For the Neurodiverse (Those on the autism spectrum):
This website is for you and those neurotypicals who support you. I decided to develop it after many teens and adults on the spectrum came to me and said, "There just aren't enough resources out there for people like me."
"Where is the manual for living in this world?"
"Help, I need a translation!"
"People just don't get me."
Think of this site as a bridge that can link your world and the neurotypical world together through a process of mutual understanding. Yes, a process of mutual understanding in which those of us who are not on the spectrum must make the effort to understand your world just as you have made the effort to understand the neurotypical world.
My role is to help create that bridge using the information hundreds of individuals on the spectrum have given me about their life experiences over the past 20 years. I encourage you to contact me with any question you have about neurotypicals, any suggestions for your fellow auties or aspergians and any recommendations to make this site or workshops and seminars more useful. I consult with individuals, employers and families. Check out my consulting page at toniboucher.net
For Parents, Spouses and other family members:
I first learned about autism over 20 years ago when I volunteered to provide a break to families of children with special needs through respite care and emergency short term foster care. I then started working with an adult who was diagnosed with high functioning autism and began to realize that people with high functioning autism required special support and very little help was readily available to them.
Little did I know then, that I would need to utilize my knowledge to care for my own daughter who is now a teenager and has a mild form of autism. Since those early days I have listened to hundreds of family members share their experiences, heartaches and joys. While having a person with autism in your life creates challenges that can sometimes seem insurmountable, it is through our relationships with these individuals that we see the world from a new perspective and grow in ways we never could have imagined,
This site and my seminars focus on helping you as a family member understand, appreciate and build on the strengths, skills and abilities typically associated with autism. You will also learn how to create a more autism friendly environment to address the special needs that are also associated with autism. When you help someone on the spectrum develop their strengths and create a safe environment for them, you are ultimately helping them establish healthy connections with you and a world that is otherwise overwhelming and confusing.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions or suggestions.
Toni was first introduced to autism over two decades ago when she volunteered as a respite care provider at Trinity Respite Care Inc. On graduating from The University of Kansas School of Social Work, with her BSW she became an assistant program director at Sheltered Living, a large residential and day program facility for adults with developmental disabilities.
Toni has spent the past six years working for The South Carolina Department of Disabilities- Autism Division, first as a consultant and then as Director of the Coastal Autism Resource and Evaluation (CARE) Center where eligibility for state autism services is determined. During Toni's time with the state, she developed a reputation for exceptional training, thorough evaluations and expertise in the area of high functioning children and adults.
She is currently writing a book for adults and adolescents on the spectrum and has developed this website at the request of many individuals and families she has worked with.
Toni has three children. Her oldest, age 19 is on the autism spectrum and her youngest is now recovering from Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)