Masters in Special Education
Alison - BS in Human Services
Alison Wimmer has been working with individuals who have special needs since she was a child. She remembers, “I was always drawn to people with special needs in school – I wanted to sit next to them, carry their books, babysit for their parents so I could be around them. I would sit in church or at the mall, and those individuals would make eye contact and come up to me. I think they could see I had a heart for them.” At school, Alison volunteered in the special education classroom, befriending and helping to teach children with physical and learning disabilities. “I hated the fact they had to stay in their own classroom downstairs, their own playground, their own table in the lunchroom,” Alison says. “I didn’t feel sorry for them. I just thought these kids were cool and the other people didn’t know what they were missing.”
Intent on becoming a special education teacher, Alison attended College in Boston, Florida, British Columbia and Arizona. Although her program was put on hold when she married and started a family, Alison found herself pulled to help children with special needs in her community and volunteered thousands of hours supporting local charitable efforts. She ran the Sunday school program of a large church for several years where she initiated special needs programs within the Sunday School and the Vacation Bible School. Meanwhile, she took every opportunity to continue her training, attending conferences regarding Autism and other diagnoses affecting childhood development. In 1996, she began working privately with a toddler with autism at the request of his mother. Word-of-mouth soon led other families to contact her for help. A year later she formed her own developmental and behavioral consulting company.
Alison sought much training during this time including ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). Although she faithfully implemented the technique with her clients who had autism, she found overall results to be inconsistent and the benefits to some of her clients quite limited. It became apparent that there was not one methodology that would solve all of a child's issues and meet all of their needs. With this in mind, she sought out additional conferences and training wherever she could and devised techniques of her own, constantly looking for better, more effective methods. She is fortunate to be very skilled in many techniques and is able to know and utilize what she considers the best of the best.
Alison believes life hands you things to deal with so you may gain knowledge to help others. At the young age of 32, Alison had a stroke due to undiagnosed high blood pressure. Her speech, fine and gross motor skills were affected and the doctors thought her recovery time would be extensive. No longer able to drive she found it was necessary to do much of her rehabilitation on her own. She read as many books and articles on stroke recovery as she could find and worked diligently to overcome it's the effects. For the next several months she worked on her tactility, strength, coordination and speech issues, addressing each area several times a day. Within nine months she was able to get her driver’s license reinstated and had amazed her team of doctors at Barrow's Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
During this time in her life, continuing to educate herself and her caseload during her recovery was imperative. While she felt well equipped to help individuals with different needs, the families often had needs beyond her scope of practice. Marriage and family counseling popped up on her radar. She returned to school pursuing a degree in Human Services. While working full time in her consulting business, Alison graduated at the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA. This further education has helped her compassionately support the families she works with and confirmed the need for strength and love within the family
In 1999, Alison discovered a local group of mothers working with an international organization. She began referring her clients to the organization for evaluation and program design. Intrigued with the results her clients were displaying, Alison began traveling to evaluation sites around the country to observe evaluations and study directly under the organization's founder.
In addition, she gained first-hand experience by using some of their protocols to work through the residual tactility problems, cognitive retraining, and speech difficulties remaining from her previous stroke. Alison was able to modify the protocols so that she could do them on her own and, within a year, signs of her stroke were virtually undetectable.
Hopes can make
Wishes come true
In 2000, Alison was asked to work part-time for the organization as a consultant, conducting neurodevelopmental evaluations. Although her own company was thriving, she eventually dissolved it so that she could work with the international organization full time and continue training with its founder. During her time with the organization, she worked with thousands of individuals with varying diagnoses. After six years she decided it was time to move on and do things a bit differently. In Alison's words, "The organization did a great job of helping kids resolve many issues but I thought an important piece needed to be added - the family dynamic. It is very hard to know what is going on with a person if you never get a chance to see their home or school/work environment and how they function within that environment". Going "out on her own" once again was just what the doctor ordered!
In addition to traveling worldwide and conducting evaluations for those with various needs, Alison is honored to have consulted and advised with different groups and organizations throughout the globe. She has been a scriptwriter for an international video therapy organization, has spoken at major conferences in three different countries, served on the Down Syndrome OPTIONS Board of Directors and other non-profit organizations. Alison often speaks to groups in the cities where she is seeing families, including the Autism One Conference, churches, schools, parent groups, and online conferences and summits. Alison is a certified Brilliant Learning therapist, ABA therapist and Behavior Analyst. She has been certified by James Pardington in Assessing Basic Language and Learning Skill and in teaching children with Language Delays.
In early 2019 her 30-year-old son, Zack was in a serious, near-fatal head-on collision. Her dedication and influence for his care were noticed early on by staff assigned to his case. He defied all of the odds. Doctors insisted it was the ongoing stimulation and input she provided that not only proved the diagnosis was not terminal, but that he could flourish. Within 5 months of his injuries, he was able to get off all of his medication and treat his symptoms naturally. His story is ongoing and can be seen on this website.
She continues her training yearly, seeking knowledge of the newest and latest strategies to help individuals and their families. Not all issues can be addressed by one group or organization, it often takes a village. Alison will help you manage your current successful treatments and give you additional tools to make the desired outcomes come even faster. She will evaluate your loved one, communicate with others on your team, and personally provide you with the one on one unlimited support you need.
Whatever challenges you are facing with your loved one,
Alison will guide you, support you, and cheer you on!
"I look forward to helping your loved one be the best they can be!"