It only takes one… I’m a proud Mom raising four amazing children who range in age from five to nineteen! Each of my children has their own unique experience with ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder], ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder], BDD [Behavior Disruptive Disorder], Depression and Intellectual Disability. It seems like just yesterday we began this remarkable journey. Living with Autism and Behavior Challenges span the gamut from being uniquely complex, absurdly normal to outrageously hilarious! We have quite a bit in common with many families, I suppose. However, there are certain aspects of our life that can be arduous.
A short time after the initial diagnosis, I came to the sobering realization that our journey would be extraordinary. It was evident that our lives would be exceptional and I realized the road to be traveled would be lonely. I had researched extensively for the birth of my first child. Yet after the birth of my second child, I’d found that nothing in the books I’d read had prepared me for the behaviors that they were both exhibiting. I found myself being simultaneously alarmed, disheartened, perplexed and overwhelmed; grasping to make sense of our reality and locating resources of support. I inherently understood that whatever they were to become, it would be up to me to always take the lead in shaping my children’s future. I took personal responsibility to that end, collaborating with many professionals. I have received over 8,000 hours in the form of direct in-home training in Behavior Intervention and Therapies, including PRT [Pivotal Response Therapy], ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis] and most recently CPS [Collaborative Problem Solving]. Additionally, I’ve attended numerous workshops, seminars and my education in this area is ongoing.
It made sense to me that early and immediate interventions were paramount. I was keenly aware that my inaction, even inadvertently, could potentially shortchange maximizing their development; and that was not an option. There’s an exponential effect when we teach our children the life skills and coping mechanisms they need to blend successfully with their peers and navigate their environment. Impacting our kids’ development propels them to make enormous strides in life and it also has a lasting effect on our society. Purpose obligated me to act and throughout the years has guided me as a parent to advocate passionately for my children and others. My children are amazing, delightful, wonderful gift and are truly deserving of every effort I make on their behalf.
We are the voices of our children and I believe that we should always take the lead in shaping their future. I created Swanky Brain Inc. for Parents with that very idea in mind. I am very excited to share my exclusive perspective, my wealth of knowledge and my best practices which have produced very successful outcomes and served my family well over the years. For the most part our life is smooth sailing… We are organized and all pursuing our individual and collective goals… A wonderful family unit! All of us, including Mom have an active social life and are engaged in our community. Life is meaningful…. It has it’s ups and downs like most families but we all have learned coping strategies to endure the setbacks. It keeps up going in a purposeful way.
I also wanted to create social inclusion for kids on the spectrum. Throughout the years, I have found that using Social Stories independently or as a part of a behavior plan; has been tremendously impactful and effective; so it was natural for me to create a series of books. In our Social Stories Book series, we encapsulate events and/or situations with words and vivid illustrations, while infusing behavior strategies. This is a concrete way to shape perspective, bolster appropriate behavior; reinforce social skills, sequencing, planning and organizing. I believe that Social Stories make a profound difference as repeated reading increases comprehension and allows for sustainability of a changed or new behavior or habit. It has been an honor to Author Social Story Books for both children and adults on the Spectrum.
Raising my children to live very successfully with Behavior Challenges has been my most profound privilege. I welcome the opportunity to participate in your journey.