We are unique in the way we deliver social learning because we take full advantage of your children’s specialist interests and talents as a vehicle for improved social experiences and happier social communications. There is no better way to introduce challenging social concepts than by making it fun. Being different is fantastic. We know it! But being different isn’t always easy. We listen to children and young people’s struggles and help them to get through their difficult moments. We believe in your children’s talents and the incredible and unique impact they can have on the world. At the Social Skills Agency, we embrace the neurodiversity model, which essentially describes autism as simply a difference in neurology. Not a sign of inferiority. Not an illness or a disorder.
(...) Experts are learning that helping students make the most of their native strengths and special interests, rather than focusing on trying to correct their deficits or normalize their behavior, is a more effective method of educating young people with atypical minds so they can make meaningful contributions to society. Steve Silverman, Wired
The neurodiversity model focuses on the positives that such conditions can provide to the world, rather than the negatives. Our services explore how we can better support children by celebrating their strengths, talents and abilities. Individuals on the autism spectrum are also involved in our services not only by delivering our workshops and mentoring our young people, but they are also key players in our advisory group. We recognise the need to embrace neurological differences because of the desirable skillsets that they can offer. If positively nurtured, some of your children’s special interests can become specialist skills for work and life. At the Social Skills Agency, we harness these interests to inspire social, emotional, and academic growth.
Our tutors have many years of experience working with children on the autism spectrum or are on the spectrum themselves. They are also specialists in the fields of music, theatre, films, and animation and masters of thinking outside the box. They shake up orthodox social skills teaching and make the complicated processes of social learning simple, practical and fun. All of our tutors have DBS checks.
Adri Bof has worked in the field of education for over 20 years. She has published a number of articles and has also written books while holding lectureships in several universities in South America. In 1996, she came to London to study for her PhD at the Goldsmith College, where she ended up meeting her husband. She has two amazing children, both with special needs, one with a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. In the year 2009-10, Adri received a Commendation from Princess Anne for developing an inclusive education and training package for hard-to-reach learners and their families. She has also been recognised for her work in Education by Avon and Somerset Justice Awards in 2009. She is passionate about engaging people in positive learning experiences, particularly those who find difficult to connect and trust others. Her approach to learning starts with helping students make the most of their strengths and talents.
Matt Nesbeth is an established filmmaker with Asperger’s Syndrome and a committed supporter of the Social Skills Agency. He is known for works such as Jewels (2016), Den Sniffe (2015) and New with Tags (2012). In 2012, he graduated from UWE with a BA in Media Practice. His graduation film won a Royal Television Society Award and went on to screen at acclaimed films festivals Encounters and Aesthetica. His film work has been screened internationally – in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, the US, and Canada.
Stuart Quinn is a filmmaker with Asperger’s Syndrome, who has trained as an actor at Drama Schools Arts Education and LAMDA and holds a BA in Drama Applied Theatre and Education from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. His short film A.Syndrome is told from the subjective point of view of someone with autism and was part of the NAS Autism week in March 2015.
Sean Addicott is a composer and music teacher, based in Bristol. He has worked for several years in a specialist school for boys and girls on the autism spectrum, where he was responsible for developing the school’s music programme. This school was graded as “outstanding” by OFSTED for 5 consecutive times and Sean’s creativity and pastoral skills were part of the excellent service provided. He has experience working with people with a range of special educational needs, creating bespoke programs to meet the needs of those he is working with, and enabling people to share in his passion.
Martha Wilkinson is warm and caring. She is responsible for our younger talents as well as the shy, the anxious, and the ones who need an extra hand to feel comfortable in a group. She has a Level 3 qualification in Health & Social Care, lots of experience with social clubs, and has a brother on the spectrum. She knows first-hand what a significant difference the right support can make for children on the spectrum and their families.
Mattea Thomas-Gray is an applied theatre practitioner. In 2019, she graduated from Bath Spa University with a BA/BSc in Drama and Psychology. She has a wealth of experience planning and delivering workshops for young people and has worked with young people in a variety of settings. Mattea is passionate about making a difference in young people’s lives and supporting them to achieve their full potential.
Imogen Downes is a writer and theatre-maker and specialises in teaching drama and creative writing. She trained at Bristol Old Vic and has also worked as a workshop facilitator at Bristol Old Vic, Tobacco Factory Theatre and Cheltenham Literature Festival. In 2018 she was named by Rife Magazine as one of the most influential young Bristoleons for her work in poetry. She has a brother on the autism spectrum and is passionate about using the arts and creativity as a way to connect and support children and young people.