Melissa Hughes (she/her)

Quality Friend: Family by Family

Working on Kaurna Land

Melissa works on the Family by Family project, joining the team as a Quality Friend who provides ​​support for the quality assurance practice of the model. Prior to joining TACSI, she volunteered for Family by Family. Melissa is a passionate advocate for children who are neurodivergent in the educational setting to not have to conform or change who they are but rather for neurotypicals to learn how to connect on a deeper level with neurodiversity. 

Melissa brings a deep understanding of navigating the NDIA/NDIS. She has lived and living experience as a neurodivergent woman, and her past experience of navigating the child protection system when she was young has helped to her understand the importance of delineating between trauma and neurodiversity, trauma in adults (CPTSD) and complex developmental trauma in children, homelessness (youth, and in adulthood with children) and domestic violence.

At TACSI, Melissa is working in a diverse and inclusive team, which she feels means she can step into her authentic self and truly be free to express her neurodiversity in a way that will empower, inspire and support change throughout system frameworks, enabling a true sense of self-determination for others across Australia. 

She says that her lived experience and learning to accept herself as a woman who is autistic, ADHD and has echolalia is important to her work at TACSI, and that being neurodivergent allows her to see what others miss. Putting all her lived experience into her academic world and learning how to translate this into the professional world to help break intergenerational trauma and make changes for those in the community far and wide has been the highlight of her career so far. 

She strives to be the pillar of people-powered change so that her children can grow up in a culture of compassion, love and connection. She believes that no matter the barrier, it is achievable. When she’s not at work, you’ll find Melissa enjoying the neurodiversity quirks of her family, and getting up to everything from cooking and meditation to writing and hypnotherapy.


Lived and living experience

Currently studying a double degree in psychological science and counselling.

At TACSI, people are at the heart of everything we do.
Meet more of the team who make our work possible.

We're social
Get in touch

Level 1, 279 Flinders St
Adelaide SA 5000

145 Redfern Street

Redfern NSW 2016

Our Community House
552 Victoria St
North Melbourne VIC 3051

Subscribe to our newsletter
Be the first to hear about TACSI events, resources, our big ideas, and new projects.
© 2022 TACSI
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and Owners of the lands in which we work and live on across Australia. We pay our respects to Elders of the past, present and emerging. We are committed to collaboration that furthers self-determination and creates a better future for all. Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.
At TACSI, diversity and inclusion is more than a statement; equality and accessibility are guiding principles embedded in everything we do. We strongly believe that it’s the collective sum of all our communities differences, life experiences, and knowledge that enables both ourselves and our partners to come together to tackle complex social issues. That’s why we’re committed to having a diverse team made up of people with diverse skills from all backgrounds, including First Nations peoples, LGBTIQ+, mature-age people, and people with visible and non-visible disabilities, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender identity.