1. Why did you decide to shift from teaching work into being a school psychologist?
I think being an a teacher of early childhood students for over 12 years, I noticed students in my class struggling with delays. Sometimes I would see children with signs of autism in my class. There was a unique program in the school district where I worked that collaborated with the local university in the area of educational psychology. I was able to take graduate coursework at night (working to become a school psychologist) and teach in the day. It was a nice fit to combine the area of school psychology with my early childhood teaching experience.
2. In your book, Is My Child Autistic or Delayed?, what are some distinctions you make between autism and developmental delays in children?
In the book, Is My Child Autistic or Delayed? I try to look at different parent concerns from a school psychologist's perspective. There are both short term and long term types of delays in children, and these concerns are explored in relation to interventions. Autism concerns are discussed in relation to the child's intent to communicate or use purposeful behaviors toward others.
3. When you were working on your book, what audience did you have in mind?
I think I originally wrote the book to help parents who seem to have so many concerns about delays and autism. However, the book also has a section on professional issues related to autism and delays. I think it would be a great book for college students studying child development, parenting, and autism concerns.
4. As a society, I think we talk more about autism than we did twenty or even ten years ago, but do you find that parents have a somewhat incomplete understanding of autism and how to identify when a child may be autistic?
I think parents have more information than ever about autism, but so much information is confusing for parents. They need well trained professionals who have experience working with children to help guide them on some confusing and unclear ideas about autism and delays.
5. How do you hope that your book will help parents, teachers and other people who work with children?
It is hoped the book, Is My Child Autistic or Delayed?, will help parents and professionals step back and take a look at those practical things related to delays and autism before making an immediate decision about the child's possible disorder or delays. These decisions impact the child's future and educational planning, so care should be involved in understanding the unique behaviors of the child.