I have a long history of teaching and working with people who have autism, as well as other diverse abilities. I started over 22 years ago in the residential sector assisting adults on the profound end of the spectrum, many of whom were non-verbal and had challenging behaviours.
I later moved to England where I ran programs for the National Autistic Society, including Respite Programs for Carers, Music and Drama Therapy, Inclusive Play Groups, Family Support Groups, and Social Support Groups for Adults with Aspergers. I attended All Party Parliament Group for Autism meetings at the legislative buildings, and sat on several committees to help develop appropriate services and encourage good practice.
I’ve been a Classroom Teacher, a Summer School Instructor, and worked full time as a Special Education Assistant for many years, where I developed a Social Thinking program and was the school’s Autism Liaison. I’ve also acted as a Job Coach, assessing the individual’s abilities and challenges, teaching job roles and responsibilities, and ensuring work-readiness.
I have over 18 years of experience being a Private Consultant, and spent several years with the Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society, travelling with a team into Vancouver-area schools and offering an Autism Demystification Program. Understanding and supporting caregivers and family members has also been an interest of mine. I currently hold the position of President for the Caregivers Network for EK Seniors. They offer a toll-free help line, education, referrals to community resources, and free counselling support groups for carers.
I received my BFA through UVic, where I specialized in Directing and Drama in Education. I attended UBC for several years, taking courses in the EPSE (Educational Psychology/Special Education) topic areas, then began taking my Masters Degree at SFU in Educational Psychology. I now hold my Diploma in Professional Counselling through VCCT. Areas of specialized interest included CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy), Resolving conflict, Child and adolescent counselling, Trauma counselling, and Clinical art therapy.