Nine years ago when Kendra Garcia, mother of three took her then 3-year old son to the doctor her life changed. Being told that her son was diagnosed with autism to say she was devastated would be an understatement. Knowing there wasn’t a cure for such diagnosis, she began to experience a “death” to everything that she dreamed and hoped her son would become, including adding additional pressure on her eldest child to succeed and facing health challenges of her own due to the enormous amount of stress she endured.
One year later she decided to help her son by returning to school with studies focused on occupational therapy . As a result, her discovery of love for helping others lead down the path of entrepreneurship.
Her coaching company, Parenting Beyond Autism motivate, educate, inspire and advocate parents of children with autism to not only look beyond the diagnosis but to focus on their abilities rather than disabilities. In addition to being a business owner, she’s also author of “Life Beyond Diagnosis”, a public speaker and Occupational Therapist for children of Autism and related disabilities and their families. She advises parents of special needs children to parent the child (verses diagnosis) and that early invention is the key.
Some of the common misconceptions of autism Garcia want to dispel:
- Autism is closely connected to mental retardation
- Children with autism can’t learn social skills
- Autism is caused by poor parenting
- Autism causes lack of emotions
Instead Kendra Garcia explained that children with autism needs are different from children with other disabilities. Needs of children on the autism spectrum are neurological and must be addressed accordingly.
Residing in the southern Florida area, she plans to expanding her business and partner with organizations promoting autism education and advocacy.