Catherine Pownall

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

Mary Yong

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

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.

Janet Yip

Freelance Administrative Manager

As an experienced Administrator, Janet has been involved in independent client management for many years. Her motivation is to provide a personal and reliable service so that each teacher, clinician and parent feels supported from enquiry through to registration. Janet enjoys building long-term relationships and is committed to ensuring that each member of the Bridges community has a positive experience of the platform. She works really well within the team and is a fantastic person to have on board as we endeavour to improve the well-being of children who engage in social learning
with us.

Shanice Teo Jia Ning

Digital Illustrator and Web Resource Developer

Shanice is an experienced freelance illustrator who graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a BA (Hons) in 3D Games Art & Design. Her vision is to use her creativity to bring concepts and ideas to life for people to enjoy. This meshes well with the ideals of Bridges in designing relatable characters and story contexts to teach social understanding. She has also been a key player in the intuitive design of the ‘Bridges Platform: Version 2’. Shanice works hard to ensure that we can introduce amazing new visual resources to the world and it is a great pleasure to have her with us.