Wife, parent of two (one boy and one girl), early childhood special education teacher, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, avid book reader, and fueled by true crime podcasts and gallons of Diet Coke.
I was once organized and everything in my life had a place — but that has been replaced by lists, sticky notes, texts to myself, as well as numerous alarms and screenshots on my phone that remind me of a million things I’m supposed to get done this week and want to get done next week.
My life is often scattered and I feel like I’m dropping the ball constantly, but I always want to learn more. Can I copy the latest creation from The Great British Baking Show? What is the best hack for keeping your garbage disposal clean? Is there a book that will help me learn habits to organize my life? How do I help my son do better in math?
My focus tends to jump around but since I was in kindergarten, I have wanted to be a teacher. My two younger sisters will tell you — as the oldest sister, I was ALWAYS the teacher when we played. They didn’t have a choice. At the time, I thought elementary school teacher was the job for me. I was really good at giving them assignments, checking out books, and bossing them around.
The desire to be a teacher became even stronger after finishing my undergrad program. I started working with two year olds with emotional and behavioral disorders and my heart was 100% theirs. Those kids are 20+ years by now, but I still remember their names and little faces. Working with them led me to Vanderbilt University and their graduate program in early childhood special education.
How I got here!
Since 2006, I have worked with hundreds of kids with special needs and their families. Each child has a different set of needs and strengths. Watching them learn a skill or do something a little bit better than the last time I saw them, lights up my world! I’m not a magician by any means — the kids and their families are the ones putting in the work but I am so grateful that I get to be part of the process!
I’m a teacher but I’m also a life-long student. Buying books, taking online courses, and reading hundreds of articles will always be a part of my life. I want to continue expanding my skills so I can better help families and their young children with special needs.
As I’ve worked with more and more families, one consistent need comes up…the need for resources NOW. There’s often a long delay in families being able to get their child in for an autism evaluation. Even after that’s complete, there are more months of waiting for insurance to approve ABA services and for those services to begin.
Once ALL of the waiting is done and services FINALLY begin, many families tell me their service providers don’t know how to work with toddlers, two year olds and preschoolers with autism. Parents are then left waiting for a new service provider who MIGHT have experience with young kids with autism or they give up on services altogether.
After hearing this feedback from so many families, I realized I want to provide a resource that gives them the information and tools needed – either while they are in the waiting process or to supplement services they are already getting. Some families aren’t sure where to start and I want this to be a place for them as well.
This need hits very close to my heart because I’m also a parent of a child with special needs. I have needed the support of family, friends, the school, and community to help me learn and get through the rough days. Searching endless websites and reading books, blogs, and articles helped some but I would have loved to have one resource that I could count on to consistently help me navigate the world of parenting a child with special needs.
My education, career and parenting experiences have led me to this path…creating a resource for families of young children with autism and other developmental delays.
I want to help parents sift through all the information out there and find the evidence-based strategies that work. I want parents to feel confident that they can teach their child new skills, decrease problem behavior, and become more independent. I want parents to have a variety of tools in their tool belt that they can pull out and use for whatever situation they are in.
Maybe your child is just starting to worry you. Maybe you have already asked your pediatrician about autism. Maybe you don’t want to do an evaluation but just want a place to find information on how to help your child try new foods, follow directions, and be able to ask for what they want instead of throwing their sippy cup at your head.
As a parent, special ed teacher, and BCBA I am here to be part of your village/team/squad. I have yelled, cried, stress eaten donuts in my car, and put myself in time out more times than I can count. I’ve lived the life — still living it. I’m not the perfect teacher or parent (NOT EVEN CLOSE!!) but I have learned a lot and hope to give you some hope, confidence, and resources to help you through your journey!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is your experience with working with toddlers and preschoolers with autism?
Are you available for consults with families?
Can I schedule a training for my staff?
What is ABA and why is it covered by many insurance companies?
ABA therapy is covered by many insurance plans but requires a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder first. You will need to contact your insurance provider to get a list of professionals that can evaluate for Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as professionals that can provide ABA services. Your insurance provider will also give you specifics about how much of the ABA services are covered and if there are any out of pocket costs.
What training is required to become a BCBA?
For more information (as well as to find a BCBA in your area), see BACB.com.
Do I need specific training / experience to implement the strategies covered on this website?
What should I do if my child is extremely aggressive or has other behaviors that interfere with our ability to keep everyone safe?
Contact your child’s pediatrician. We always want to rule out a medical reason for behavioral issues first, especially if these changes are sudden. Staying in contact with your child’s pediatrician is extremely important if your child cannot communicate that something is wrong or if they are in pain. Even if you saw the pediatrician two months ago and nothing was noted at the time, it is critical that your child is monitored if behavioral issues continue. Feeding issues, allergies, earaches/infections, teething, constipation, headaches, etc. can all look like behavioral issues in young children.
It is extremely important to contact behavioral professionals in your area to get a full evaluation of the challenging behaviors you are seeing. You can contact your child’s pediatrician or contact your insurance provider to get a list of services in your area.
*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links and buy something, I may earn a commission. Thanks! Summer Break for Young Kids with Autism ...read more
Is It a Big Deal if My Toddler Doesn't Respond to Their Name? One of the earliest social behaviors our babies learn is to respond to their name. Did you know babies usually start responding to their name around 8-10 months? Did you know your child should...read more
5 Activities to Build Attention & Play Skills
Sign up today to download this free, valuable resource.