Thank you Stephanie!
Q1. Tell me a little about yourself and what interests you the most about children/adults with Autism.
I am a clinical psychologist. I have worked with adults and children. My work has been in hospitals and private practice. My interests about people with Autism are a lot in research, I would like to find more about it and to find more ways to help them.
Q2. What experience do you have in this Autism field?
As an English elementary teacher I had the opportunity to work with two boys with autism. Both experiences made me grow a lot as a psychologist and I was able to help them to develop more social skills. They began to communicate a lot and to express their feelings. Both boys bonded with me in an amazing way, I think the key is love.
Q3. What weaknesses do you have while working with people who have Autism?
I have a lot of empathy with them, and I think that is my weakness.
Q4. What is the most common problem you see personally in the field of Autism?
That there is still a long way to go. We need more research and more resources to help them. More to teach the world about it, because I have seen a lot of people that have misconceptions about it.
Q5. What does Autism mean to you? Do you see the person as being different?
To me, Autism means a condition with challenges with social skills, speech, and unique by strengths and differences. I see the person as different as everyone else. Each person in this world is different and unique, and deserves respect and love.
Q6. What is your experience working with non-verbal children/adults? How do you implement communication?
I had worked with one boy that didn´t talk, so I began talking to him every single day a lot, quietly, next to him. I told him how special he is and how lovable he is. Two months later he began talking. And he could speak Spanish and English. He began to tell his parents what he learned with me and he always told them that the person that loved him the most was me! I worked with him using flashcards with words and images and lot of talking from me. He responded in a great way.
Q7. What types of social, mental and physical behaviors do you recognize across the board with children/adults that are Autistic?
Persistent social communication and social interaction, restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior.
Q8. Is there a difference between Autism and Autistic?
There really is a difference between both terms. One is a label and the other is a trait. Autism becomes a trait, just like hair color. One of the traits that make the whole person.
Q9. What do you personally do for awareness? Do you donate your time to charities? And which ones?
Currently I am not working on this area, but if I get the chance I will donate my time to a charity that gives me the opportunity.
Q10. Have you ever thought about writing a book about your experiences?
Yes, and not a book about Autism only, about my experiences with single moms, with drug addicts, bipolar patients, and all the patients I have worked with through these years.