I am a federal public servant and former lecturer in political science. I am also the mother of a wonderful boy, Mica, who has a diagnosis of severe autism. My son is functionally non-verbal and, using data-driven teaching methods and other supports, successfully attends public elementary school full-time in an integrated and learning-rich setting. He plays piano, sight sings, and loves basketball and swimming. His path towards these activities and towards new ones has not been intuitive. However, through steady, patient, and planned strategies aimed at increasing his tolerance of social groups, his ability to communicate his needs and wants, and his exposure to new and different things, he makes strides every day towards more independence and a broader set of life and language skills.
At the centre of our family’s approach is our belief in our son’s ability to exceed our expectations and a strong reliance on Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) to measure success, identify next steps, and to provide the techniques that help our son meet each new challenge. In recent years, I have begun sharing some of these techniques with others, helping other families to advocate for similar supports for their children and supporting parents in developing and implementing clear plans to support their child in achieving his or her goals.
I believe that all children can learn and I centre my approach to advocacy, and to parent training, on this principle.
There are no exceptions.
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