I wasn’t supposed to be a teacher. I spent 8 years after high school pursing my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I graduated from North Carolina School of Veterinary Medicine in 1995. I then spent the next two years living my dream and working with all kinds of loved furry family members. Then, in 1997, my son was born. A short 20 months later, we realized something was not right. He was diagnosed with autism and my entire life changed. I left my beloved career and spent every waking minute learning all I could to try and “save” my son. Along the way, I developed a deep love for these special kids and their families and realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life helping them find their way and maximize their potential.
I decided to go back to school, and got my master’s in special education from Western Carolina University in 2009. Shortly after, I began teaching in a self-contained classroom that contained students with severe autism in grades K-5. I spent the next 5 years working with these amazing students and their families. I then was offered an amazing opportunity to become a curriculum specialist that gave me the opportunity to work with special education teachers throughout the county. I loved it, and then we moved.
In 2015, my husband got a job offer he could not refuse so our family relocated from NC to PA. My son struggled with this move, and I was not able to go back to work. Although, he eventually transitioned successfully to a private school, his schedule made it impossible for me to work a job with regular hours. So, to keep my connection with the special education world, I began developing and selling curriculum material on line to teachers who taught students with significant disabilities. This has been incredibly fulfilling and enables me to be there to help my son.
My son, Jimmy, is now 25 and living at home with me and my husband. We have support from a behavior interventionist which has allowed Jimmy to remain safely living with us. Despite valiant efforts, Jimmy’s behaviors have kept him from finding employment or much involvement in the community. We take life one day at a time. He is happy. He is home. He is loved.