Patricia O’Connor has lived her life surrounded by people with learning differences and special needs. From a very young age she was immersed- having a father physically affected by polio and close relatives such as Molly who was deaf and mute as well as Jackie who had a developmental delay.
The person who provided the most inspiration for her life’s work was baby brother Chris. He rocked the O’Connor’s world with his unique perspective and communication style, multiple sensory issues and repetitive behaviours that brought family members to tears and left groups of specialists in white lab coats puzzled and dismayed. Diagnosis: autism- in the days when the incidence of autism in the general population was 1/10,000. What to do – no one knew? Sanatoriums for 6 year olds were in fashion at the time – complete with padded rooms and straight jackets!! That is the day the career in ASD began – although this was unknown at the time.
Years have passed and many gains have been made in the field however autism has grown up and the services and supports for adults have remained in their infancy. Barriers for independence and employment exist and inclusive community living remains an elusive dream.
Integrated Autism Consulting is a business on a mission to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorders be as independent and as included as they are able.
Patricia has recently been invited to be a Clinical Associate at the Redpath Centre in Toronto.