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I will be more than happy to answer questions or address concerns regarding the signs and symptoms of Autism in very young children. I can provide information about typical and atypical development in babies/toddlers and have experience in early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders in toddlers. My speciality is working with children ages Birth-5 who either have a recent diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder or who are displaying developmental delays which may later translate into a diagnosis of Autism. I work closely with families of children with Autism and have experience offering support to these families both at home and during outings in the community. I have also accompanied families to pediatric visits and can offer tips and strategies on how best to proceed when visiting a developmental specialist. I have specialized knowledge regarding the importance of play to a child's development and how to help a child with Autism learn how to play both independently and with peers. I have created a wide variety of visual aids to help young children with Autism succeed and become more independent. I am an avid researcher and regularly create and disseminate informational brochures/pamphlets for parents of young children with Autism. I am familiar with the Early Intervention Program as well as the Preschool Special Education program in New York.
I hold a Master's Degree in Special Education as well as New York State Certification for Children with Disabilities from Birth-2nd grade. I have nine years of diverse experience working with children with Autism in preschools, daycares, and home settings. My area of expertise is in working with very young children with developmental disabilities. I have worked as a one-to-one aide for several children with Autism, an Autism Tutor for a child with Autism in elementary school, and currently work as a special education itinerant teacher specializing in working with children with Autism and their families. I have given several presentations regarding the importance of play as well as the particular challenges parents/caregivers face when teaching a toddler/preschool child with Autism to engage in meaningful, functional, play activities.
Master of Science Birth - 2nd grade Children with Disabilities
Awards and Honors
Excellence in Capstone Research from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. My capstone was a carefully crafted six-month case study whereby myself and a locally renowned doctor of child psychology created, led, and assessed the success of an integrated play group based on Pamela Wolfberg's Integrated Play Group Model (IPG). The IPG model stresses the importance of children with Autism experiencing regular, carefully structured activities using a variety of materials within a play group setting. The play group members consist of regularly developing peer mentors (expert players) and one child with Autism (novice player); the goal is to help the child with Autism learn how to function within a group of his peers and form friendships. The regularly developing peers in the play group are given specific, consistent instruction that helps them understand the unique needs and challenges children with Autism face in play settings.