Voice Colors®

Documentary Biographies

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Eve Megargel

Eve Megargel is a pioneer in advocating that all individuals on the autism spectrum are independent communicators who are capable of self-expression and social relationships. After Eve received her Masters at Harvard Divinity School, she taught high school history for ten years, but ultimately dedicated her career to autism advocacy once her son Billy was diagnosed. Eve is highly regarded as an expert in the area of autism and communication.

In 2005, Eve produced a documentary film that explores how Billy became an independent communicator by utilizing a voice output computer. She has presented the film at over a dozen undergraduate and graduate classes as well as the internationally known Current Trends in Autism conference.

Eve also collaborates with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) on a variety of key initiatives related to autism. She was communication leader of the grant project called the “Hospital Admission Plan” (HAPS). As a result of this work, the Autism Care Questionnaire (ACQ) was conceived which is designed to improve the experiences of patients with autism spectrum disorders when receiving medical services. The Autism Care Questionnaire enables individuals on the autism spectrum and their families to disseminate specific information related to communication, environment, diet and safety. In conjunction with the ACQ, Eve created a Communication Resource Tool Kit that facilitates enhanced communication between patients with autism and the medical team. The Communication Resource Tool Kit is now used as a resource for staff in numerous departments throughout Massachusetts General Hospital. As a result of her work, Eve is now part of the hospital wide “Adults with Autism Initiative” which focuses on the medical, administrative, and informational needs of adult patients on the autistic spectrum.

In the educational field, Eve has developed “Voice Colors”, a communication resource model dedicated to helping people on the autism spectrum learn, develop, and cultivate independent self-expression grounded in social relationships. Voice Colors provides parents, educators, and service providers comprehensive information about how to establish, develop, and refine communication systems or methods of instruction. Based on this approach, Eve conducts a program in collaboration with JFC&S dedicated to providing communication, wellness, and arts programming. See www.voicecolors.org for more information.

In the November-December 2012 issue of the peer review, Academic Pediatrics, Eve wrote an article entitled “Autism and Hospitals: A Difficult Match.” This is a firsthand account of a medical experience that her son encountered at MGH. Widely regarded, this article sheds light on the complex issues that arise for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families in a hospital setting.

As an educator and speaker, Eve holds several key roles in the autism community. She’s a member of the Lurie Leadership Council, “a group united by a common purpose – finding resources to improve understanding, accelerate scientific discoveries, and advance clinical care and treatment of autism and related disorders.”

Under Eve’s guidance, her son Billy – who is completely nonverbal – has become an accomplished local artist. His abstract, Jackson Pollack-esque work has been written about in the Boston Globe, and exhibited at the Lurie Center, Lesley University, and several Boston area Starbucks. Several paintings are in the permanent collection at Mass General Hospital. See www.wmmartgallery.com for more information.

Eve received her Master in Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School and BA in religion from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She lives with her husband Matt and her son Billy in Weston, Massachusetts.

Susan Sutherland

Susan Sutherland is the parent of 2 children, one with ASD and provides visual design services for organizations supporting individuals with ASD. Susan hold a BS in Graphic Design and Visual Communication from Northeastern University.

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