The Freedom of Childhood

Susan Kabot, M.S.

“My son has autism. When he was four years old I enrolled him in Nova Southeastern University’s preschool for children with special needs. Within a year, I was also working at the school, and over the next 20 years, I earned two degrees at NSU’s Fischler School of Education and Human Services.

The most important thing to me was that my coursework was extraordinarily relevant; every assignment was directly applicable to problems in my work setting. Additionally, studying at the doctoral level gave me the rare opportunity to really delve deep into my field, to question the practices that many assumed were research based, and to find better ways to teach and, ultimately, succeed in getting children to learn.

After earning my degree, I created The Autism Consortium, a nationwide organization that helps teachers and school districts design programs, structure classrooms, and create curricula for children with special needs. The belief in this field is that the younger the child is when the disorder is treated, the greater the freedom the child ultimately has. My hope is that, through the work I do, more kids will be able to thrive and enjoy the freedom of childhood, not just of a childhood with disabilities.”

Susan Kabot is the director of clinical and therapeutic services at the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies. She makes strides every day toward improving the lives of children with autism, not only through the creation and administration of the center’s programs, but also by instructing the next generation of autism educators as part of the minor in autism that she developed for the Fischler School’s doctoral program.