Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Autism Heroes: Mandy Mason

This is Mandy Mason.  She is one of my autism heroes.  Her daughter, Juliette, has severe regressive autism.  She put together a 40-hour per week intervention for Juliette, much of the work done herself.  Now she operates LEARN, an ABA-based intervention centre in Western Australia.  She set this up herself.  She taught her daughter, and then switched careers to run LEARN, which by all accounts appears to be very successful.  Juliette appears to be doing very well.  I first encountered her in the dark days when Becca and I first suspected Alanna has autism.  We didn't know recovery was possible (although rare).  Her video, showing all the progress Juliette has made, gave me so much hope for Alanna's future.

Juliette, I don't know you, but thank you for being an inspiration to parents, particularly those with girls who have autism.  It gives me hope - even though I know Alanna's future, no matter what it is, is secure.

An update on Juliette from Mandy:
Juliette is now 5, in a mainstream school, she is an absolute pleasure to have in our lives and we continue to work with her intensively. I don't know if she'll ever be able to live independently - her deficits are still very much affecting her ability to interact with the world. She talks non-stop, she loves her sister, she seeks us out constantly, she reads, writes, loves drawing and painting - lots of things I never knew whether she'd be able to do. None of it would have been possible without the use of the principles of ABA. My advice is not to think of ABA as a therapy - but as a set of guidelines to assist you to teach effectively. It does not impact on your ability to parent in the way you want to - it will just help you understand what you are doing better.


  1. Makes me cry. Every single time...

  2. me too and Mandy is my sister, Juliette my gorgeous little neice and every day both of these special people inspire me. I doubt there is a prouder big sister/aunty in the whole wide world.
    there is also Juliette's older sister, Saskia who never, and I mean never, resents that autism has come into their lives and she continues to be the most perfect loving sister to Juliette and a delight to all of us. I am so lucky to have such a family in my life and L.E.A.R.N. continues to improve other families/children's peoples lives beyond imagination. Mandy is a mentor to so many!

  3. A very well deserved title!! I have had the lucky opportunity to work with Mandy and work very closely with little Juliette.
    Being in the autism field now for almost 13 years I have never come across a mum who is so dedicated to her children and at the same time improving lives of hundreds of other families who have been affected by autism.
    Juliette would not have made the progress she has made without the dedication of Mandy. It has been amazing to watch a little girl who feared the world to now loving life and people.
    Yay Mandy

  4. Mandy,
    You are my hero also. God bless you and your wonderful daughter. Thanks for being such a great example of a loving caring Mom.
    Mandy Mason of Nashville

  5. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/exclusive-school-admits-discrimination/story-e6frg6nf-1225974674243

    Mandy recently won a court case against Perth school MLC who refused to provided a carer for Juliette.

    Juliette is making breathtaking progress. She is 6 and is able to read and write. Her progress has stunned those around her.