Autism Diagnostic Service (LADS)

LADs is a multidisciplinary team, of mental health and learning disability professionals with specialist knowledge of autism. The team provides assessment and diagnosis of people of all intellectual abilities, who may have autism.

Meet our Autism Diagnostic Service (LADS) team
Name: Dr Conor Davidson | Role: Clinical Lead, Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Conor Davidson is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead of the Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service. He was appointed Autism Champion for the Royal College of Psychiatrists in May 2021. Before joining Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service full time in 2020, Conor was Autism Lead for Tees, Esk & Wear Valley NHS Trust (TEWV). The TEWV Autism Project launched a large-scale training program and the Autism Clinical Link Pathway; its achievements were recognised with a National Autistic Society award in 2019. Conor has published several journal articles and book chapters focusing on autism and mental health. Conor is a lifelong Leeds United supporter, which is finally starting to pay off after many years of disappointment.

Name: Dr Keri Lodge | Role: Consultant Psychiatrist

Dr Keri Lodge is a Consultant Psychiatrist In Learning Disability Psychiatry with the Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service. Before becoming a doctor, she worked as a community support worker for adults with a learning disability and autistic adults and as a learning support assistant to college students with additional educational needs. Keri is passionate about the health inequalities experienced by people with learning disabilities and autistic people and has published several articles on this subject. She has also published several book chapters on autism and learning disabilities. Her research interests to date include identifying autism in people who are deaf, blind or deafblind. Outside of work, she is a sibling carer. 

Name: Dr Alwyn Kam | Role: Specialty Doctor 

Dr Alwyn Kam is a Specialty Doctor Psychiatrist. He graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Biochemistry and continued his education by studying medicine. After qualifying, he worked as a doctor in Australia for two years. Dr Kam works with the Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service for two and half days a week and with the Leeds Learning Disability Service for two and a half days. He has maintained a keen interest in autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions. He has co-authored several published papers and been a contributing author to a book on autism. 

Name: Sarah Beswick | Role: Clinical Team Manager

As team manager of the Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service, Sarah aims to ensure all people accessing the service have the best possible experience. Sarah qualified as an Occupational Therapist at Liverpool in 1989 and has worked in inpatient and community services with adults with Learning disabilities, mental health needs, and forensic services throughout her career. Passionate about ensuring the best clinical services are delivered to people accessing health care, Sarah strives to support her team, people accessing the service and their families and carers, and is always receptive to their ideas, experience, and feedback to incorporate this to shape and improve what we do. Sarah uses her clinical and managerial experience to support the team so they can deliver a clinical service with high standards of safety and clinical excellence.

Name: Laura Drage | Role: Clinical Psychologist

Laura works as a newly appointed clinical psychologist in the Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service. She qualified as a clinical psychologist in 2015 and since then has worked in various secondary mental health teams in Halifax and Bradford. Before clinical training and since she has maintained an interest in psychosis alongside neurodevelopmental conditions. Her role involves conducting diagnostic assessments and supporting LYPFT professionals with autism awareness training and consultation. She is keen to support a personalised formulation approach to the diagnostic process and future care for people with an autism diagnosis.

Name: Janet Tsiga | Role: Autism Nurse

Janet qualified as a Learning Disability Nurse at Bradford University in 2004. She was seconded into a 12-month project for the Leeds Clinical Commissioning Groups to pilot a project of facilitating quality and improving the uptake of annual health checks for adults with Learning Disabilities. Shortly after, she was involved with two other nurses in a two-year CQUIN within the 3 CCG areas of Leeds to continue implementing the pilot work. She currently works as an Autism Nurse within the Leeds Diagnostic Service as part of the Multi-Disciplinary Team utilising specialist assessments. She is also part of the team providing autism awareness training to other professionals, carers and students within the LYPFT.

Name: Vicky Straker | Role: Autism Nurse

Vicky is a specialist autism Nurse who has worked with the Leeds Autism Diagnostic service for over four years. Vicky qualified as a Registered Nurse for Learning Disabilities 14 years ago and has worked in Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in various positions. Vicky is very passionate about providing service users with high quality care & takes a keen interest in ensuring the pathway remains efficient & a fulfilling experience for service users.

Name: Joanne Field | Role: Autism Advanced Practitioner

Joanne is an Occupational Therapist by profession, qualifying in 2004. She has previous experience working with adults with ADHD, autism, and mental health. As well as working in the Neurodevelopmental Service, she has experience working in various mental health settings, including community mental health teams and acute mental health services. Jo has experience in providing advice about reasonable adjustments in the workplace and educational settings, and this is a strong area of interest for her. Jo has previously worked at Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service in a previous role, but in 2022 has started a new role working with colleagues to develop training and consultation about Autism for other professionals in our Trust to help autistic adults have better care in mental health services. She is also involved in the assessment pathway.

Name: Elizabeth de Mello | Role: Occupational Therapist 

On qualifying with an MSc in Occupational Therapy in 2014, Liz specialised in pre-vocational training/rehabilitation before joining the Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service team in November 2018. She brings 16 years of experience from her previous career as a vocational guidance counsellor for young people with social, emotional, and mental health difficulties in a range of educational and secure settings. She aims to enable and empower people to overcome the challenges they face, to gain more control over their lives and participate fully in society.

Name: Emma Jackson | Role: Neurodevelopment Service Team Co-ordinator

Emma has over 10 years of experience working in the NHS. Prior to this, she has an extensive background working in the private sector. Emma has a passion and drive to provide NHS services with a high calibre and professional administrative management support. Emma started working for Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service in 2017 as the Team Coordinator. Emma’s main responsibility in the service is to ensure healthcare professionals are supported adequately to perform their roles.

Name: Annmarie Collier | Role: Service Support Secretary

Annmarie joined the team in March 2021 after spending 12 years in general practice as a Medical Secretary/Referrals Manager. She is an experienced secondary care Medical Secretary/MDT Co-ordinator, having worked at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust for 15 years in several surgical specialties and a PA Role working for the National Cancer Research Network.

Name: Laura Sutcliffe | Role: Service Support Secretary

Laura is a Service Support Secretary and is responsible for administrative tasks for the Leeds Autism Diagnostic Service.



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