About Us

Autism Partnership was established in 2000 to provide a comprehensive service to families and professionals caring for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Our method is progressive Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), based on an established and systematic research-based strategy, which has been scientifically proven to be the most effective intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

autistic child writing on chalk board

Autism Partnership is a non-profit company led by our Clinical Directors, Zahira Ali, who holds a Masters in Neuroscience and is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) and Donna Benton, who holds a masters degree in Applied Behavioural Analaysis. Both have been working in the field of Autism and ABA since 1999.


As an organisation, we operate two therapy centres, located in Leeds and London, providing one-to-one instructional sessions, group sessions, and training workshops. Both of our centres are registered with Ofsted as Early Years Education providers. We also provide consultation and training to schools and other agencies in the UK and across the globe. Our UK team consists of more than 20 staff, who all benefit from ongoing training and the expertise of our in-house consultants and supervisors. Our UK team is further supported by our US directors, Dr John McEachin and Dr Ron Leaf, who have more than 40 years of experience in autism intervention and are considered to be leading authorities in the field.

Our History

Autism Partnership is one of the largest and most established Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) service providers for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in the world. Formed in 1994 in the United States, we are run by professional clinicians, and specialise in providing one-to-one therapy, group interventions, school consultations, and overseas consultation for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families.

Our directors started their work together in the 1970s at the UCLA Young Autism Project. Under the mentoring of Dr Ivar Lovaas, a pioneer in the intervention of autism, John McEachin, Ronald Leaf, Mitchell Taubman, Tracee Parker, Sanford Slater, and Andrea Waks learned their profession. They were involved in all aspects of this seminal project, including the development of curriculum and behavioural intervention strategies, implementing and supervising intervention, training therapists, teachers, and parents, teaching classes, and conducting research. While at UCLA, they contributed to seminal works including books, articles, and conference presentations.

In 1994, they founded Autism Partnership to meet the tremendous need for comprehensive services required by families with children with autism. Based upon the founders’ extensive and unique experiences in providing behavioural intervention to children, adolescents, and adults, we have developed a flexible yet systematic intervention programme that provides a variety of services. Our goal was to build on the successful foundation of our previous efforts by adapting and refining the intervention and making it more widely available.

We are run by professional practitioners and have become a worldwide authority for Autism Spectrum Disorders, with branch offices in various different countries. Autism Partnership now employs more than 300 highly qualified professionals worldwide. They come from various educational disciplines and receive ongoing training from our senior US psychologists.


Our staff speak at national and international conferences and have published numerous research articles, which have appeared in peer-reviewed scientific journals. They have published some widely used books including:

  • A Work in Progress: Behaviour Management Strategies and a Curriculum for Intensive Behavioural Treatment of Autism
  • It’s Time for School: Building Quality ABA Educational Programmes for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Sense and Nonsense in the Behavioural Treatment of Autism: It Has to Be Said
  • Crafting Connections: Contemporary Applied Behaviour Analysis for Enriching the Social Lives of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Clinical Judgement: Get insight into past present and potential future of Behavior Analysis treatment in Autism


Dr John McEachin, Co-Founder and Director

John McEachin is a licensed psychologist who has been providing behavioural intervention to children with autism, as well as adolescents and adults with a wide range of developmental disabilities, for more than 40 years. He received his graduate training under Professor Ivar Lovaas at UCLA on the Young Autism Project. During his 11 years at UCLA, Dr McEachin served in various roles including clinic supervisor, research and teaching assistant, visiting professor, and acting director. His research has included the long-term follow-up study of young autistic children who received intensive behavioural treatment, which was published in 1993. Since receiving his PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1987, his work has included serving as clinical director of Developmental Disabilities Services, a division of Straight Talk in Signal Hill, California. Dr McEachin has lectured throughout the world and consulted with numerous families and agencies, assisting in the development of treatment programs and providing training to parents, group home staff, and classroom personnel. In 1994, he joined with Ron Leaf in forming Autism Partnership, which they co-direct. In 1999, they co-authored a book on Applied Behaviour Analysis for persons with autism, titled A Work in Progress. In 2008, they published It’s Time for School! Building Quality ABA Educational Programs For Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders and Sense And Nonsense In The Behavioral Treatment of Autism: It Has To Be Said and Crafting Connections: Contemporary Applied Behavior Analysis for Enriching the Social Lives of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Dr Ronald Lead, Co-Founder and Director

Dr Ronald Leaf is a licensed psychologist who has over forty years of experience in the field of autism. Dr Leaf began his career working with Professor Ivar Lovaas while receiving his undergraduate degree at UCLA. Subsequently, he received his doctorate under the direction of Dr Lovaas. During his professional training at UCLA, he served as clinic supervisor, research psychologist, lecturer, and interim director of the Young Autism Project. He was extensively involved in many of the Young Autism Project research investigations, contributed to The Me Book, and is co-author of The Me Book Videotapes, a series of instructional tapes offering training for teaching autistic children. He is co-author of A Work in Progress, a manual on behavioural treatment of autism, It’s Time for School! Building Quality ABA Educational Programs For Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Sense And Nonsense In The Behavioural Treatment of Autism: It Has To Be Said and Crafting Connections: Contemporary Applied Behaviour Analysis for Enriching the Social Lives of Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr Leaf has consulted nationally and internationally to families, school districts, day programs, and residential treatment facilities. Dr Leaf served as the director of Straight Talk’s Developmental Disabilities Services division for 15 years. This program provided residential and day treatment for adults with developmental disabilities. Dr Leaf is also the executive director of Behaviour Therapy and Learning Centre, a mental health agency providing treatment, consultation, and related services to parents, program staff, and school personnel in the United States.

