Dr. Stephanie Vavilala, Ed.D, LMHC, BCBA, RPT-S
Hi there! I’m Dr. Stephanie Vavilala. I’m the CEO and founder of Therapeutic Expressions, which has been a successful provider of mental health and behavioral therapy for the past 15 years.
I want to tell you more about my journey to this point, so grab a cup of coffee, find a relaxing space, and scroll down for more.
I hope reading my story resonates with you in a positive way.
My story starts with my journey into infertility treatments. My husband, Raj, and I had tried to have children on our own for what seemed like an eternity before we started pursuing treatment for infertility. Thankfully, our story took a turn when we found out we were pregnant!
My pregnancy with Sabita was a typical pregnancy. When she finally arrived, we were overjoyed, sleep deprived, and head-over-heals in love with our miracle baby. All seemed to be going well in the world until she was around two, when I noticed she wasn’t developing in the same way other kids her age were.
Not long after we had her evaluated for autism, we received the diagnosis. I was confused, disappointment, sad, angry, scared, and so many other feelings in between. Being the “go get them” personality type, I quickly dove into trying to learn as much as I could. I went as far as to go back to school to become a certified behavioral analyst.
Since then, it’s been my mission to do everything in my power to help her, and others like her, succeed and flourish, wherever they are in their journey.
Officially, Sabita is autistic and non verbal. At first, I used to be a helicopter mom, but eventually I began feeling confident that Sabita was able to flourish into an incredible human being all on her own. Since then, I have understood that my role as the parent of a special needs child is that of a guide.
Sabita inspired me to become a thought leader in the space of special needs. I have the unique perspective of not only the medical side of it, but the parental side as well. Being on both sides has led to my passion of providing the mothers of children on the spectrum with the resources they need to thrive.
I remember how overwhelming it felt to hear Sabita’s diagnosis. Today I want to raise awareness to the mothers of children with autism about the many resources they have at their disposal. One way I accomplish this is through my passion project, the Warm Hug Box, which provides support in the challenging times that immediately follow the announcement of an autism diagnosis.
I am currently in the planning stages to launch Awetism Wonderland, an autism therapy center for children on the spectrum, to be located in St. Augustine, Florida. The goal is to provide all the tools needed for autistic children to grow and reach their full potential.
I am also currently working on my heartwarming debut children’s book about how my daughter, Sabita, was able to start communicating through the use of technology. The book launches on Mother’s Day, May 9, 2021.
I hope you find my story inspiring and are able to find your way to a place of peace and comfort in knowing that you’re not alone and there is hope. Autism certainly presents its challenges, but if we can learn how to see outside-the-box of our societal norms and ways of life, we can open our eyes and see the wonder of autism.
Sabita, my husband Raj, and I reside in St. Augustine, Florida.