Maria Preston, M.S. Ed, BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Florida Certified Exceptional Education teacher with over 20 years’ experience working with individuals with autism and related disabilities.
She is Clinical Director of MP Behavioral Consultants which is a therapy-based center that provides ABA therapy in the home, schools, and community and she is the Director and owner of Diverse Abilities Center for Learning and Therapy (formerly Broward Academy) which is a center that serves individuals with autism and related disabilities ages 3 years through adulthood.
In addition to serving as a classroom teacher, Maria has also served as grant writer, Curriculum Specialist and Trainer for Special Needs services in Orange County Schools, Inclusion Specialist and consultant in Monroe County Schools, and ESE Specialist and Behavior Specialist in Osceola County Schools.
Maria assisted in designing the discipline guidelines for Osceola County Schools and she served on the Alternative School Committee. In addition to providing therapy and advocacy services for individuals who need it, Maria travels throughout the US as a consultant and even as far as India, the Caribbean Islands, and France to design programs for individuals with special needs and consult with other professionals.
In South Florida, Maria Preston served as adjunct professor and consultant with Miami Dade College to assist in developing their Exceptional Education teacher program. Maria’s hobbies include spearfishing, surfing, wakeboarding, painting, and teaching spin and boot camp classes.
Wanting to be free
Wanting to be me
Trying to make people see
And accept the real me
Some people think my voice is too loud
And that my mannerisms strike them as being odd
This perception of me by others keeps me feeling blue
But there are plenty of struggles in life that I must get through
I am determined to show my critics my true personality
Hoping that people move away from their narrow-minded mentalities
I want them to know that I am a bright young man
Who is willing to take on as many challenges in life as I can
I think the mistake I made when I first started giving talks was that I said everybody who’s labeled autistic is a visual learner,” Grandin said. “Only a portion of them are. You want to build on the things that a kid is good at. And when kids get labeled, whether it be with autism, Asperger’s, dyslexia, ADHD, whatever, they tend to have uneven skills.
We’re [focusing] so much on academics that we’ve taken out things like art and sewing and cooking and woodworking and music and other things that introduce kids to careers.
Kids have to be exposed to different things in order to develop. A child’s not going to find out he likes to play a musical instrument if you never exposed him to it.