Mary Yong, Co-Founder

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist B.App.Sc Speech Pathology MSPA (Australia) MSALTS (Singapore)

Mary has worked with children and young people on the autism spectrum for over 30 years and is passionate about the impact of social understanding on their well-being. She is committed to advocating for more systematic intervention and continues to champion ways to enable professionals and parents to teach social understanding. Her work with Catherine Pownall resulted in the creation the Bridges social curriculum.
Mary is held in high regard in Singapore for her significant contributions as consultant in the establishment of the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) as well as holding the position of inaugural president of the Speech And Language Therapy Association Singapore (SALTS). She established and managed the largest speech and language therapy department at Singapore General Hospital; and initiated a Memorandum Of Understanding between the University of Sydney, Australia, and her Department for continuing research and development. She has lectured to both Ministry of Health and Education, Singapore and presented at International Conferences in the USA and Australia.

Catherine Pownall, Co-Founder

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist B.Sc.(Hons) Speech Pathology MRCSLT HCPCreg. (UK) MSALTS (Singapore)

Catherine has been working in the field of autism for over 25 years. Her passion is to understand and connect with the unique way children on the autism spectrum think and learn and develop teaching resources the children can relate to. She is committed to equipping autistic children with social understanding that makes a real and lasting difference in their lives.
Catherine is an innovator and an activist for change. Prior to Bridges, she was the prime mover in motivating a group of parents and professionals in Singapore to start a pilot project (Reach-Me Project) to support autistic children in mainstream education. In consultation with the National Autistic Society UK, her development work helped establish diagnostic, training, information and school outreach services which laid the early foundation for the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore). She is a founding committee member of the Speech And Language Therapy Association Singapore (SALTS); and invited lecturer to the Master of Science in Speech and Language Pathology Programme at the National University of Singapore.


Dr Judith Gould

Special Advisor

Judith is a world-renowned Clinical Psychologist and co-Founder of the National Autistic Society’s Lorna Wing Centre for Autism. She has made an exceptional contribution to the autism community.
Judith and Lorna’s ground-breaking work on autism as a spectrum condition forms the basis of our understanding of autism today. She continues her work at the Lorna Wing Centre in the training of professionals in diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders using the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO), which she created with Dr Lorna Wing. She also continues her clinical work in the diagnosis and support of women and girls on the autism spectrum.
Catherine and Mary had the privilege of working jointly with Judith on the development of diagnostic services in Singapore under the Reach-Me Project. Judith graciously opened the Bridges specialist clinic in 2000; and was a mentor through their 12-year development process to address the need for a long-term social curriculum. Based on the core feature of the autism spectrum, she believes the key is social understanding which is the basis of the Bridges Curriculum.


Dr Jacqui Ashton-Smith

Education Consultant

Dr Jacqui Ashton-Smith is an Autism Education specialist and a highly regarded Consultant in autism, education provision and development. She has been working in the field of education and autism for over 38 years. Her specialist area is in women and girls on the autism spectrum. She was the former Director of Education Development, The National Autistic Society (UK). Her interest in Bridges is due to her long-held belief that we need to modify our teaching approach to match the learning style of our students; and the Bridges curriculum is specifically designed to meet the learning style of young people on the autism spectrum. She is keen to support further development of the curriculum, in particular for girls and teenagers.

Chris Ong

Chief Technical Officer

As a seasoned software architect and full-stack developer with over 25 years’ experience, Chris has been involved in high-end architecting, designing, and building large-scale enterprise and commercial systems for industries including: banking, stockbroking, mortgage, utilities, and general business applications. Chris specialises in high-end architecture consulting services, focusing on scalable, performance, interoperability, and extensible design. Currently, Chris is providing technical leadership and helping to develop cloud services and software portfolios across multiple ventures.

Chris’ vision is to build a world-class platform for Bridges In Social Understanding that will have measurable positive impact to the lives of these special gifted children.

Ashley Attwood

Graphic Designer BA (Hons) First Class: Graphic Design

Gaining a First-Class Honors Degree from the University of Wales in 2012, Ashley went on to win the “Best New Blood Award” at the D&AD exhibition in London in the same year. He began designing and illustrating for Bridges in 2013 and has been behind the creation of our unique characters and images ever since. In his capacity as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, we are delighted to have him as part of the Bridges team.

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