It’s fairly well established that children and adults with disabilities experience violence at much higher rates, and for longer durations than their peers without disabilities. They are also at much greater risks for repeated abuse.
Many children with disabilities tend to be more socially isolated and more likely to receive intimate care from multiple care providers including family and paid caregivers. These dynamics significantly increase opportunities and impacts perpetrator perceptions that children with disabilities are easy targets and much less likely to be believed even if they do report abuses.
This session will focus on some of the unique dynamics that occur when we are working at the intersection of child abuse and disability, how those unique dynamics impact service delivery, and strategies that can be used to remove barriers
Leslie Denise Fierro, B.A., EIS, Certified Therapeutic Parent Educator
Leslie D. Fierro is the Education and Training Coordinator for SAFE’s Disability Services Program. She is a bilingual Child Development Specialist, Doula and Parent Educator. She has been working in the Child Development field 25 years. Leslie is well versed and accredited in evidence-based curriculum for parent education, prevention, trauma informed care and intervention strategies with children with developmental disabilities. Leslie has worked in reunification and child-abuse prevention programs and led mentoring programs for childcare providers in the central Texas area. Her degree is in Psychology, with a major in Developmental Psychology.
Early in her career, Leslie helped develop a parent education guide for at risk families with an expert work group at Berkeley University. She is a credentialed Texas Early Intervention Specialist and formally trained as a Touchpoints trainer through the Brazelton Institute. The Institute is based in the Division of Developmental Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, which is an affiliate of the Harvard Medical School.
The proudest moment of her career was her efforts in creating a therapeutic trauma informed classroom space for children exposed to domestic violence, who experienced abuse and neglect by creating therapeutic goals for children and creating space to regain security and safety and healing. Through this effort Leslie was able to demonstrate the need for children to have a place to heal and gained funding for sustainability of the classroom on the SafePlace campus.