Online Counselling - 'Donna Williams', BA Hons, Dip Ed

To all my consulting clients since 1996 , this may be my last year and so I wanted to thank you all for your trust, for the purpose to which you put my passion, my encyclopedic mind, my research skills, my empathy and compassion, and my determination to try as best I could where I could to make life as equal, functional and inclusive for every one of of 1000 people with autism I strived empower in 20 years of consulting work.  

This year was finally my retirement from consulting. In Sept 2016 I learned my breast cancer treated in 2011 had become metastatic and spread to my liver and spine.  Metastatic cancer is not a curable situation.  On 28th Feb 2017 I learned no further chemo would have any chance of working for me and I became a late stage palliative care patient.

Thank you for making it a fulfilling work life.  So many adults with autism are not employable in the mainstream workforce, up to 80% remain unemployed or underemployed in spite of some excellent skills.  You all allowed me to be one of the lucky ones and taught me that whatever significant levels of ongoing disabilities I continued to have that my many abilities and assets, in the right place, could at least much of the time do some wonderful 'autie magic'.  I cannot thank you enough for that gift of a working life, or such purpose, passion, drive and to simply feel that as someone who had been thought so useless, you all taught me the pride of being someone so very useful.

Sincerely, Polly Samuel (aka 'Donna Williams')

Here, by Donna Williams
Here, by Donna Williams


I have a degree in linguistics, a postgraduate qualification in sociology (largely social psychology, social anthropology) and a Dip Ed in primary school teaching.   I have wide experience in research, counseling, and advocacy since 1996. 

As a person diagnosed with autism, I became a published author in 1991, an international public speaker in 1994 and then an autism consultant in 1996.  As an autism consultant, I have worked with over 1000 families and individuals since 1996.  My text books are used in courses on special education & psychology.  I have been hired by families, health services, human services, residential and day services and  education departments to work with people in their care and provide training.

My job as a consultant was to explore a person's current communication, interaction, behavior, development and consider which low or no cost strategies might help that person lead a fuller life, better reach their potential and establish more harmonious relationships with those in their life.   I have worked with those both formally diagnosed as well as those undiagnosed or self identifying with the autism spectrum  and am equally comfortable working with carers, professionals and directly with teens and adults who have experienced any combination of the following: 

In my 25 years in the autism field I drew upon a vast range of research interests: gut, immune, metabolic, autonomic and genetic issues as well as FASD (80% of those with FASD are today diagnosed on the autism spectrum), 'meaning deafness'/'meaning blindness' (agnosias), Exposure Anxiety, developmental delay, learning differences and learning styles, sensory processing disorders, the spectrum of communication disorders, home sign and augmented communication techniques, toileting and self injurious behaviours, co-occurring mental health issues (mood, anxiety, compulsive, personality, identity, dissociative disorders) and environments and their patterning (including learned helplessness, ODD, gaming addiction), self advocacy and diversity friendly environments and opportunities.


You can find testimonials about my consulting work here