My bio blurb

Here I am in my home office, cuddling one of the cats, Samster Hamster (a/k/a "Sammie").  Although the cats are okay, my real passion is working with kids and adults who have so much potential that others may not recognize and helping others to see that potential and run with it!  I'm blessed and thrilled to have a private practice (sorry, no third party payments accepted at the moment!) as a consultant focusing on autism spectrum differences, positive behavior supports, and inclusion.  My full curriculum vita is available on request.  I'm told it makes a good doorstop.

Here are some highlights of my career:  In 2007, I co-founded the Autism Spectrum Differences Institute of New England, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization you can learn more about at  For over 20 years, I have been involved with inclusive schools and communities and I have more than 35 years of experience “in the field.”  My activities have involved conducting independent educational evaluations in which supported inclusive programs and placements were recommended, testifying on behalf of students seeking inclusion at due process hearings and in federal court, providing training and technical assistance to school staffs throughout Southern New England and beyond in effective inclusive practices, consulting to teams and families, and working with administrators and others to effect systems changes that support inclusive education, the right to communicate, and positive behavior supports for all learners. 

My main area of interest involves working with, and learning from, individuals who have labels of autism spectrum differences.  I co-developed, refined, and use an approach to supporting people with ASD labels that presumes their competence and focuses on understanding the physiological underpinnings and functional implications of the Movement, Anxiety, Communication, and Sensory (MACS) challenges underlying their diagnoses.  With individuals who have autism, I partner with them to apply the MACS model to define evidence-based positive and inclusive behavior supports that they need, facilitate augmented and alternative communication, individualize curricular accommodations and instructional modifications, build Circles of Friends and communities of learners, conduct person-centered planning, and facilitate the transition of youth with ASD labels from their fully inclusive secondary education to meaningful and self-directed lives as adults with disabilities.  I also facilitate communication for adults.

I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1975, earned my Master of Education degree with a certificate in special education from the University of Hartford in 1982, and received my doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Yale University in 2000.  I am the mother of four adopted children, two of whom have had IEPs, the former foster mother of a young woman with autism, a current foster mom, and chaser of five cats and two dogs.  I am married to Mark Partin, Esq., who specializes in disability rights law.  I also have a granddog!  That's a LOT of legs...
This is my AFS family in Japan at their favorite place -- Disneyworld!