Experience as a Mother of a Daughter with Autism
I am a mother of two. I have a son and a daughter and my daughter was diagnosed in 1998 with ASD at the age of two.
No-one knew much about autism and as you may understand, we were devastated. The prognosis was bleak because no-one could tell us how to manage or 'treat' it. My daughter was displaying all the behaviours of 'Classic' or Kanner's Autism; non-verbal, hand flapping, hypersensitive to sound and touch with repetitive, restricted interests and all the related behaviours.
I started to research and implement therapies and interventions, some with the support of our GP and gradually we started to see progress in our daughter's development. By age 7 she was starting to surprise professionals with her progress and at 18 years old she has surpassed my wildest dreams...she is a freestyle disco and street dancer and was a member of the British Gymnastics Team GB Disability Trampoline Performance squad!
I am passionate about helping parents help their children reach their full potential using all my experience, knowledge and training...
Within 21 years of nurturing my daughter with autism, I have gained extensive experience and knowledge about the autistic spectrum which I am passionate to share with other parents, carers and anyone else who wants to hear! I have not used expensive, intensive programs or travelled abroad to take part in any treatments or interventions with my child but adapted my own individual parenting style; built on safe and recognised programs, interventions and therapies used for autism and some not specifically, to suit my child's individual needs, as well as those of the rest of my family. My son has been happily involved and is an amazing brother to his sister. He is two years older and we have encouraged his participation with our daughter's interventions as well as his own interests in martial arts, football, photography and others. It is important to involve siblings as well as ensure their own needs and interests are being met and encouraged. I am proud to say that my children are very close as well as following their own interests and dreams...
I understand that each child is an individual with their own personality and specific needs and that what might help one child might not help another; as well as understanding that all parents have different parenting styles, cultures along with diverse needs and beliefs.
Autism is a complex developmental disorder with no one known cause and no one known 'cure'. As such it needs a holistic individualised approach to 'target' all the complexities of each child’s symptoms of autism at the same time supporting the development of their own personality and identity. Professor Patricia Howlin found that this kind of approach was,
‘more effective than clinic-based, professionally directed programmes in establishing long term gains, and can be used to increase a wide range of abilities, including social and communication skills as well as reduce unwanted behaviours in and outside the home’
‘Parents have reported that this kind of approach demands less of their time and perceived it as less intrusive of family life in general than of parents who used more intensive and demanding interventions conducted in specially created environments where generalisation and adaptation to different environments needed to be taught additionally’ (Lovaas, 1977;Koegel, 1995 & 1996 and Howlin & Rutter, 1987a cited in Howlin 1998,pp.283-284)
HOWLIN, P. 1998. Children with Autism & Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for Practitioners & Carers. Chichester: Wiley, pp283-284.
Despite the fact I was unaware of Professor Howlin's book in 1998, had I known about it and followed its guidance, my approach towards my daughter's interventions, therapies and parenting decisions for both my children would not have been any different and my daughter would be as able as she is today.
I have spoken in Westminster on a number of occasions for the Westminster Education and Health Forums. You can read more about this on my page about my qualifications and skills.
To hear my Radio Interview with Stephanie Erickson, Host on Internet Radio's Care Giver's Circle, please click here.
Languages and Communication
Apart from English, I speak French, German, Farsi and have attended professional courses in Makaton (Enhancement level), Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and a TEACCH course delivered by Gary Mesibov AND I am an internationally accredited Master Practitioner in the Art & Science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
I have completed a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Autism (MA Autism research degree) as well as many other training and qualifications. My Bachelors degree is through 20+ years of hard work, experiences and successful outcomes and therefore is in Autism Parenting! You can see all my qualifications and skills in much more detail here.
I am a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and accredited by the Internation NLP Training Association (INLPTA); a Nutritional Therapist; a Reiki Seichem, Crystal, Sound and Assemblage Point Alignment and Healing Practitioner; a Meditation Teacher; a Bach Flower Remedies and Essences Practitioner and a Weleda Well-being Advisor. I am also a State Registered Senior Hairdresser with experience in cutting hair for autistic children.
In addition to providing free information on this website, I offer a unique range of person-centred and family-centred, support & life development and well-being services to families and individuals living with autism, professionals, businesses, organisations, their students and employees.
I am fully insured and registered with the Information Commissioners Office for Data Protection.
I am a also a State Registered Senior Hairdresser (SRSH); registered with the Hairdressing Council, UK.
I can be found here on the Hairdressing Council's State Register