About Us

Who we are and what we do?


Who we are and what we do?

ADD-vance is a registered charity set up in Hertfordshire in 1996 to support and empower adults, children and families with Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related conditions in Hertfordshire.

Both these disorders make it difficult for children to succeed in school because of the resulting anxiety and behaviour difficulties. Parents often struggle with the challenging behaviour at home and can find that usual discipline methods are ineffective. Bad parenting does not cause these conditions but all too often it is the parent who feels blamed. This can leave parents feeling demoralised, isolated and unheard.

This is where we come in:

  • At ADD-vance we listen.
  • At ADD-vance we are non-judgmental.
  • At ADD-vance we give strategies, support and information.
  • At ADD-vance we provide a confidential, safe and friendly atmosphere where parents can speak freely (often for the first time) about their child/family issues.
  • At ADD-vance we give space for emotions.

Our Team

  • Anne Ross
    Project Director MBPsS
    Behavioural Psychologist, Specialist Autism/ADHD Behavioural Coach & Trainer

    I started ADD-vance in 1996 to help me cope with Autism & ADHD issues in my own family. I have since worked for many years as a specialist coach of families and adults who are dealing with all aspects of living with Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I have been training front-line workers in health, education and social care and other statuary services, as well as running specialist parenting courses and workshops for the past 5 years.
    My personal experiences of living with Autism & ADHD have had a significant effect on my involvement in this disability area and I am proud to have enabled many people to make positive differences to their lives and the lives of others; focusing on potential rather than past performance and working towards achieving desired goals.

  • Pamela Reitemeier
    Training Manager, BA(Hons), PgC (Autism)

    I have been active, in support of people with autism and their families, for over a decade and recently been appointed as the ADD-vance Training Manager. For the past 5 years, I have been working as Training Consultant, raising awareness about Autism and Asperger Syndrome, amongst front-line workers in health, education and social care. I have successfully managed an intensive, early autism behavioural programme (Applied Behaviour Analysis) for over five years and have studied autism at the University of Birmingham. I also work in a voluntary capacity both nationally (with the National Autistic Society) and locally (with the harc, the NAS Branch and AAA, a consortium of parent support groups). Prior to this, I spent aver a decade working for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Chad (West Africa), in Bangladesh and in the UK (communication and training).

  • Gemma Biggs
    Finance and Administration Officer

    After being made redundant from a long term job in HR/Finance in 2011, I decided to spend a couple of years being a full time Mum/carer to my two daughters, both of whom have additional needs. I joined the ADD-vance office team in October 2013 on a part-time basis. Working in an organisation where helping other parents and families is the primary aim is very different to where I used to work and it is great being part of such a positive and inspiring team.

  • Justine Ruckley
    Services Administrator

    My name is Justine Ruckley and I am mum to 2 wonderfully different children. My eldest child was diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger’s at the age of 5. Since that time our family has been through some very trying times and I know that there will be many more to come. However, the support of others such as ADD-vance has helped me understand that I’m not alone and that there is always someone willing to listen. I hope that what I’ve learnt from my own personal experience will help others feel the same.

  • Cathy May MA (Autism Spectrum)
    Senior Specialist Autism/ADHD Behavioural Coach

    I have been a Specialist Coach for Add-vance since 2009. I have worked in a school for children with special needs, supporting them and their parents, and have completed many courses including Counselling, Behaviour and Crisis Intervention and Mediation. I work as a volunteer for harc (Hertfordshire branch of the National Autistic Society) and currently run their helpline. I have had many years experience dealing with the challenges facing the parents and carers of children with Autism, ADHD and related conditions. As a parent myself of children with these issues, I know that the journey for these families can be difficult. My aim is to offer support to those who need it, helping them to move forward, gain confidence and develop strategies to enable them to improve their lives.

  • Russell Hedger
    Autism/ADHD Specialist Coach

    My name is Russell Hedger, I’m a single father to 3 of the most annoying, dysfunctional yet unique and loving children, they have been my drive and motivation in understanding the difficulties that Autism and ADHD conditions present not only to our children, but to our families as well, I’m in the unique position to work alongside the whole family and apply many proven techniques to aid recovery in the short and long term. My experiences are vast and I have also completed many courses that enable me to offer even more solutions that the whole family benefits from. I have been with ADD-vance for more than 5 years now and have provided dedicated support to many families existing alongside Autism, Aspergers and ADHD.

  • Robin Wilding
    Autism/ADHD Specialist Coach

    My name is Robin Wilding, a busy Mum to four beautiful children. My eldest child was diagnosed with Aspergers and ADHD at the age of 8yrs, leading me to train as a specialist coach with ADD-vance. I recognise the challenges parents face with their children and am always humbled by their resilience. My aim is to offer strategies to work with individual families and children, to improve family life as a whole, offering a fresh perspective without judging. Everyone can feel as though they’ve run out of ideas and sometimes may simply need a little support to regain the confidence in their own resourcefulness.

  • Dawn Wright
    Autism/ADHD Specialist Coach

    I am Dawn a Mum to 3 wonderful boys two of which have additional needs. I found Add-vance when I needed support myself and then had a huge passion to help other families in the same way. I trained and became a specialist coach and hope that some of my personal experiences and the knowledge I have through training help as many of you as possible on the road you are following!

  • Karen Hatherly
    Autism/ADHD Specialist Coach

    I’m Karen and I found ADD-vance when my son was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) when he was six. I realised I needed more than a prescription to help me cope with the challenges of bringing up a child with these issues and discovered a local support group run by ADD-vance and finally plucked up the courage to attend. From that first group meeting my life changed and I learnt that with the help and support from other parents in the same predicament and the invaluable advice and knowledge from the ADD-vance team, I could cope, I could do it and it wasn’t all my fault. Over the years I watched parents and carers turn up to their first support group meetings and recognised all the fears and worries I had experienced when my son was younger. I decided that I wanted to be part of this amazing team that is making such a difference to families with children on the spectrum and so I applied for the position of Specialist Coach. This is such a rewarding job and I am so very pleased to have learnt how to make a difference to families facing the challenges of raising children with ADHD and ASD.

  • Sarah Secoy
    MA SEN, BEd ( Hons ),Cert SpLD
    Autism/ADHD Specialist Coach and Qualified Teacher

    I joined ADD-vance as a Specialist Coach in 2013 following access and membership to the charity both as a parent and as a professional .I currently teach in a mainstream school for children with SEN as a specialist support teacher of Specific Learning Difficulties and Social Communication Skills .This post lends itself well to coaching families through specific issues and topics related to the conditions associated with ASD and ADHD.
    I have taught across all key stages in a variety of school settings and worked for Local Authority within Specialist SEN teams. I have a broad knowledge and understanding of the impact these conditions can have on an individual’s Health, Education and Care within the school, home and community .
    l am passionate about supporting and empowering families to be able to know how to confidently access the most appropriate strategies and provision that will enhance the lives of their family members.
    It is so rewarding to see positive life changes in families through coaching. I am privileged as a Specialist Coach to be part of this process and to be able to see the difference that it can make to people’s lives.


Registered as a charity in England and Wales (1158968) © The ADD-vance ADHD and Autism Trust 2015