I grew up the last of five children in a typical Irish Catholic family that turned out to be not-so-typical. Born and raised in Connecticut, my father was an actuary and my mother was a homemaker.
I spent my early 20′s simultaneously traveling along several different paths. While pursuing music business and singing in New York, I worked for Time Warner/Sony Sound Exchange on Long Island.
In 1996, I returned to Connecticut and tried on a few new hats. While working at The Hartford Courant newspaper in advertising and finance, I took on a side gig as a security supervisor for several venues in the Hartford/New Haven area. In 2000, I chose to leave the entertainment and business world behind and move on to service in public safety.
The Sergeant Major (SGM) and I met in 2001. I soon went back to college focused in Health Sciences and joined Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. I continued to attend school part-time while being a full-time mother to my teenage stepdaughter – later having The Boy in 2003 and RM in 2006.
I am an aunt to seven beautiful children and was fortunate to spend quite a lot of time with them as babies. They now range in ages from ten to twenty – I am always amazed at how fast the time flies. I have one nephew on the spectrum who is doing fabulously after intensive early intervention. It was because of my nephew that SGM and I chose to teach our son sign language when he was an infant, in order for all of us to be able to communicate with my nephew as he was learning ASL in school. It would prove quite handy when RM was born with 4q Deletion.
In 2010, after RM’s autism diagnosis, I became active in advocacy efforts to increase awareness and accessibility to autism therapies for military families. As a volunteer advocate, I have met with Congressional legislators and shared our family’s story as well as the stories of many other military families who serve our country while also caring for their dependents with autism.
In spring 2011, I had the honor of writing a letter to President Obama as part of the Light The White House Blue Campaign in efforts to spread awareness and highlight the unique struggles autism presents to military families.
2012 saw the passage of the first federal legislation to make Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) available to all military dependents, active duty or retired, without a dollar cap on care.
My husband and I make our home in Connecticut. The SGM is Active Duty Army Guard Reserve (AGR) and commutes daily to one of the many armories located throughout the state when he is not otherwise deployed. The Boy is an avid Legomaniac and Discovery Channel addict, and RM – now outplaced to an amazing autism school – loves all things Muppets and Pixar and is thriving. I don’t have a whole lot of free time, but I do love kayaking and golf – I am a true tomboy at heart. I drive a pickup truck and I love Top Gear (the British version).
I continue to advocate for military families living with autism. Not only does the science of autism fascinate me, but I am increasingly amazed by the gifts of autism - inspirational folks I meet along this journey. I adamantly believe that the autism community can and MUST come together and respectfully share experiences, advocate for each other and push for unity.
Additionally, this life has afforded me a rapidly developing wine palate.
[Recently diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, so this page will be under construction soon!]