My name is Mary Loughlin. I am the parent of two young men, John and Brian, who were educated first in the Auburn Public Schools and then later at the New England Center for Children for 10 years. They have moderately severe autism and mitochondrial disorder and are ages 25 and 28. Through full-time one-on-one behavioral support from HMEA BCBAs and ABA therapists, my daughter, Cara, my husband, Bill, and I are working to help them have a happy, meaningful life at home and in the community.
I have an undergraduate degree from Vassar College in biopsychology. I began working with children with autism at Vassar 40 years ago. At that time, autism was just beginning to be recognized as a neurobiological disorder. I next earned my Masters from Tufts University’s Boston School of Occupational Therapy. While at Tufts, I received my pediatrics training at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Developmental Disorders in Waltham, with neurologist and autism researcher, Dr. Margaret Bauman, and in the Cambridge Public Schools, with Dr. Jane Koomar, OTR, a leader in the field of sensory processing disorder.
I have worked as an occupational therapist in many settings including the Worcester and the Auburn Public Schools. I have also coordinated Special Education Projects for Central Massachusetts for the Federation for Children with Special Needs. I received the Dr. Margaret Bauman Award for Excellence in Serving the Autism Community while at the Federation. For the last 10 years, I have worked at HMEA’s Darnell School, a private school which serves children from 6 to 22 with autism and other developmental disorders.
I have been fortunate to be involved with the Autism Resource Central since its conception almost 20 years ago, both as a parent and as a professional who from time to time has provided Sensory Gyms, Sensory Clinics, and workshops. I look forward to serving the Autism Resource Central community in this new role on the board. The Autism Resource Central family has been a wonderful support to our family, and I want to pay that support forward, because being able to help those individuals with autism and all those who support them gives greater meaning to my life and my family’s struggles. Thank you.