Budor Hamid Saigh
Ever since high school Budor saw a variety of abilities in the children surrounding her, and was quick to notice the remarkable influence familial support had on children who might otherwise be struggling.
Budor became passionate about enhancing the opportunities that were so clearly there for these children, with the right attention.
Budor arrived in the UK from Saudi Arabia in 2006, with her husband and children when they moved here for her partner's job. She needed a flexible programme that would enable her to balance her family commitments, while pursuing her dream of one day influencing policy in Saudi Arabia to help children with special educational needs.
"In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the welfare of children, whether they have special needs or not. Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and neurotypical children can find their school life affected by low self-esteem, poor physical health, or psychological distress. This can influence their quality of life far into the future."
Budor received a scholarship from her home university in Saudi Arabia to undertake a PhD at the University of Reading. Here Budor carried out research into children with ASD. Away from home, Budor's resolve to commit herself to her studies was strengthened by her inspiration from Professor Catherine Tissot, the Head of the Institute of Education.
"She encouraged me to do the best I could."
Speaking of both Catherine and her supervisor Dr Tim Williams, Budor said "they believed in me so I could believe in myself".
With the knowledge she acquired during her PhD, Budor intends her research may help to provide insight into ASD in Eastern nations.