Rosemary Bloom (she/her), teacher of the Autism 101 For Families class. I help family members feel empowered to raise happy, authentic autistic kids.
How did I become an autistic educator, multi-passionate entrepreneur, author, and online business owner? More importantly, why am I passionate about teaching the online Autism 101 For Families class?
Here’s my story. It’s a long story, and it’s personal. But I think if your heart is open, it’ll show you why you can trust me for your autism education needs.
My story’s about an autistic gal (ME) trying to make sense of this world and my place in it. How can I take care of myself and contribute to others while living true to myself and accommodating my disability?
Are you paying attention? Is your heart open? Here’s my heart on my sleeve.
Since I’m all weird about storytelling, I’m going to start in the middle.
I have degrees in Geology and Secondary Science Education, and for a long time I was an award-winning middle school science teacher. I excelled in Ms. Frizzle style antics as well as in project-based learning and lesson planning.
My expertise led me to developing professional development opportunities for my colleagues, as well as presenting at national science education conferences.
In addition all that, I’ve also been a(n):
- Professional circus performer
- Online English teacher
- Chauffeur for a rideshare app
- Service industry professional
- Salad bar specialist
- Freelance writer
- Forestry technician (I’m an A-faller), trail dog, plant-haulin’ dirtbag
Why in the bajeezus have I done so much stuff? Can’t I just stick with something?
Well, I owe my drive to achieve things to support and application of my Autistic Special Interests.
I can’t really stick with something, cuz of the ADHD, so instead I throw myself passionately at what I love… and I do it well.
When I was a kid, my autistic traits were a problem. I was anxious, shy, and unsure of myself. Social situations confused and traumatized me. My family was rather poor.
At school, sensory issues made life very, very, very hard. I faked stomach ailments as much as possible in order to stay home (in reality what was hurting was my brain from all the lights and noise and talking and hard chairs with desks).
Struggling in a neurotypical world made me a moody, irritable, secretive, anti-social, and aggressive adolescent. In retaliation to my social woes, I pushed everyone away. I spent all my time growling to heavy metal music and furiously writing in my journal.
What made me put the pencil down and leave my poster-covered bedroom? How did I go from death-obsessed to parent-empowerment-obsessed?
Here was my turning point.
How I Got Here
At a low point in my early twenties, I decided I was going to go to college and be a teacher. Even though I hated school as a child I wanted to return and make things better for kids like me.
I got a GED (high school dropout) and immediately spent the next six years being Obsessive and Perfectionist about my 4.0 GPA (yup).
Did I mention that while I earned a 4.0 with a science degree and a teaching degree, I also supported myself as a non-traditional student working full time at jobs on and off campus – including:
- Continuing my career as a service industry professional
- Small group math, science, and Spanish tutoring
- Teaching assistant for Geology 101 course
- Student assistant for the Center for STEM Learning
- Private tutor for university student athletes
- Teaching assistant for Geology Field Courses
I also served as:
- Undergraduate Student Representative to the University of Kansas Department of Geology
- President of KU Geology Club
- Secretary of Sigma Gamma Epsilon Honor Society for the Earth Sciences
- Vice President of National Science Teachers Association KU Student Chapter
All of these amazing things that make my resume over a page long, at the expense of my social life, friends, and lasting injuries to my executive functioning skills and mental health.
First Generation College Graduate
After graduating college with distinction, I got the third job I interviewed for and began teaching 8th grade science in the Kansas City, Kansas Public School District.
I taught at the kind of school where, when you say the name, people go “oh isn’t that a rough neighborhood” ….which I always had a feeling was racism.
After two years, I got a job at the school district I attended myself, North Kansas City Schools. This felt like a true accomplishment, a real homecoming, a culmination of my hard work – AND IT WAS!
My new district was suburban, but I taught at that one school in the district where, when you say the name, people go “are you eyeing the district website for jobs at That School Further North?” …which again, I always had a feeling was racism.
