My name is John McCarthy, and I have worked for over 10 years in the field of Special Education as a direct instructor, classroom teacher, program specialist, and autism specialist.
My first experience in the field started when I returned to school to get my Master’s Degree. My intent was to become an elementary school teacher, but my academic advisor suggested that I spend some time in a special education classroom. I spent a day in a self-contained moderate- severe classroom, and never looked back.
I received my B.A. in Liberal Studies from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, I received my education specialist credential in Moderate/Severe disabilities from The University of Phoenix, along with my M.A. in Special Education. Currently, I am a second year doctoral student at Brandman University who is on his way to advancing to candidacy and completing a dissertation.
I taught for a little over a year at a private school in Pennsylvania, working with middle school students with multiple disabilities to include autism, traumatic brain injury, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Down Syndrome as well as cerebral palsy. After a rollercoaster ride of learning how to manage a classroom, paraprofessionals, parents and service providers I decided to venture outside of the school, and outside of my hometown; I found TERI while moving to California in 2009. I started at TERI in 2009 as a 1:1 instructor at The Learning Academy. In 2010, I became a certified teacher, and eventually the school’s first program specialist. I was also the lead teacher for TERI’s Diagnostic Program aimed at keeping students in their home district through behavior analysis, implementation of behavioral and educational strategies, as well as educating IEP teams on that implementation. 6 years ago I decided to step outside of my comfort zone, accepting the position as the Autism Specialist for Capistrano Unified School District’s 12 middle school programs and most recently added five of the six high schools to my watch. My responsibilities as a specialist include being a collaborative member of an IEP (individualized education plan) team. I work with students, parents, teachers and other service providers to create successful academic and behavioral programs for students throughout the district. I also supervise the Secondary Intense Behavior Intervention Team at the middle school level. My team provides direct social skills instruction to students across the District’s continuum of services from self-contained mod/severe classrooms all the way through general education. Currently our Secondary program serves over 450 students on the autism spectrum.
It is my hope that Stepping Into Mindfulness will bring you, your family, and your colleagues powerful information that will change lives. Remember to #mindfulminute. 1 minute = 6 Breaths. It really is that simple. Thank you for visiting our site.