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Home > About Us > Meet the Team

Meet the Team

We know that the quality of our service is directly related to the quality of our people and that is why we invest in our staff to ensure we maintain a talented and committed workforce. As an organisation delivering an autism-specific service, it is imperative that our staff receive appropriate training and learning opportunities to develop their expertise and maintain our high standards.

In 2011 we formally established an in-house Training Team which allows for more centralised, co-ordinated and efficient delivery of training across our large staff team which includes in excess of 500 people delivering front line services and 300 in management and support functions.

Board Members - Office Bearers

Paul Prescott (Chair)

Paul has had a lifelong career in the rail industry, culminating in Board level appointments in the UK and Ireland.  Paul is the current Chair of Scottish Autism and has an adult son with autism.

Alison Leask (Vice Chair)

Alison has 25 years of clinical nursing experience and since 1996 has had a professional and personal interest in autism.  She was a founding member of Autism Argyll and has been involved in many autism initiatives at local and national level.  Alison was leader of the NHS Education for Scotland project developing autism information resources, particularly in relation to assessment and diagnosis.  Alison qualified with an MSc in Autism in 2007 and was a member of the Scottish Government Autism Reference Group until 2015.

Paul Nelson (Treasurer)

Paul is a retired managing director who lives in Dunblane. He was educated at Queens University of Belfast and spent his career in a variety of commercial businesses. Paul has a broad range of skills in management and   negotiation and also has a strong history of community and voluntary work, notably as a local councillor, business   advisor to the Scotland Office, working on a school board and various professional associations, and making tea at Dunblane Memory cafe.

Board Members - Other Directors

Dianne Dixon

Dianne has worked for over twenty years in Higher Education in Scotland and is an experienced leader and manager of corporate functions, including Recruitment, Access and Admissions.

Margaret Mary Rafferty

Appointed to the Board in 2019, Margaret Mary was previously the Chief Executive at Ceteris for over ten years.  She has a wealth of property management experience as well as business development, sales, marketing and financial management knowledge.  Margaret Mary has personal experience of the value of support Scottish Autism offers to autistic people and their families.

Keith Wallace

Keith is a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Director with a wealth of board experience and a keen interest in corporate governance.  He has spent his executive career in railways, working on the planning and design of some of the world's largest projects; and more recently holding senior positions with rail operators in the UK on major change programmes.  His non-executive work covers rail, education and sport, bringing a broad range of skills and experience

Peigi Macarthur

Having worked in schools with various roles and responsibilities, Peigi retired from her professional career as a Head Teacher and stood down as Chair of the Secondary Head Teachers' Group.  Since retiring she has been involved in project work with the City of Edinburgh Council focusing on Leadership Development as well as various peer-led teenage education projects.

Andrew McKechanie

Andrew is a consultant psychiatrist and research fellow in autism and intellectual disability research, dividing his time between NHS clinical work and university-based research endeavours. His research work includes brain-imaging, genetic and quality-of-life studies, with a view to translate research findings into meaningful benefits.

Andrew Lester

Andrew is an architect who has a long association with Scottish Autism having previously served as Chair.  Andrew also designed New Struan School and is the parent of a young adult with autism.

Colette Robertson

Colette is a parent of an adult with autism and has been involved with Scottish Autism for over 30 years, serving on the Board for most of this time.

Senior Management Team

Dorry McLaughlin

Chief Executive 

Dorry joins Scottish Autism from Viewpoint where she was Chief Executive for eight years. Dorry has worked in housing, support and care services for some 25 years, following spells in local government and with the housing regulator in England. Although much of Dorry’s experience in recent years has been around working with older people many of the issues autistic people face will share a similar dynamic. Dorry brings to Scottish Autism expertise in leading the development of innovative services which support people who often live with complex needs.

Charlene Tait

Deputy CEO

Charlene Tait has worked in the field of autism for twenty eight years. In that time she has been engaged in direct practice and service development. She was lecturer and Course Director in Postgraduate Autism studies at the University of Strathclyde and has been involved in a number of national strategic initiatives. Charlene’s time in autism began in 1990 with Scottish Autism (then Scottish Society for Autistic Children), she returned to the organisation in 2011 to take up the post of Director of Development and is now Deputy CEO.

Her main areas of interest are in family support and enabling quality of life and quality lifestyles for people across the autism spectrum.

Sharon Stewart

Director of Human Resources

As Director of HR, Sharon is currently responsible for the effective delivery of  HR, Leadership Development, Learning and Development, Health and Safety and the Company Secretary role for Scottish Autism. She has been with Scottish Autism since October 2009. Prior to this she worked with BT, NHS 24 and the Government Health Directorate leading on HR, Employment Law, Restructures, Business Improvement and Change projects as a freelance consultant for a few years - having left her previous post as Director of HR with Scottish Enterprise (an NDPB with 2500 employees) after 17 years, in order to seek new adventures.

Jackie Latto

Director of Autism Services

Jackie’s journey with Scottish Autism started in 2006 when she was appointed as Director of Autism services. It’s a huge job with operational responsibility spanning over both adults services and new Struan school and residency.

For some 20 years before that, she worked in social work managing a diverse range of services from learning disability, mental health, domestic abuse and out of hours emergency. Her expertise in service delivery and development has enabled service quality to improve and innovative new services to be developed.

Simon Hunt

Director of Finance and Corporate Affairs

Simon is both a chartered accountant and a people person.  He has held wide-ranging senior roles in the charity, public and private sectors, in the UK and overseas.  He also has a wealth of voluntary experience, from supporting disadvantaged members of the community through to non-executive Board and committee positions across a broad range of charities.  He especially values the opportunity this role gives him to spend time with autistic people and their families, and experience at first hand the extraordinary difference the staff of Scottish Autism make.