Self-Paced Residential Support Course a "Dream Come True" for Full-time Student
My name is Nicole Leukhardt and I am the sister to a wonderful and loving brother named Keith. In 2002, Keith was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at the age of two and had early intervention where specialists provided dynamic therapies to Keith to be able to communicate his wants and needs within our family. Being the sister to an autistic individual, I have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the struggles and misunderstandings that are commonly associated with those who have autism or other intellectual disabilities. Around a decade ago, my brother could only communicate within our family by the means of screaming or crying. At that time, most of the general public had never even heard of the word “autism” before, let alone understood why my brother was screaming at the top of his lungs because he wanted a candy bar at the grocery store and could not verbally express it to my family. I have encountered people who have said nasty and hateful things about my brother, simply because of the lack of general knowledge and understanding about autism during that time period. Since then, much information has been disseminated into the public about autism, and as the incidence of people getting diagnosed with autism increases significantly, society is just starting to understand and accept the complexities involved in ASD.
My personal experience with my brother along with the general lack of public knowledge ultimately paved a path for me towards a career within the autism community. I am now a direct support provider for an amazing individual, Jeremy Sicile-Kira, and together we are embarking on the new AGI online course for support providers to adults with autism. I am enrolling in the course so that I will be better equipped and prepared to support Jeremy in real-life challenges in his daily living environments. I am extremely excited to start this new course because it will be instructed by leading experts in the autism community. I attend college and have another part-time job in addition to supporting Jeremy, so it’s absolutely essential that I be able to participate in the course according to my scheduling needs. The fact that a quality training such as this is offered online is a dream come true! I can complete the weekly assignments at my own pace and yet have the expert feedback from my online professor. I look forward to being able to implement what I’ve learned from this course into my professional work with Jeremy. It also has the added benefit of complementing the degree I’m pursuing in psychiatric nursing. Achieving the Certificate after completing the course will be a huge resume builder for me, too!
"I wish to commend Valerie Paradiz, Steve Edelson and everybody else who worked on the huge project of developing this curriculum. The curriculum will be useful for parents, professionals and individuals on the spectrum, and will be a great resource."