Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Nancy Schoenewolf Foley ’90

Clinician

Arbour Counseling Services

Fall River, Mass.

I work with people who have a variety of mental health issues, including autism, and also have my own business, Peaceful Pathways, where I practice Reiki and Integrated Energy Therapy.

My first experience with autism was at the Groden Center, while interning there for Professor Grace Baron’s class. I became fascinated with the way children with autism perceive their life experience, and witnessed their frustration at the inability to connect with the outside world, as well as their joy when such a connection is made. One of my favorite memories from that time was sitting on the floor next to a child, listening to the song “Rockin’ Robin.” As we bobbed our heads to the music, we smiled at each other and a connection was formed.

While working as an occupational therapist, I came to understand how people on the spectrum have a variety of issues with their sensory systems (tactile, auditory, olfactory) that affect their ability to interact with the world. Their sensitivity to the environment is either extremely high or extremely low, and through sensory integration occupational therapy, they can access different ways of handling their perceptions.

About Mary Howard

Mary Howard ’85 is a freelance writer and editor who lives in southeastern Connecticut.