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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

An Interview with Dr. Jennifer Dustow



Gordon: When did you attend Argost University, what degree did you earn, what was your favorite course, and why was it your favorite?

 

Dr. Jennifer: I graduated in 2007 from Argosy University (College of Education and Human Development) with a doctorate in education. At the same time I also obtained acknowledgment as a Cognitive Behavioral Learning Specialist from The Learning Clinic, Honolulu, Hawaii with Dr. Gills. In 2015 I was granted enrollment to the Negotiation and Leadership program within Harvard Law, at Harvard University. Also along the way I participated in and obtained trainings such as Domestic Violence (with HOPE, Hawaii), non-suicide injury (with Cornell University) and volunteered with Helping Hands Hawaii Suicide and Crisis Center. 

 

Being a life long learning I continually seek knowledge to better service. I believe, when we get exposed to a different way of viewing life our compassion grows allowing us to hold a place of safety for others to find their ways while deepening our own faith.

 

Gordon: Please share with our readers an overview of your Research Publications and Clinical Work.


Dr. Jennifer: Bilateral Exercises that Cross the Midline Decrease “Off Task” Behaviour in Preschool Special Needs Children on the Island of Oahu (Pilot Research Project for Dissertation Topic).

               

Journal Publications 

Brain Gym International (Journal, March 2007, Volume XXI, Number 1)  The Educational Kinesiology Foundation Pearson Assessment Clinical Field Researcher since 2012. Pearson Field Clinical  Assessor ID# 125336. Pearson Assessments San Antonio TX ,800.233.5686 

 

Expert/Guest Speaker/ Instructional Workshops

Here are just a few TACA (Talk about Curing Autism) Honolulu , HI , Discipline Presentation for ages 2 to 8 July 25th, 2008. TAC A (Talk about Curing Autism) Honolulu , HI , Alternative Learning Approach for 2 to 6 year olds, May 26th, 2009. TACA (Talk about Curing Autism) Honolulu , HI , Perspectives on Autism, October 11th, 2010.   


Gordon: When did you serve as Adjunct Professor at Argosy University, what courses did you teach, and what is one of your favorite memories when you were there?


Dr. Jennifer Argosy University, College of Education & Human Development, Honolulu , Hawaii Campus, 2011 – March 2019. Responsibilities: Classes and courses cleared to teach at undergrad, graduate and post graduate level in the education, leadership, business, and psychology departments. I really enjoyed being a member on dissertation committees as well as teaching entry level English for new students that struggle with writing.

  

Gordon: Tell us about your book Embracing Calmness: The MLE Program Through Midline Exercises.

 

Dr. Jennifer: My dissertation is currently in 31 languages due to its groundbreaking findings. What I hypothesized was that midline exercises (exercises that cross the middle of the body) can decrease off task behaviors in preschoolers with the diagnoses under the autism spectrum. 88 preschoolers participated making it still one of  largest studies ever conducted Working in the field with families with children diagnosed, I first hand witnessed what they were up against. These families were getting second mortgages, extra jobs and borrowing from other family members to cover costs. I had a desire to do something which lead me to my proposed research topic. Together with a very strong world renowned committee we set to work. The findings blew all of us away. 

 

This information needed to get in the hands of family members so my academic based research needed to be stripped drop. This is where The MLE Program Through Midline Exercises was born. Embracing Calmness is the outcome of these exercises therefore it only made sense to include that in the title of the easy to understand book. 

 

With a team we didn’t stop there. Together, we went onto creating an app Happy DRJ that was released on both android and apple. Happy DRJ focuses on these easy to follow exercises along with social stories. It was important to keep this app inexpensive and without ads, thus the fee of $.99 USD. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/happy-drj/id1500990609  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.happydrj.sai

 

Once we created this app families and other professionals requested a speech app. So back to the table we went, after five years we created an AI app, Talk DRJ. https://youtu.be/VzWCCCfMlb8?feature=shared

 

Along with these apps as a team, we offer training that cover several aspects that caregivers need to be exposed to when working with someone under the autism spectrum. https://drjenniferdustowllc.teachable.com/p/home

 

Gordon: Please provide our readers an overview of your practice at Dr. Jennifer Dustow LLC. 

 

Dr. Jennifer: In my private practice I work more as a coach, which means goals must be set and a course created to achieve these goals. I see myself more as a map reading and that map is obtainable goals.

 

Gordon: You are also President Cornerstone Educational Preschool in Hawaii. What services do you provide?

 

Dr.Jennifer: Due to Covid the way in which Cornerstone Educational Preschool (CEP) provides services has been forever changed. CEP no longer has a facility but rather provides services online. This evolved approached has proven very effective and efficient. Preschoolers that attended CEP had always needed to be enrolled in a typically developing preschool.  Our team, along with parents and the teachers worked on skills that the child was missing by partaking in a smaller classroom atmosphere. As the child gained the skills they would eventually transition fully into the regular classroom environment. The maximum enrollment is 5 students between 25 to 6 years of age. 

 

Gordon: You are also Co-Founder Aloha Autism Development Foundation. Please share with our readers an overview of the services that you provide to  people with  autism.

 

Dr.Jennifer: The Aloha Autism Development Foundation (AADF) is a partnership between Dr. Dustow and Md. Almas Hossain to assist the Government of Bangladesh with autism education and outreach through the virtual training of parents, teachers, administrators, service providers and doctors.


Mission & Vision

AADF's mission is to ensure that children with autism are able to reach their full potential. We work to help children with autism participate productively within the

​world around them while becoming active and contributing members of their society 

 

Autism in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world, making opportunities for specialized education for children on the autism spectrum particularly challenging. Over the past several years, the country has experienced economic and social growth, with a great need for autism awareness and education. Medical professionals, especially pediatricians, must be trained on autism etiology, as most of the known cases of autism in Bangladesh are identified by general  pediatricians. A 2017 study indicates that at least 17 per 10,000 babies in the country have autism spectrum disorder, but more data is needed. 

 

By increasing awareness and educating the public about autism, the social stigma associated with it will decrease, and more children will be diagnosed and disabilities and special needs. Developing economic activities for disadvantaged populations is one of the expressed objectives of the government's current five-

year plan.


How are we supporting these goals? 

Providing access to world-class educational resources and training to teachers, doctors, families and service providers in urban and rural areas. Improving the lives of children with autism to help them become active and contributing members of their communities. Collecting more accurate data on autism spectrum disorders.

 

Reducing the stigma around autism spectrum disorders to ensure faster, more accurate diagnosis and treatment


Gordon: Thank you for an exceptional interview that provides essential insights into the challenges of autism.

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