© 2016 The Autistic Voice
Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis
Freelance Writer, Educator, Speaker and Wellbeing Advocate
'I believe our stories inspire, motivate and connect us as human beings'.
A Warm Welcome
My name is Sandra. I am a writer, educator, speaker, and wellbeing advocate who happens to be autistic. Over the course of my life I have battled with various illnesses and recently found myself back in hospital with two life threatening conditions. My outlook on life changed in that instant and I am re-evaluating and embracing my precious life.

I believe everyone has a story to tell and it's these stories which inspire, motivate and connect us as human beings. My academic research interests lie firmly in auto-ethnography, and I love to write openly; never being afraid to be truthful to my audience about the highs and lows of life. I was clinically diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in 2010 and have never let this stop me doing what I want to do.

As well as being the author of Autism and Martial Arts: A Guide for Children, Parents and Teachers, I am a successful karate, yoga and dance teacher (the latter two when my current health allows). Sensing the City: My Autistic Perspective was my second book.

I speak for local and national groups, events and conferences, universities, and until the covid pandemic hit had a regular 'gig' speaking on the National Autistic Society's Post Graduate Certificate in Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, run in unison with Sheffield Hallam University.

Additionally I have been at the forefront of national martial arts governance since 1992, am an experienced systems manager, auditor and corporate writer, and love to work with local charities when time allows.

I am happily married and live in a small Kent village with my husband Joe and our two young dogs, Ivy and Willow. Over the past few years, I have forayed into the world of yoga and simple living and their place in an ever demanding society.
Autism and Martial Arts: A Guide for Children, Parents and Teachers
This book is an insight into what might be experienced within a martial arts class. It is written with the child or young person in mind, but includes parent guidance throughout, and a section specifically for teachers. All students featured in the book are students of Sandra's. The book combines personal perspectives with those of her students to give a unique insight into the issues in the book.

'My autism path began with one student and along the way I have gathered many more autistic individuals who have touched my life in some way. I am blessed'.

Hardback - ISBN: 978-0-9933142-0-9
Perspectives of the Autistic 'Voice': An Ethnography Examining Informal Education Learning Experiences
This is Sandra's doctoral thesis.
A full copy can be found at http://shura.shu.ac.uk/8317/


Using a qualitative theoretical stance of interpretivism, this study offers an opportunity for young autistic individuals to have a 'voice' and participate in a wholly reflective discussion about their informal education learning experiences. The study uses a constructivist framework to discuss various concepts including autism as a disability, the importance of recognising the heterogeneity of the autistic population, and the significance of informal education and physical activities to the lives of the participants; the aim being to create a positive learning experience where the diversity of learners is valued and recognised as well as informing professional teacher development.

An extensive examination of the literature reveals a myriad of rich intertwining perceptions that are pertinent considerations based on concerns at the root of this research: issues around the autistic mind, pedagogy and socio-cultural learning.

A pluralist methodology is used throughout to reflect the diverse autistic community, with a strong influence underlying each phase of autoethnography and self-reflection. This is crucial to the study to utilise each autistic 'voice' including that of the researcher who is an autistic adult as well as a professional within the context of the study. In addition, teachers within the field have been given an opportunity to have a 'voice' to complement and support the data.

The data has revealed a whole range of emergent themes, which can be further explored, developed and utilised outside of the this study to produce guidelines to inform a national autism specific teacher training programme for informal educators. The study has highlighted the need for flexible pedagogy, and for teachers to be conscious of the heterogeneity of their autistic students, as well as highlighting the importance of the student/teacher relationship within informal education.
Tel: 01227 376181
PO Box 630, Ashford, Kent. TN23 9AQ
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