Our disability work
Peter began his work as a clinical child psychologist more than 35 years ago. For much of that time, Peter led programs that specialize in helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This includes school- and hospital-based programs of education and treatment in the US and Canada. He has held teaching and faculty positions in education, psychology, pediatrics, and public health at The University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, McGill University, and elsewhere. His work has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Maternal Child Health Bureau, and elsewhere.
Peter has has published two books in Autism, with a third due out in 2023. Sales from his 2011 volume have topped 70,000 books and chapters. He has also published more than a dozen papers in peer-reviewed journals, and chapters in the most widely cited book in the field. He published training guidelines for the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers while pioneering its use in North America (the CHAT has evolved into the most widely used Autism screening instrument in the world). He continues to present papers on autism research, treatment, policy at conferences across North America and Europe (click here for an abbreviated vita).
Through their love of the outdoors, Monique and Peter become involved in land conservation. They helped to successfully lobby for Kennett's first preserve established by The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County in 2008 - Stateline Woods. First Monique and then Peter served on TLCSCC's Board of Trustees, with Peter eventually becoming its Chair. As a result, Peter was invited to become a founding member of the Council on Disabilities at the Land Trust Alliance - and was a co-author of landmark national guidelines to help land conservancies increase inclusion. He continues to present on inclusion in conservation at conferences across the US.
Peter's work in land conservation and on best practices for children with Autism, and his experience helping Margot learn to hike, bike, paddle, and ski led him to develop Progress- ive Access. This is a framework for building the capacity of people with disabilities to master paths, trails, and routes of increasing difficulty. Progressive Access has been incorporated into trail design guidelines used across the US, and he presents on its applications to trail design and adaptive outdoor recreation at state and national conferences. He founded Kennett Outdoors to help residents to get Healthy Outdoors ever day.
COVID has a disproportionate impact on children like Margot, whose critical community-based training continued to be affected long after schools re-opened. When Peter learned that a new law passed in June 2021 - Act 66 - offered an extra year of public school to everyone but most children with disabilities, he work with other parents to lobby state lawmakers. His Fix 66 campaign ultimately led to the passage of Act 55 that included language offering 21 year-olds like Margot to stay in school an extra year, until the summer of 2023. We project that Act 55 allocated more than $40M towards an extra year of special education for at least 1500 21 year-olds in this past school year.
As a Board Member at the Kennett YMCA, Monique has also led efforts to improve health and recreation programming for people with disabilities as part of its diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) initiatives. She led the development of monthly respite recreation nights that have offered dozens of children with disabilities a chance to meet and move together while their parents enjoy a night out. She worked with the YMCA to apply for a grant to help under-served families tap into public funding for these and other programming, a potential model for YMCA's across the region.