Spotlight on... Jo-Ann D'Costa Manuel

Catherine Gaunt
Monday, December 2, 2013

Position: Mother and autism campaigner

Why did you decide to try to set up a nursery?

Our son was diagnosed with a severe form of autism when we were living in Australia, where there was a pre-school for autistic children that provided intensive applied behaviour analysis (ABA) therapy. When we moved back to the UK we discovered that although these pre-schools exist in Europe, Dubai, America and Australia, there's nothing similar here.

What do you hope the nursery will provide?

Early intervention isn't helpful when there's a one-year waiting list for just five or six sessions - which in our experience is just a drop in the ocean. We want parents to have the option to enrol their children in a pre-school where they can have 35 hours a week of play-based ABA as soon as they are diagnosed with autism.

When will the nursery be ready to open?

We're working with our local MP and West Sussex County Council to get this off the ground in 2014. It's still in its infancy, but we're very hopeful about it.

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