Chantal’s passion for empowering others, her love of writing and her personal interest in autism has led her to become an award-winning author, speaker, and leader in the field of autism. She has been involved with autism spectrum disorders for over 25 years as both a parent and a professional on both sides of the Atlantic. A tireless advocate for those on the autism spectrum, Chantal founded Autism College in order to provide practical information and training about autism.
In 2009, Chantal was appointed by the California Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders, to lead the South Counties Autism Regional Taskforce as Co-Chair; and in the past served on the Taskforce on Transitional Services & Supports reporting to the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.
A Full Life with Autism From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence (Macmillan, March 27, 2012) Chantal’s fifth book, was co-authored with her son Jeremy. Her fourth book, 41 Things to Know about Autism, has been revised and published as What is Autism?: Understanding Life with Autism or Asperger’s. Her other award winning books are: Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and other ASD’s (2005 Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Literary Work of the Year); Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: A Parent’s Guide to the Cognitive, Social, Physical, and Transition Needs of Teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2006 San Diego Book Award for “Best in Health/Fitness”); Autism Life Skills: From Communication and Safety to Self Esteem and More: 10 Essential Abilities Every Child Deserves and Needs to Learn; 41 Things To Know About Autism.
Chantal received her BA in Social Ecology from the University of California at Irvine (UCI). Her first practical experience with autism was at Fairview State Hospital, teaching self-help and community living skills to severely developmentally disabled and autistic adolescents in preparation for their de-institutionalization. Then, as a case manager for Orange County Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled, Chantal provided information and resources to families.
Little did Chantal know that years later, these work experiences would prove invaluable when her son (now a young adult) was born and eventually diagnosed with autism in Paris, France, where the only treatment on offer was psychoanalysis. Chantal’s struggle to find appropriate treatment for her son led them to move to England, where they became one of the first families in the UK to run a Lovaas-type (based on applied behavior analysis) home program. Having been a service provider in California, and then a parent raising her child and dealing with the ’systems’ in France, United Kingdom and the United States, gives Chantal a unique and well-rounded perspective few people in this field have.
A former researcher on BBC documentaries and a line producer on a TV Series in Paris, Chantal blogs on Huffingtonpost.com, and PsychologyToday.com. Jeremy, Chantal’s son, was highlighted in the Newsweek cover story “Growing up with Autism” and featured in the MTV documentary True Life series, in “I Have Autism” which was the recipient of a 2008 Voice Award. His commencement speech (see it here) from Torrey Pines High School was covered by the media.