National Autistic Society’s campaigns chief takes top role at I CAN

Children’s communication charity I CAN has appointed the National Autistic Society (NAS)’s external affairs director as its next chief executive.

Jane Harris takes the top job at I CAN on 1 April after six years as director of external affairs and social change at NAS, where she was responsible for policy, campaigning, marketing, communications and volunteering.

When she joins I CAN her priority will be to build on the charity’s three year plan to highlight the impact that speech, language and communication has on children’s development and life chances.

“I’m really excited to be joining I CAN as its next chief executive,” said Harris, who has also held senior campaigning and communication roles at Leonard Cheshire Disability and Rethink Mental Illness.

I am extremely impressed by the organisation’s history, impact and expertise. At the same time, it is clear that support for children with communication problems is totally inadequate.

“I hope I can use my previous experience to secure more support and understanding to improve education and social mobility and reduce the inequalities faced by children with communication problems.”

Harris replaces Bob Reitemeier who is retiring. He said: “I am delighted to welcome Jane to I CAN. Her experience in leading major campaigns and raising the profile of autism and mental health will be incredibly useful for the promotion of children’s language development at I CAN.”

I CAN chair Roy Blatchford added: “Jane’s appointment is a clear indication of our intention to ensure the voices of some of the most marginalised are heard in the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which has had such a significant impact on their daily lives.”

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