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Bermudian therapist celebrates top academic successes

Jahnae Harvey, of Tomorrow’s Voices, marks her latest study qualifications in the field of autism treatment (Photograph supplied)

A leading Bermudian therapist with the island’s autism charity Tomorrow’s Voices has celebrated a fresh round of academic qualifications using Bermuda research.

Jahnae Harvey, senior verbal behaviour therapist, explored how Bermuda’s culture affects people with autism, a neurodevelopmental condition that touches on social behaviour and communication.

Dr Harvey, who joined the charity’s early intervention team in 2015, has received a second master’s degree, her master of philosophy and doctor of philosophy in developmental psychology from Walden University in the United States.

A board-certified behaviour analyst-doctorate, Dr Harvey began her journey to obtain a PhD in 2019.

Her dissertation, entitled Stimulus Pairing to Condition Novel Reinforcers for Bermudian Participants with Autism, is available online via the ProQuest research database.

Dr Harvey said continued education was “something we always value at Tomorrow’s Voices”.

Her dissertation delved into Bermudian archival data from Tomorrow’s Voices.

She said her research took into account “the importance of culture and understanding that Bermuda is a very social culture”.

She added: “I had to take this cultural element into consideration with the fact that individuals diagnosed with autism may find socialisation and social skills difficult.

“It was eye-opening to specifically explore the Bermudian culture while comparing cross-cultural research.

“This experience highlighted that everything we do here at Tomorrow’s Voices relies on current research to ensure that we are using evidence-based strategies.”

Dr Harvey said the study’s use of the Bermudian cultural context added international depth to research and to the field of psychology.

Dr Harvey’s work also highlighted the history of work with autism in Bermuda.

“Moving forward, this publication can serve as a Bermudian article which can provide insight on the cultural dynamic of Bermuda and Bermuda’s population,” she said.

“This study can also help grow awareness of the population of autism in Bermuda, as well as service provision and the effectiveness of certain service provisions.”

She thanked Tomorrow’s Voices along with her family for giving support during three years’ study – while continuing to work full time at the early intervention centre and being a full-time mother.

Thea Furbert, co-founder of the organisation and chairwoman of its board, praised Dr Harvey’s “determination unlike anything I’ve ever seen”.

“If Dr Harvey puts her mind to something, she goes after it and doesn’t stop until it’s achieved,” she said.

“She is a fine example of Bermudian excellence. On behalf of the board of directors, our staff and our parents and caregivers, I congratulate Dr Harvey on this momentous achievement.”

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Published September 28, 2022 at 7:45 am (Updated September 28, 2022 at 9:02 am)

Bermudian therapist celebrates top academic successes

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