For children with autism spectrum disorders, navigating day-to-day life can be difficult and non-intuitive. Many need specialized assistance and skills training from those who understand the challenges of living with autism. Families of those with autism may want desperately to help their loved ones, but they don’t always know where to begin or how to best help their loved ones adapt to the world. Lindsey Stone, a former worker in retail who wanted to seek out a more fulfilling and meaningful career, is someone who has worked for years to help those with disabilities develop skills and patterns to improve their lives and gain independence. Stone lives, works and studies in Massachusetts. She has worked with several state organizations geared toward assisting the disabled.
Among the places Stone has worked is May Institute, where she assisted in the development of Individual Service Plans for the disabled, especially those with autism. By helping people identify and articulate specific goals, Stone was able to help them begin their journeys toward self-sufficiency. She also tracked progress and worked to troubleshoot difficulties her clients encountered. During her time there, she received multiple awards and recognition for her service.
After serving two years at May Institute, Stone later began work at a Massachusetts nonprofit that facilitates community living for adults with mental disorders and other challenges. Alongside colleagues, she taught clients skills needed for independent living such as food preparation, personal hygiene, paying bills and other daily necessities.
Currently, she works with applied behavior analysis and applied verbal behavior training for young autistic people. With applied verbal behavior training, Stone works to help children compensate for the verbal difficulties experienced by some on the autism spectrum. She helps children associate meanings and feelings with words, and this in turn allows them to better communicate their needs, wishes and feelings. Behavioral analysis pinpoints specific issues and involves working to understand the root causes of behavior while still helping children move towards behavioral alternatives. The sessions take place in the homes of the children, minimizing locational stress and allowing the children to retain as much information as possible. Stone also educates families about the importance of reinforcing what the children have learned in order to facilitate effective learning.
Currently, Stone studies psychology at Cape Cod Community College in hopes of being able to help others in the future. Her work with autistic people helps to bridge the knowledge gap between neuro-typical people and those with autism. While it’s important for autistic people to develop skills necessary for a successful and productive life in the world, it’s perhaps equally important for non-autistic people to understand the autistic in order to better offer aid.
As a young professional committed to working with those who face various challenges, Stone is creating a significant impact in the lives of many. Through services for those with challenges, family education and other processes, she is facilitating environments where those with autism can build confidence, develop skills and become better equipped for a life in a world that isn’t always easy to navigate.