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Paul Dickinson

Paul Dickinson

Clinical Psychologist

BA, BSc, MA, MSc. Paul has been a Clinical Psychologist for almost 30 years. He has worked in the fields of secure inpatient care, child and adolescent mental health services and child, autism diagnostic services and adolescent and adult Intellectual Disability services.

Paul has had a specialist interest in Autism that dates to his Undergraduate days and has worked in the development and delivery of autism services throughout his career. He studied with Professors John and Elizabeth Newson at the Child Development Research Unit at Nottingham University in the late 1980s and after becoming a Clinical Psychologist, undertook post qualification training with Professor Lorna Wing and Dr Judy Gould. He also worked alongside Professor Gillian Baird at the Newcomen Centre at Guy’s Hospital in the 1990s. While working in London, Paul co-wrote the book It Can Get Better with his colleague Liz Hannah. This book for parents of pre-school and primary age autistic children was published by the National Autistic Society and ultimately translated into several languages, including Arabic.

Paul worked for over a decade in Scotland and was a member of a number of NHS Scotland and Scottish Parliament working parties involved in the development of autism services across Scotland. He participated in producing the first ever Clinical Guideline for Autism in children and young people to be published in the UK, produced but the Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) in 2006. He was also involved in the design and launch of the Pines Centre in Inverness, a multi-agency centre providing services for young people with autism and their families. The Pines brought NHS, Education, Social Work and Voluntary sector staff together in one building, and the building itself had sound dampening and shielded lighting to support the sensory needs of autistic people. It was the first of its kind in Scotland and possibly in the UK.

After almost 20 years in the NHS as a trainee and then qualified Clinical Psychologist, Paul went to work for an independent sector social care provider, supporting their services for autistic people with highly complex needs.

Over the last 20 years, Paul’s interest has focused increasingly on working with the families and staff that support young people and adults with autism and intellectual disabilities, especially those who present with behaviours that challenge services. He believes passionately that change is possible and can happen in services where the emphasis is on providing the best quality of life for vulnerable people. As part of this, he is committed to the reduction and elimination of restrictive practices in services. He has presented seminar papers on his work in this area at both National Autistic Society and British Institute of Learning Disability conferences.

Paul joined Studio3 as a Consultant in 2016 and became part of its clinical services team in 2021. He has a special interest in staff wellbeing and the pastoral care of staff working in complex, demanding and stressful contexts. He is also an Ordained Priest in the Church of England with training in pastoral counselling and is a part-time hospital Chaplain.

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