I excelled at crafting fun, relatable, truly immersive lesson plans that got kids excited to learn about science. I won awards, presented at conferences, and took lots of opportunities to further my training and join extra committees.
But something felt…off.
Autistic At Work and Life
When I was a teacher, I never doubted why I got up in the morning. I put a smile on my face and held all of my shit together for the kids.
But soon, I was having difficulties not only outside of work, but at work as well.
First off, I pushed away friends and family who cared about me, and didn’t place appropriate boundaries for myself and others.
Soon, I started slacking off all the “not fun” parts of work: anything that didn’t involve the kids. I still coached cross country and track, supervised breakfast, and taught my heart out.
But I didn’t want to collaborate to plan. Or attend meetings. I didn’t want to go the extra mile. Or lesson plan. Or even like… be nice to my workers.
(They weren’t always nice to me anyway.)
When I’d express my discomfort with work, people would say things like, “don’t you think it would be easier at A Private School?”
It wasn’t the kids.
It was the Public School System (which I have more than a few things to say about)…
But it was also me.
It turned out that the same autistic-unfriendly sensory environment that made me hate school as a kid didn’t change when I was a teacher.
I ended my fulfilling career just in time, at the end of 2019. I spent The Coronavirus of 2020 working outside with a chainsaw in the American West, clearing wildland fire hazards in national parks and repairing cow fences on BLM land.
I loved sleeping in a tent, getting up at 5am, hauling 60 pounds worth of chainsaw and gas up a steep forest hill, felling a tree, then eating M&Ms.
But alas, I’m in my thirties, and while I sure do like being an A-feller I couldn’t do that forever. So during that time I was dreaming of a way I could combine all of my passions…all of my goals…and create a career that was everything I wanted.
- My talent for teaching… without the corporate-style overhead
- My drive to be a part of something bigger than myself… without the boxes of someone else’s organization
- A financially stable career… that works with my neurodivergent traits, not against them
That’s how my dream for my company was born.
Why I Teach This Class
Autistic Voices Education is a way I can increase autistic acceptance in this world, improving the lives of kids and adults and myself, without compromising my sensory needs.
I can educate people and run my business completely online. The online environment – largely thanks to accommodations made during the pandemic – has been pivotal to my success as an autistic business owner.
When I work outside the home, I can’t fully apply my skills and talents because the sensory environment is too exhausting. Verbal speech is too difficult, so I miss out on conversations.
Online, I am extroverted. My processing speed with text is way faster, so my conversations are more clear and fluid.
Teaching the online Autism 101 For Families class is my calling with teaching, plus my drive for helping others, strengthened by my neurodivergent brain!
Why You Can Trust Me
I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering why you should trust me to help you with the most important thing in the world – YOUR KID.
I have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to help parents and caregivers LIKE YOU understand your autistic kids so they can better support them.
This knowledge comes from:
- Lived experiences as an autistic
- Ten years of experience as a college-educated classroom teacher
- Ten years of experience as an autistic advocate and informal parent coach
- My just plain PURE DESIRE TO DO GOOD IN THIS WORK!
How can I really expect this person to help me with my autistic kid? Is she even a parent?
I’ll be honest, I’m not a parent. I know what it takes to be a good parent to an autistic kid and I am NOT IT. I’m the rich auntie supreme archetype.
Remember, I’m not giving you parenting advice. I’m giving you knowledge to understand autism.
I’m giving you empowerment to believe in yourself and trust that knowledge.
And if I’m not helping you enough there, I’ve got resources for other people who can.
I hope this post has showed you a bit about me, and helped you see why I want to help YOU create a better world for your autistic kid.
I mean, I just talked about how it’s all about more than just me and all, but a better world for your kid means a better world for all autistics (including myself) and I like that too.
You see, I also want to decrease the stigmatization of autism and increase autistic people’s acceptance in the world.
Autistic people are not puzzle pieces. We are whole and complete, just as we should be. I hope the content I make can help people understand that.
Are you ready to join me for the online Autism 101 For Families class? Let me know by singing up here: