help remove barriers and sustain their employment. I have supported Undergraduate, Masters and PhD students.
My approach is always one of working in partnership, and supporting people to ultimately achieve their goals, with some guidance and support along the way. I am creative and open to new ways of thinking and working, and I am adaptable to meet the needs of each individual I support.
I will be honest with you, and I appreciate honesty too, so that we can build a foundation of trust. I believe in being consistent and reliable, and pride myself in doing what I say I am going to do.
On a personal note, I love animals and being in nature (you will see my dog Honey in my photo above) and I love nothing more than working on my creative projects.
I am really looking forward to working with you in the future and helping you to have a successful time at University.
Originally an Environmental Earth Science graduate, I went on to complete a Masters in Autism at the University of Birmingham as part of my growing interest in the fields of neurodiversity and higher education.
I first started supporting learners at further education level followed by a diversion into secondary school before moving into higher education.
It’s hard to describe my mentoring style as mentoring is very individual to every learner I’ve worked with; I like to take an empathetic, flexible and holistic approach to support each student in a way that works for them. In the past I’ve spent time working with students on things such as looking at planning and organisation and navigating the weird and wonderful world of education.
I know it takes time to build trust with a new mentor, but hopefully with a bit of humour and a few sci-fi references that mentoring can be a useful part of your time at university.
Hi, I’m Karen and I joined the Bridge team in May 2021. I’m a wife and mum to two active boys and I spent several years at home raising my family before returning to work part-time.
Although it feels like a long time ago now, I went to university straight from college after my A-levels and studied a degree in primary education with Geography at the University of Winchester - I’m still a big fan of maps and coastal landscapes! I then worked full-time as a classroom teacher for over 10 years, continuing with some academic studies alongside this role in order to support my work with children with learning differences. During the latter stages of my teaching career, I acted as a mentor for several student teachers and I am now pleased to be able to offer both study skills and mentoring support for students at Bridge.
As well as my role with Bridge, I also work part-time for Autism West Midlands supporting the delivery of the Autism Confident course for autistic adults. The course aims to offer people a supportive environment in which to learn more about their diagnosis and to make connections with other autistic individuals. Both participating in and delivering this course has allowed me to reflect on the wide and varied nature of support that can benefit autistic individuals across many aspects of their lives and I feel that this allows me to bring an extra level of awareness to my mentoring role.
Personally, I have spent a lot of time researching and reading about neurodiversity during my own journey towards my autism diagnosis at the age of 40. The diagnosis has given me an increased level of understanding and insight into the ways in which being autistic can impact upon our day-to-day lives and experiences, particularly during times of transition and change. Although I was unaware that I was autistic when I was at university, looking back I can see how the mentoring and support offered by those of us at Bridge could have been so beneficial for me at that point in my life.
I feel that as someone who is autistic myself, I offer an understanding and supportive space where students can feel comfortable to share their experiences and explore the challenges that may come up during their time at Uni. I encourage open and honest conversation and aim to enable a collaborative approach towards identifying goals, tackling problems and developing skills. My hope is that the students I support will develop their sense of self-awareness and understanding over the course of their time in higher education, in order that they will be able to advocate for themselves with increasing confidence as they navigate their lives at their chosen university and beyond.
Hello, I'm Lucy and I have been at Bridge Mentoring since February 2021. I have come from a teaching background (in both the public and private sectors) with over 12 years of working with neurodiverse children, students, and adults.
I am neurodiverse myself and have recently completed a MA in Education (Special Educational Needs) with the University of Exeter. During my Ma, I dedicated my research to focus on the field of autism and neurodiversity in education. I gained theoretical insight into the role of policy, practice, co-occurrent conditions, and the international inclusion environment of higher education (of which all remain current research interests).
My mentoring style (holistic in nature) is completely tailored to the needs of my students - fluid and adaptive assistance with planning, organisation, communication, whilst also exploring any current barriers to accessing learning in higher education.
I have been mentoring for over a year now and feel partaking in regular CPD training enables me to continue to work with not only a student-led approach (that is more conducive to the meeting the individualistic needs of my students), but also facilitates ongoing review of current working practices.
My aim is to help students achieve their potential during their academic journey during their time with me. I would like to think that when students finish their mentoring support - they are empowered with awareness, acceptance, and advocacy as a neurodiverse person, that is about to embark on the next step of their journey.
If you have an interest in nature, crafting, swimming, baking, or cooking (I love to learn new things, and to share my knowledge too). I really look forward to meeting you, working with you and assisting you in your academic endeavours.
My name is Amanda. I have worked extensively within the autistic community for over thirty years. I have seen many changes in approaches and in the increased understanding of autism. I began my career by working for the RNIB at a small residential school for visually impaired children. I moved from here to a specialist autistic school for ages between 11- 19 and remained there for over seventeen years. It was here I studied for my degree and then P.G.C.E, all whilst working and juggling family life. When my own boys headed to university I decided to venture out into the wider world and set up my own creative business, this was a fantastic opportunity to reach out to a wider range of learners, both neurodiverse and neurotypical, children and adults from all aspects of life. Having had the opportunity to experience working with many diverse types of learners I realised that my passion was to support, encourage, motivate, and inspire people to reach their full potential whatever that may be. I began my work as a specialist mentor and study skills provider in 2017 and qualified as a specialist dyslexia tutor in higher education in 2019. I continue to learn on a daily basis, from the people around me, my family, my colleagues, and my students, I consistently keep up to date with new developments through continuing my professional development in courses, conferences, and reading,
Having supported many students over the past five years I have continued to learn and develop the support I offer. I believe that the support should have the student at the centre and tailored specifically for their needs and requirements. Offering both mentoring and study skills support has given me a broad understanding of the challenges, hurdles, and barriers that can be found in
universities, and with that has come an in-depth knowledge of how these can be challenged and overcome.
Both mentoring and study skills whether undergraduate or Ph.D. offer holistic support that gives a personalised approach to study and university life in a calm and trusting environment. I have an easy-going nature and work with positivity at the centre of my approach. Most of all I enjoy watching people grow and develop in academic skills, confidence, and enjoyment of life.