Who We Are

logoSpecial Kids in the UK is a charity for families who have a child of any age with special needs.

Families who have children and young people with special needs often deal with similar challenges. They may have concerns about education, services, therapies, respite and other issues directly related to their child. Special Kids in the UK aim is to bring families together for friendship, to share information and to support one another.

Meet The Team

Ashleigh Cookson
Chair Of Trustees

I have four grown up children and we live with dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD and cerebral palsy. Until recently, I was working in my family business but will be taking a career change and moving into being a special needs nanny. I stumbled across special kids in the UK when my youngest daughter, who has mild cerebral palsy, was 5 years old. I found like minded people, dealing with many of the same issues we were. I was one of four parents who felt Special Kids in the UK had much more to offer, so we applied for charity status and started fund raising. Special Kids in the UK has changed my life, it gave me a place to go when I had concerns or worries, when I needed a friend or a shoulder to cry on and friends that understood my life.

Sandy Braithwaite
Vice Chair

I am mum of four girls ,with collection of additional needs including Asd , complex learning difficulties, epilepsy and physical disabilities. My youngest daughter also has a congenital heart defect . I have 15 years experience working with adults who have severe learning difficulties in the community. I have been trustee and member of Special Kids in the UK since we first applied for charity status in 2005 . Special Kids in the UK is very much a part of our family life .

Sarah Laker

I’m Sarah mum to 2 girls. I was introduced to Special Kids in the UK when my youngest daughter, now a teenager, was just 2 years old and I was looking for a diagnosis. I’ve made many lifelong friends who are now more like family than friends as over the years we’ve supported each other during the ups and downs of a child with extra needs. I was honoured to be asked to be a trustee in 2013 and manage to juggle running my own business alongside my trustee responsibilities.

Courtney Cookson

I am one of four children and between us we share a variety of additional needs! I have been involved in Special Kids in the UK for almost as long as I can remember, first as a sibling, then as a volunteer and now as a trustee. The charity is very close to my heart and is the reason that I now work in the special needs world.
I have cared for many young people with special needs since I was 16. I am passionate about working with and making a difference in the lives of as many children as I can. I am a trained special needs teacher and currently work in mainstream. Special Kids is a huge part of my life and I hope it always will be! here

Tandy Hearne

I’m mum to 4 great kids, including my youngest who has CP, Epilepsy and a variety of other health conditions.
I stumbled across Special kids when she was a few months old and I was looking for… I don’t know, answers maybe?
Special kids quickly became something very close to my heart and I’ve made lifelong friendships with people who have supported me.
I was surprised and honoured to be asked to become a trustee and I’m looking forward to working with my fellow trustees.

Laurence Hearne

I’m Dad to 4, my youngest is severely disabled with many health needs. I was introduced to Special Kids by my wife, who insisted she wanted to go camping with some of the people she had been talking to on the forum.
I agreed to go, once, and the rest is history, I was hooked and since then Special kids has become a huge and important part of my life. I was shocked when I was asked to be a trustee but didn’t hesitate to agree and I’m looking forward to the challenge.