Our Mission

To ensure that all individuals on the Autism Spectrum receive an individual service, that will improve their lives enabling them to live as independently and autonomously as possible.

About Hoffmann Foundation for Autism (HFA)

A registered charity, Hoffmann Foundation for Autism (HFA) has for over 65 years, pioneered specialist services to meet the needs of individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

Our Vision

Our History

  • In the beginning

    Alice Hoffmann
    Alice Hoffmann

    In 1953 our late Founder, Alice Hoffmann de Visme MBE, opened Noah’s Ark School, one of the first special schools in London for children with learning, communication and behavioural difficulties. Alice trained in Froebel methods of education and had developed a particular interest in the problems of children who, in those days, were excluded from education. Parents were encouraged to place their children in long stay institutions or care for them at home. Many of these children were from less affluent families and had limited access to support. Today these children would be diagnosed as severely disabled with varying degrees of autism.

    By the early 1960s parents and professionals like Alice Hoffmann along with Sybil Elgar and Lorna Wing worked together to raise awareness of the needs of autistic children and their families. Out of this the National Autistic Society (1962) and the Sybil Elgar School (1964) were also established. Long stay institutions were increasingly criticised, as was the idea that people could not be educated.

  • Milestones

    The 1972 Education Act led to the formation of special schools run by the LEAs (Local Education Authorities) and our services developed to support the changing needs of children as they grew up.

    Noah’s Ark School became a Trust and the school transitioned in 1985 to The Alice Hoffmann Educational Day Centre (AHEDC), which now supported young adults from 16-25 years of age who had no equivalent statutory continuing education support.

    At the same time Alice and a small group of North London parents established the Alice Hoffmann Homes, a new charity providing residential care as an alternative to long stay hospitals.  Together with Quadrant Housing Association they opened the first special needs house in North London in 1986, which allowed individuals to move back to be nearer their parents.

    In the early 1990s AHEDC was renamed to the Hoffmann de Visme Services as its provision expanded to provide for the emotional as well as educational needs of individuals on the spectrum.

    In 1992 we set up our Community Resource Team (CRT) offering outreach services to young people over 25 who could no longer be supported in our Educational Day Services. This was coupled with one of the first outreach support and specialist assessments services to individuals with Asperger’s syndrome. During this time very little was known about the support needs of people with Asperger’s syndrome and once again we were breaking new ground.

    Alongside this, we established a clinical development post and one of the first counselling services for individuals across the Autism Spectrum. Working alongside the Professional Development Foundation, our counsellors adapted traditional counselling models to reflect the different social, emotional and cognitive needs of the neurodiverse community. The focus being on a psycho-educational and integrative therapeutic approach, many of the original counsellors are now independent autism specialist therapists and researchers.

  • Coming together

    In 1997 the two Hoffmann Charities merged, as the Hoffmann de Visme Foundation, a name, which in 2004 was simplified to our present name of the Hoffmann Foundation for Autism.

    Today, the Hoffmann Foundation for Autism consists of Residential Services; Supported Living Services; a Therapeutic Support Service and the Hub Day Activities Centre, which is still located in North London’s Wood Green, where Noah’s Ark began.  Our values remain the same today as they did when Alice first began – to be responsive to the needs of the individual and to have autism at the heart of all we do.

  • Mission

    To ensure that all individuals on the Autism Spectrum receive an individual service, that will improve their lives enabling them to live as independently and autonomously as possible.

  • Vision

    To provide a safe and enriching environment for people on the Autism Spectrum to develop to their full potential.

Board of trustees

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Ayesha Pathmanadan Chair
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Alex Jarman Trustee
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Charles Kesser Trustee
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Falak Yussouf Trustee
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Floretta Lewis Trustee
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Qamar Hamid Treasurer
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Alison Watson Trustee

Senior Management Team

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Harton Bailey Chief Executive
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Christolin Rosairo Finance Manager
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Derek Sweeney Head of HR
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