Alderwood was founded in 2000 after the need was identified for bespoke, integrated programmes of care and education, delivered within a small ‘family’ home setting.

Alderwood’s philosophy is based on the TEACCH programme first developed by the University of North Carolina, USA. 

Key Staff

Anita Smart CMgr FCMI (MD) joined Alderwood in 2002 and has played a pivotal role in the growth and continued success of the organisation. Having worked in disability care for over twenty years, Anita specialises in managing ASD and associated behaviour problems.
She has worked in adult services for those with learning disabilities including managing a special care high dependency unit for adults with severe disabilities.

Anita is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, has an HNC in Social Care and Social Management and has successfully completed NVQ Level 5 in Strategic Management.

As a Principal Instructor for PROACT-SCIPr-UK®(Strategies for Crisis Intervention & Prevention), Anita has used her expertise to integrate PROACT-SCIPr-UK®within the Alderwood Visual Communication System approach. This is evidenced in the extensive training courses Anita has written and implemented both within Alderwood and externally.

Her wealth of experience has resulted in Alderwood setting up eight purpose-designed residential homes that cater for 30 young people. Anita has written and implemented extensive training courses for Alderwood residential care staff as well as external courses. She provides training and consultancy in all aspect of care home provision and documentation. Anita has presented the Alderwood outreach and transitioning work at the annual TEACCH conference at the University of North Carolina (May 2003) and also at TEACCH UK 2003 conference at the University of Northampton.

Linda Fish is Alderwood’s Operations Director and Head of Residential Service and is based at the Ecton head office. Linda alongside Anita has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the company and working closely with the Senior and registered Managers.

Linda has always had a keen interest in education and before joining Alderwood she worked in an Adult College for students with learning disabilities and a nursery whilst completing her BTEC National Certificate in Early Years Education & Childhood Studies.

Linda joined Alderwood in November 2003 as a Shift Leader and during the last thirteen years she has been a Registered Manager and latterly TEACCH Consultant and Reviewing Officer. Linda has in the past and continues to complete assessments of potential service users and head up their transitions following an agreed placement. Before the service user arrives Linda is instrumental in ensuring that all resources are in place and the transition team are fully prepared. As part of her role as Parent Liaison, Linda will keep parents and family as informed and involved as possible to ensure a smooth transition.

The training programme at Alderwood is very extensive and as Head of Safeguarding Linda has been actively involved in writing and delivering training to the Alderwood staff and external professionals. As well as her qualification in Early Years Education & Childhood Studies, Linda has a BTEC National Diploma in Health and Social Care, NVQ Level 3 in Health and Social Care, NVQ Level 4 Residential Management in Childcare and holds qualifications in PROACT-SCIPr-UK®, Safeguarding, TEACCH, First Aid and has completed Alderwood’s full training programme.

Following a visit from Professor Gary Mesibov, former TEACCH Director of the University of North Carolina, Linda was invited to attend the International TEACCH Conference in America in May 2010 where she delivered a presentation and held a workshop for all of the attendees.

In 2010 Linda introduced the Adult Development Programme which provides an individualised, broad, balanced and differentiated programme for all service users. The Adult Development Programme provides an opportunity for learning to continue throughout the day and evening to maximise the potential of each service user. It focuses on twelve areas which include social skills, money and safety awareness.

In 2013 Linda completed the Talking Mats training and has since then adapted this concept to be used in a meaningful manner with our service users to help them express their feelings and opinions.

Linda is passionate about her role at Alderwood. She works extremely closely with staff to support them in their role, but the care and welfare of our service users is always of the upmost importance.


Alderwood aims to

  • Provide specialist residential care and support for young people and adults with complex ASD
  • Provide a highly structured teaching approach using the Alderwood Visual Communication System for all aspects of the client’s life
  • Support individual residents in small units (eight residential homes) which are tailor-made for the specific client
  • Offer highly structured support for 52 weeks per year
  • Offer high staffing ratios at all times in order to support the specific needs of each individual resident
  • Value all individuals through positive relationships
  • Provide continuing education for all ages and abilities Respect the rights and dignity of all residents and maintain a positive outlook to the potential of each individual.