I’m a proud mother of four amazing children on the autism spectrum, who range in age from early childhood to young adult. Each of my children has their own unique experience with ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder]. They each also have one or more co-occurring conditions: ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder], Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Defiance Disorder, Attachment Disorder and Intellectual Disability. I have over twenty years of experience and knowledge gained from training my family have received in association with varied treatments and therapy programs.
My twenty one year-old son was diagnosed at the age of three. It seems like just yesterday we began this remarkable journey. We have quite a bit in common with many families, I suppose. However, there are certain aspects of our life that can be extremely difficult. 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 was in constant overwhelm. However, 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, learning as much I was able to. I have received over 10,000 hours in the form of direct in-home training in Behavior Intervention and Therapies, including PRT [Pivotal Response Therapy], and ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis].
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.
As their Mom, I also wanted to create social inclusion for my children. 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. As an Author, I am very proud of our Social Stories Books 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. These books guide the readers in learning social rules, positive behavior and engaging successfully with others. I have simply re-created stories that I have used over the years very successfully with my children in every step of their development. I know that Social Stories make a profound difference! Repeated reading increases comprehension and allows for sustainability of a changed or new behavior or habit. Our books are available in both an Early Childhood series and Young Adult series. They are also translated in the Spanish language.
I created Swanky Brain Inc. because I wanted to help other parents raising children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Raising my children to live successfully despite many challenges has been my most profound privilege. I welcome the opportunity to participate in your journey.