Perspiration & Butterscotch — April 2, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Introducing: Perspiration and Butterscotch


I’m joining the ranks here on Different is Cool to bring a little flavour from the land of autism and Behaviour Science. I want to connect to those who continue to support and teach people with autism, and other disabilities, beyond their childhood years. I plan to share teaching ideas, community resources in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), research and articles I find interesting, and offer handy tricks of the trade.


The why of it:
I’ve mostly worked with low, to moderately functioning teens and adults during my time in the field, and I find that they are a population that isn’t talked about. There are some resources available, but information about them often isn’t widely circulated, or easy to access.

Most of the resources available for the autism population are geared toward children, or those who are higher functioning and independent, which can make it hard to incorporate new experiences and social growth for those who are older but still need assistance.

Even children who have been lucky enough to have Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI), with government funding, often lose their funding in their pre-teen or early teen years. Government funding comes with a curriculum to be followed; IBI is academic-skill heavy, with the intention of bridging the skill gap to transition into the typical school stream. As a result, those who can’t transition into the typical school stream, often have to leave the setting in which they have the best opportunity for success, without life or leisure skills.

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to teach these important skills and see the difference they can make in a person’s quality of life, and I want to share the tools I’ve discovered with others who are trying to do the same!

Last but not least, the blog title. Why “Perspiration and Butterscotch”? It’s actually a quote from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. “Invention my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.” A lot of what instructor therapists do requires invention and ingenuity. In our field, the onus is on the teacher to find a way to teach that our students can learn. I’ve done all kinds of wacky things to help teach my students, from spending hours modifying activities so that they can be done independently, to physically dismantling computer mice.

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About Me:
  • I’ve worked in the autism field for 6 years, and with kids and young adults with physical disabilities for 2 summers before that. These experiences taught me that independence and communication are the 2 most important skills any person can have.
  • I’m a pretty giant nerd, but didn’t learn to embrace it until my 20’s. Reading and binge-watching Netflix are my addictions of choice, and I can be readily rallied to give detailed explanations of ABA theory and practice to anyone foolish enough to ask.
  • I have ADHD mostly inattentive-type, which means instead of being hyperactive, I’m prone to bouts of distracted daydreaming. It also allows me to hyper-focus on whatever catches my attention for extensive periods of time (e.g. In university, I once played a single level of some bubble-shooting game I was determined to beat for nearly 12 hours continuously). I use this super-power mostly for good these days whenever possible.
  • I currently reside in Toronto but grew up in South-Western Ontario. As a result, I occasionally get homesick for extremely flat land, the stars, and really delicious corn.

I’m elated to be making this blog a reality, and I’m really looking forward to connecting with all of you.  Please feel free to ask questions, and to suggest things you’d like to see here! – Nikki

Happy World Autism Awareness Day!!