Author Lynn Shehat recently returned to the Miami area for a book signing at Book and Books in Coral Gables. The book, Connections: A Journey of Love and Autism, hits close to home.
Shebat grew up in Miami and got her start in the Dade public school system.
“My story began in Miami, where I went to school to become a special education teacher,” she said. “I started my career at the ARC — at the time it was called the Association of Retarded Citizens, but I don’t believe that is politically correct anymore.”
Shebat’s first job in Dade County Public Schools was at Hialeah Junior High, and since then she has taught in three other states, including Georgia where she lives now.
“I have taught for 30 years, but still love my work, so I continue,” she said.
“The book I wrote is about a turn of events, when my youngest daughter did not speak. She was eventually diagnosed with autism.
It was an ironic event in my life, since this was my beloved career, but not my personal choice for my life.”
Shebat said the book is meant to be a compass for new families with children and special needs, as well as some helpful strategies to teachers and therapists in the field.
“It is also a story of how a child can change your life, and you can change theirs. I hope it brings families hope as well as some hands-on how-to-do-it strategies,” she said.
“The facts are difficult sometimes, and the work is exhausting, but when it is your child looking at you with big eyes and you are their interpreter, their voice and their parent, you do the work. It is like looking into the darkest abyss and knowing you have no choice but to dive in and save your child.”
Shebat was nominated for Teacher of the Year for 2018 at her current school, where she has been teaching special needs preschool for the past seven years, and has served as the department chair, and behavioral coach for the Positive Behavior Intervention Team. She has worked with the most severe populations for much of her career, and still enjoys the challenge of learning about each child’s interests, strengths and weaknesses.
Shebat now lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, three daughters and a son-in-law.
The book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and www.1010Publishing.com.