Our Parent Patrons are individuals who have a lived connection to autism. They are parents to an autistic child or children, or they themselves have autism.
Claire and John Coombe-Tennant
Claire and John Coombe-Tennant are parents and part of the Ambitious family. Their son Theo attended TreeHouse School.
Through John’s generosity, our Youth Patrons were able to host an education debate in the Clothmaker’s Hall in central London to mark our 21st anniversary.
Boyzone singer and actor Keith Duffy has made a huge contribution to increasing autism awareness in both the UK and Ireland.
Keith’s daughter Mia has autism and over the years he has used his platform to tirelessly fundraise for a host of autism charities, including Ambitious about Autism.
Keith supported the launch of our Talk About Autism forum – the UK’s largest online autism community – and he has also paid a visit to our TreeHouse School.
Nicky Clark is a prominent campaigner and champion of disabled people’s rights. In 2008, Nicky launched a campaign called Don't Play Me Pay Me, a site that promotes authentic portrayals of disability on the large and small screen. Nicky also campaigns on behalf of carers and against disability hate speech.
Nicky is autistic (receiving her formal diagnosis in 2015) and has two autistic daughters. Nicky’s daughter Lizzy was the first autistic actor to play a character in a major TV drama with autism (Poppy in the BBC’s Dustbin Baby). Last year Lizzy also appeared as an autistic character in the well-received BBC Radio 4 drama, Indigo Children. Nicky’s youngest daughter Emily has a learning disability and epilepsy.
Matthew Davis and Eliza Mishcon
Matthew Davis and Eliza Mischon are parents and passionate autism campaigners. Their son Issac was diagnosed with autism aged 3 and they have another daughter, Tabatha. Matthew has written beautifully about his and Eliza’s experience as parents watching Issac grow up in his blog called My Son Isaac.
Matthew co-owns creative agency Red Brick Road and has worked with us to increase and promote neurodiversity within the company. He and Eliza support our work in many different ways, from supporting events to fundraising on our behalf, and beyond.
Charlotte is an author, journalist and mother of three sons, two of whom have autism.
Her 2004 book George and Sam was published to huge acclaim and was immediately regarded as one of the key books on autism. It chronicles what daily life is like for a family with autism.
Sophie started campaigning and raising awareness of autism after her eldest daughter Grace was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. She published a book about the challenges her and her daughter face called Grace Under Pressure.
The former leader of the Women’s Equality Party has helped to tackle misconceptions about autistic women, and has been a recent champion of climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
Claire is a parent to a young autistic person. She was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and is the author of ADHD and Me, a book for children and young people.
Claire has been a community champion in our Talk About Autism online community, she is passionate about inclusion and equality, and in her spare time, she co-founded ChatterPack which provides resources, support and guidance to parents, carers school staff and other professionals in all matters relating to SEND.