Hi, I'm Silvia,
An early intervention specialist working with parents and teachers to create communities that embrace children with all abilities.
Where it all started
About forty years ago, I experienced the spark of inspiration that would turn into my life’s work. I met a girl, Monica, who would become one of my closest childhood friends—and she had Down Syndrome.
It was unusual for children with disabilities to attend mainstream schools then—but Monica did. And I was often by her side, helping, admiring, and cheering her on. While at the time, it came naturally, it’s only now, as an adult, that I realize how much those experiences have shaped my life.
University offered me the opportunity to learn Psychology of Education and Social Studies. In 2002, I became an early intervention specialist at a child development clinic in Ireland. Clinics like mine are created to monitor a child’s development, helping them develop to their fullest potential with the help of a wide range of individuals, including paediatricians, therapists, psychologists, and social workers in partnership with parents. Within the walls of this clinic, I dedicated much of my time to working alongside children with Down Syndrome.
Life threw me a curveball when my oldest son was born in 2009, and we discovered, at the age of two, that he was autistic.
Having always been dedicated to my work, my passion for it grew tenfold once I experienced the impact of being a parent raising a child with a disability.
It was isolating. And difficult. And sobering.
I gained a different perspective.
Because being on the other end of the services gave me several unique insights I didn’t possess before.
First, the consequences parents face in navigating various services for their children. I cut back on my work hours because I didn’t have a choice—my son had numerous appointments and follow-ups we had to attend. Not to mention some of the waitlists we sat on for weeks or months. Of course, this ultimately gave way to the opportunity to start my own business—which is what you’re seeing here on my website today.
Second, I noticed that my family was suddenly forced to live in a parallel world.
But as his mother, I didn’t want my son to grow up this way. Instead, I wanted him to be met where he was and included.
Ultimately, the lessons offered to me through my child sparked my desire to contribute this work to the world: better support for children and their families. I hope that by sharing my research and knowledge about the inclusion of children in the classroom, then in the future, children like my son can successfully attend their local schools and feel supported in our communities. Isn’t that what our children deserve?
My experience inspired my work.
So I developed The CIRCLE Programme, an online course based on my years of work as an early intervention specialist. It aims to support teachers in making classrooms inclusive for children with disabilities. It includes everything teachers need to know, do, and understand to adapt activities so that all children can participate actively in the classroom. After it, teachers report feeling informed, confident, and well-equipped to work with children with disabilities.
I also regularly run webinars and masterclasses for families, teachers, and other professionals working with children with additional needs. These webinars provide practical and up-to-date information on various topics so families and educators may continue supporting children as they develop to their full potential.
In 2006, I became a Lámh tutor. Lámh is a manual hand sign language system designed to help children with intellectual disabilities and communication difficulties in Ireland. As a Lámh tutor, I offer courses for schools and organizations to help them support children with additional needs.
In addition to tutoring Lámh courses, I run storytelling sessions for children through Lámh in schools and libraries. These sessions provide children with new ways to communicate and connect with the world around them.
Through my work and experiences with my oldest son (I now have two boys!), I've met hundreds—if not thousands—of people passionate about supporting children with disabilities. I've also been privileged to speak at premier events like the National Progressive Disabilities Conference and the World Down Syndrome Congress.
In 2020, I created a newsletter specifically for parents and teachers. I'm thrilled to say that it now has over four thousand subscribers! Additionally, my YouTube videos have become increasingly popular among schools and families, receiving almost 300K views.
In addition to my extensive work in the field of inclusion for children with disabilities, I'm passionate about teaching children to read—especially those facing disabilities. That's because, as of today, everything in their world is much more limited. They're not granted the same experiences as other children, so their development depends more heavily on additional opportunities. Books have been the key to helping my son and many other children I've worked with understand the world around him and how it operates.
I believe that by supporting the rights of people with disabilities, we create a better society for all. A community that embraces people with all abilities is one that respects and celebrates how unique we all are. While there is still much more work to be done, it’s important to acknowledge all the fantastic work done so far.
“A community that embraces people with all abilities is
one that respects and celebrates how unique we all are.”
I’m fully committed to making our communities better—and perhaps more understanding—toward the kids you love.
I hope you’ll join me!
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