A heartfelt thank-you to professionals who work with families touched by autism

Working with therapist

Coffee Klatch Blogger of the Week

Written by Maura Buckley, Parent and former UDiscovering Product Manager

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When my two young boys were first diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, I remember thinking: “These are my children. I have to help them. I have to be able to manage them. I don’t need outside help.” Well, that didn’t last long.

When I opened up my home to autism professionals, they opened up our world. Their support and expertise not only helped my children, but helped me learn the powerful benefits of applied behavior analysis and the importance of partnership in care.  When you are a parent of children on the spectrum, you realize that the saying “it takes a village” couldn’t be more true. We were so lucky to have the support of so many wonderful professionals.

These compassionate and focused individuals are involved in this field because they truly want to improve the lives of our children. They understand that these children have unique challenges and often hidden strengths.  Helping families manage these challenges and uncover potential is a job that takes dedication, a great deal of patience, and a good sense of humor!

As I sit here at the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) Annual Convention in Minneapolis, I see this dedication in action — on another level.  The incredible research and innovation from this professional community is inspiring. The research being conducted and shared — including research from our own esteemed UMass colleagues — helps propel more effective intervention strategies for individuals with autism. The development of new, innovative tools and educational products directly supports children and families like my own.  

So here’s a shout out to these driven men and women for walking with us, guiding us, and letting us know that we are not alone. From research, to analysis, to hands-on treatment — there are so many ways in which these amazing people are working to make a difference in the lives of individuals with autism. My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you!

Maura Buckley