Over the last 20 years, she has grown a successful practice; working as a trainer and coach advising and directing professionals with communication challenges. She is a qualified CBT (cognitive behaviour therapist) from the University of Worcester and member of the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy), she runs a private practice offering post-diagnostic support and runs voluntary drama and social skills groups for young people on the autistic spectrum. Tessa founded act for autism in 2015 because she is passionate about supporting young people with autism and creating awareness in the wider community.
An actor, teacher of Drama and workshop leader. As an actor, she worked extensively on television and in theatre, including Dangerfield and Casualty. In theatre, she has played leading roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the NationalTheatre and West End musicals. She tutors and mentors drama students as well as teaching in a mainstream school. She has a BA (Hons) in Theatre Studies, an MA in the Advance Workings of Shakespeare and has a B Phil in Autism from Birmingham University.
Jane is passionate about all children having a voice, her work at act for autism developing workshops and strategies together with Tessa, is the perfect vehicle to change the way we look at autism.
Having attended a workshop run by Jane Gurnett and Tessa Morton for staff in a mainstream school, their professional skills and energy in engaging a group are impressive. Their passion, good sense and respect for pupils and staff underpin all they present. Both have a background in drama and use this to good effect. Their key aim is to enable staff to connect with and understand the emotional state and perspective of pupils with autism, focusing on difference not deficit.
Jane and Tessa work together and intersperse short exercises with discussion very effectively. By the end of the session, the staff had gained ideas on how to understand and connect with pupils with autism and were keen to adapt their practice accordingly.