Born in Michigan and, at various times, resident in eight states, I’ve had several careers. I waited tables for four years in college. I held key positions in research on projects to determine the efficacy of government funded bilingual education; to assess an educational tool for Head Start students; and to evaluate the success of a program to teach parents how to manage their unruly adolescent children. I worked as a technical writer and editor in the software industry for fifteen years. I’m the mother of a now independently successful son who had autism and linguistic brain damage.
Now retired, I live in the Arizona desert, where I’ve edited a number of books for friends and other writers. I do less of that now so I have time for her own endeavors: I write essays, memoirs of my life, random poems, and directions for travelers on the way to my home. Without a cat for eight years, I hope to be adopted soon.
I earned a BA in English from Maryville College, in Tennessee and an MA in Experimental Psychology from California State University, Fullerton.
List of My Credentials
In my several careers, I’ve participated in a variety of activities, including
Mother of Autistic son
- Behavior Modification
- Home school
- Public education
- Located schools
- Interpretation and defense of student
- Parent group
- Advocate for more and better service to
- Individual students
- Students as a group
- Social service organizations
- Locate and obtain service
- Assist team members
- Identify client’s traits and needs
- Editor and typist of my son’s autobiography
Program evaluation to assess efficacy of and write grant applications for organizations that serve
- Unwed mothers
- Parents of “difficult” teenagers
- Juvenile sex offenders
Technical writing and editing
- Wrote and edited manuals, and libraries of manuals, used by developers and end users of products documented
- Won a prize in Society for Technical Documentation competition
- Received several awards from the company for
- Quality of documentation
- Service to the company and community
Description of My Credentials
I served as editor and typist for my autistic son’s autobiography.
Andy and I plan to publish a second book soon. The new book is a dialog between Andy and me. Andy, in his own words, describes his life from his perspective. I talk about my activities to help him progress from mute autism and social isolation to graduation from the community college with both an AA degree and a certificate of accomplishment in Commercial Art.
I applied techniques learned in the statistics classes required for my MA degree to the design and implementation of program evaluations. I worked for organizations that provided services to unwed mothers, juvenile sexual offenders, and the parents of “difficult” teenagers. I consulted with officers and facilitators of the programs to help them write successful grant applications. I worked alone to win a grant from a locally prestigious funding agency.
Other research efforts included participation in a study to determine the efficacy of government projects that used several methods of bilingual education; the design and administration of a study to assess the success of a teaching tool to prepare Head Start students for kindergarten or first grade reading; major contribution to an assessment of a program for parents of “acting out” teens.
During my career as a technical writer and editor I wore dual hats as both writer and editor. I worked with teams of developers to design products. I wrote and edited individual manuals and multi-volume libraries of documentation about the use of the products. These documents served both the designers and developers, and the end users. The products ranged from an early electronic scanner to software for systems operated by multiple users at multiple locations around the world. I contributed to studies of how, and how well, users accessed information in manuals and other publications. I contributed to the design, administration, and analysis of the results of these studies.
I won a prize in a contest offered by the Society of Technical Documentation. I received several awards from my company for both excellence in documentation and service to the greater community.
In my spare time, I write memoirs, essays and a bit of poetry. I have a collection of favorite recipes and plan someday to prepare a cookbook. I’ll use the presentation methods I learned and used in my writing and editing career.
Bonker, Elizabeth M, Virginia G. Breen, I Am in Here: The Journey of a Child with Autism Who Cannot Speak but Finds Her Voice, MI, Revell, 2013.
Coen, Andrew, “Yes! I Have a Powerful Mind,” Bloomington, IN, Author House, 2009.
Fleischmann, Arthur, with Carly Fleischmann, Carly’s Voice: Breaking through Autism, New York, Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Grandin, Temple, PhD, and Debra Moore, PhD, The Loving Push; How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults, Arlington, TX, Future Horizons, Inc., 2015.
McCarthy, Jenny, Louder than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, United States of America, Dutton, 2007.
McCarthy, Jenny, Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism against All Odds. New York, Penguin Group, 2008.
I have not read the following books yet.
Colson, Emily: “Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free.”
Maurice, Catherine: “Let, Me Hear Your Voice: A Family’s Triumph over Autism.”
Newman, Judith: “To Siri with Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines.”