Yesterday at the University of Miami Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) Community Awards, we had the honor of watching our founder, Mandy Alvarez, receive the Miami-Dade Outstanding Professional Award.
Director of CARD, Dr. Jennifer Durocher, said about Mandy: “This is an award that goes out to an outstanding professional in the community, a clinician who has shown great talent working with individuals with autism, and who has been a great partner for CARD professionally over the years. One of the qualities she encompasses that makes her a very special and talented clinician is her spirit of collaboration — she has worked very closely with many of our clinicians on many, may cases over the years in order to really plan treatment in a way that’s meaningful for the child and responsive to the child’s needs. She’s open, and she uses only the most high-quality, evidence-based approaches. She is dynamic, fun, and just an all-around wonderful clinician.”
Executive Director of CARD, Dr. Michael Alessandri, said: “I once observed a session with Mandy, and the clinical precision with which she delivered a speech-therapy session took my breath away. It was absolutely exquisite. I talk about it to this day with people I meet.”
Later, Mandy reflected on the day: “It was a day I will never forget. Receiving this award in a room filled with some of the most respected professionals who work with autism in our community was an incredible recognition that was both humbling and uplifting. I was overwhelmed with emotion and filled with pride. But the pride I hold is not for me alone. This prestigious acknowledgment belongs to an entire team. I am proud to have joined together such an amazing group of people who are equally passionate and dedicated to making a difference as I am. I know that when a family walks through ICT’s doors, our TEAM will meet, consult, research, question, email, make phone calls, make referrals, educate, fight, persist, and lose sleep until all of the pieces are in place to ensure an upward path for that child. Our work at ICT is also a small piece of a large puzzle, put together not only by us but also by the professionals we collaborate with, including CARD. I am the one accepting this award, but the work we do at ICT is much bigger than me.”