Toby Mountjoy, MSc, BCBA

Toby Mountjoy is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis. With more than 20 years of experience working with individuals with ASD, he has been extensively trained by Dr Ronald Leaf and Dr John McEachin. Besides overseeing the Autism Partnership operation in Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines, and Singapore with over 100 staff, including psychologists, consultants, and therapists, he has also provided consultations to school districts, agencies, and families worldwide. Mr Mountjoy has also contributed chapters to publications such as Sense & Nonsense and It’s Time for School. In 2007, he founded the charitable Autism Partnership Foundation and Aoi Pui School to offer more services for children with Autism.

Our Management Team

Zahira Ali, MMedSc, BCBA, Clinical Director, Leeds

Zahira Ali holds a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences, and a Masters degree in Neuroscience. She first started working as a therapist with children with ASD/ASC in 1998, after which, she joined Autism Partnership (Hong Kong) in 1999. She has since accrued extensive experience under the tutelage of Dr Ron Leaf, Dr John McEachin, Dr Mitch Taubman and Toby Mountjoy in developing Applied Behaviour Analysis programmes for individuals in home/centre-based, school, and community settings. Zahira is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and is currently the Clinical Director of the Leeds centre since December 2013. She also provides consults for International families

Donna Benton, MSc, Clinical Director, London

Donna Benton holds a Masters degree in Applied Behavioural Analysis. She has been working in the field of autism and ABA since 1999. Donna completed a 15-month internship at the Autism Partnership Clinic in Seal Beach, California. Donna is the Clinical Director for the London centre, where she also consults to several local authority-run school programmes, provides training and and provides consultation for International families.

Emma Hornby, PGCE, Early Years Manager, Leeds

Emma Hornby graduated with a BSC(Hons) Degree in Environmental Management in 1998, followed by a Primary PGCE in 2014. She worked as a teacher in schools for 5 years until 2019. Emma then went onto work as a Deputy Manager and Pre-School Room Leader at a private day nursery for 2 years before joining Autism Partnership in June 2022 as the Early Years Manager. Emma is responsible for the day to day management of our Leeds centre and ensures that all of the Ofsted requirements are fulfilled.

Clare Dundon, BA(Hons), Early Years Manager, London

Clare Dundon graduated with a Montessori International Diploma in 2009, followed by a BA (hons) Degree in Early Childhood Studies in 2019. She has worked in childcare for over 20 years practicing within a wide range of areas throughout that time. Before joining Autism Partnership in April 2023 as the Early Years Manager, Clare worked as a duty manager in a Montessori setting. Clare’s responsible at our London based Centre, is the day-to-day management and ensuring that all of the Ofsted requirements are fulfilled. 

Rosie Whitaker, MSc, BCBA, Programme Supervisor, Leeds

Rosie graduated from The University of Kent with a Masters Degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis and Intellectual Disabilities in 2015 whilst working as a Behavioural Therapist in both school and home settings. In 2017, Rosie achieved Certification as Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and is also a full member of The UK's Society for Behaviour Analysts. Rosie has worked in the field of Behaviour Analysis for 12 years within a wide variety of school, community and home settings, with children ages 18 months to 16 years old. Rosie joined Autism Partnership as a Program Supervisor in May 20222 as a Program Supervisor and supervises programs across the Therapy Centre, Nursery and Schools, as well as providing Parent Support and Staff Training. 

Lynsey Hay, MSc, BCBA, Programme Supervisor, Leeds

Lynsey Hay holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis from Queens University Belfast and is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA).  She began working in the field of autism and ABA as an independent therapist in 2014.  She then joined Autism Partnership as a therapist in 2015 where she has gained experience working in client’s homes, schools, in the therapy centre and within the community.  She currently conducts case supervision in both the therapy centre and school settings, as well as parent and staff training.  

Phil Casey, MA, Programme Supervisor, Leeds

Phil Casey graduated from Edinburgh University in 2009 with a Master’s in Psychology and then trained in Psychotherapy and Counselling.  He joined Autism Partnership in 2014 as a Programme Specialist and has since gained extensive experience working in multiple settings with children, adolescents and young adults.  He is now responsible for case supervision and staff training in the Yorkshire region.

Contact us to learn more about our autism support and training.