Autism treatment specialist, founder/director Intensive Multi-Treatment Intervention, Harvard grad and author of the book Challenging the Myths of Autism
Jonathan Alderson is the founder and director of the Canadian-based leading-edge autism treatment program Intensive Multi-Treatment Intervention (IMTI). He is the author of Challenging the Myths of Autism (Harper Collins, 2011) which has inspired educators and parents alike to consider a radical re-framing of how we think about and treat people diagnosed with autism and which was awarded the 2012 International Book Award for Best Parent-Resource.
After completing his Masters of Education at Harvard University, an internship with the Harvard Family Research Project, and experience as the Curriculum Specialist Coordinator with Teach For America in Houston, Texas, Alderson now specializes in merging behavioural, cognitive, and biological treatments of autism through the integrated IMTI model he developed. This breakthrough approach is gaining recognition and remarkable results transforming the lives of children and their parents across the country and has helped some children develop from being non-verbal to conversational and from having out-of-control meltdowns to attending school without assistance.
Jonathan developed an early interest in education and childhood development while working with children with cancer as well as in a remedial reading program for children from disadvantaged homes. After completing an undergraduate degree in developmental and educational psychology at the University of Western Ontario, and a year at the Sorbonne University in Paris, Jonathan published his honors thesis in the Journal of the Society for Accelerative Learning and Teaching.
A three-year intensive certification training in autism treatment at the Autism Treatment Center of America in Massachusetts, including over 1,500 hours of one-to-one floor-time with autistic children, strongly influenced his current focus on a humanistic approach to autism treatment. Jonathan worked in their Son-Rise Program as Administrator and as a senior family trainer for 8 years, followed by a year based in London, England supporting families in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Holland and Spain. He has instructed more than 3,000 families and special needs children around the world.
With experience delivering seminars and training workshops internationally (including Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Mexico) he has presented at the Royal College of Pediatricians (University of Nottingham), the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, York University, the University of Toronto, Autism Canada, and The Muki Baum Centre. He has been a keynote speaker for The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, The Primary Elementary Teachers Association of Halifax, Autism Ontario, The Geneva Centre for Autism, and Seneca College among others. He has appeared in the Globe and Mail, on CBC radio, Breakfast Television, AutismOne Radio, and The Autism File Magazine, and has been interviewed in numerous articles around the world. Currently serving as past-chair on the Board of Drum Artz Canada, a member of the Toronto East General Hospital Friends Campaign, and a Trustee for the Awesome Foundation, he is also a member of Autism Ontario and Phi Delta Kappa professional educators association.
Professionally, talking about curing autism elicits raised eyebrows and contemptuous headshaking. Cure is considered synonymous with false hope. After all, diagnostic manuals confirm that autism is a lifelong disorder with no known cure.
It is reinforcing to be acknowledged for accomplishing a goal, but for many parents of children with autism the steps toward goals are mini and slow. Take the time to let them know that you notice their parenting efforts and the positive development you see in their child. In other words, be a cheerleader of the process not just the end goal.