UGA Libraries Logo

Interview with Teresa Heard, March 2, 2016

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:26 - Derek's diagnosis and early intervention efforts

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Will you start by telling me your name, and what you prefer to be called, and maybe how old you are?

Segment Synopsis: Heard discusses her background as a registered nurse and the early signs of her son Derek's autism, which included speech delay and a lack of responsiveness to social stimulation. She also describes the process of getting Derek diagnosed, the speech therapy programs he participated in as a young child, and the general lack of disability resources in southern Georgia.

Keywords: Babies Can't Wait; career; diagnosis; symptoms

00:11:43 - Derek's schooling

Play segment

Partial Transcript: The school system was very daunting for me. Even before my son started in the school system, I'd kind of heard some scary things.

Segment Synopsis: Heard discusses navigating the educational system as the parent of a student with autism. She describes how difficult it was to find teachers with the proper training to educate and properly socialize her son, and she talks about the reluctance of schools and daycare centers to provide activities for children with disabilities.

Keywords: IEP; daycare; school; teachers

00:17:50 - Derek's hobbies and future career paths

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So that being said, what are some of the things that he enjoys to do and is good at?

Segment Synopsis: Heard mentions her son's favorite activities, including drawing, writing, and playing with computers. She talks about ways his computer skills could help him transition into the workforce, but emphasizes that children with autism need support in getting acclimated to the professional world at an earlier age than most people.

Keywords: hobbies; jobs; skills; working

00:23:54 - Educational reforms

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What would you like to see happen in the school systems and further beyond that to help people transition?

Segment Synopsis: Heard talks about some of the changes she would like to see implemented in schools. She mentions the importance of having behavior therapy on-site and including students with learning challenges in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. She also discusses financial obligations and family dynamics associated with raising children with autism.

Keywords: education; extracurriculars; family; inclusion; integration; policy; social

00:31:22 - Coping with autism / Derek's characteristics

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What has been your best- not coping mechanism- but your biggest strategy to make it work?

Segment Synopsis: Heard discusses how her role as an advocate has improved her view of her son's disability. She also describes her son's caring and humorous nature, as well as some challenges he faces with regard to social interaction.

Keywords: Autism; advocacy; traits

00:41:25 - Heard's parenting experience

Play segment

Partial Transcript: On the other hand, what do you think are your strengths and weaknesses as a parent?

Segment Synopsis: Heard talks about struggles she has faced as the mother of a child with autism. She discusses her mixed feelings about enrolling Derek in a GNETS school, which she believes held him back socially. Conversely, she discusses the growth he has experienced in public school.

Keywords: GNETS; Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support; school; special education

00:52:38 - Advice to parents

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, knowing all the things that you know now, what advice would you give to parents that have just had their child diagnosed with autism?

Segment Synopsis: Heard provides advice to other parents of disabled children. She discusses the importance of parents being involved in their children's schools, making time to focus on their marriages and other family relationships, and advocating for the disability community.

Keywords: community; education; marriage; volunteerism