About Catherine Faherty


At age fourteen while volunteering for a summer camp program near Chicago for differently-abled children, Catherine Faherty knew immediately that this would be her life's work. Her university education and training was at Eastern Michigan University in the mid-1970's which featured the first facility in the nation built specifically for teacher training in special education with a laboratory school for students with special needs; Rackham School on the EMU campus. There she worked hands-on with students every day before and after her classes, as she studied to become a special education teacher.

Before settling in North Carolina, Catherine worked in a variety of settings, from a Montessori School in St. Louis, Missouri, to a middle school self-contained classroom for students with learning disabilities in Powder Springs, Georgia. She consistently found herself in positions that required her to create new programs; new ways of doing things, and enjoyed the freedom to discover and create, according to each of her student's unique needs. 

Catherine Faherty, classroom organization

In Asheville, North Carolina in the mid-1980's, Catherine created a premier model classroom for students with autism at Bell Elementary School in Buncombe County. She also taught motivational seminars for teachers and other professionals and eventually joined the internationally recognized TEACCH program in North Carolina  as a TEACCH Psychoeducational Specialist/Trainer, bringing along strategies and programs she developed in her classroom, which have since been adopted as many of TEACCH's well-known practices.

At the Asheville TEACCH Center where she worked from 1990 through 2012, Catherine Faherty supported adults and children on the autism spectrum, and their families and community members as a parent consultant and child therapist; mentor and coach for adults on the spectrum; and trainer and consultant to teachers, school administrators, therapists, and other professionals - locally, nationally, and internationally.

In 1991, as part of her work at TEACCH, Catherine Faherty started a social group to bring autistic/Asperger adults together in the Asheville area to meet one another with the purpose of nurturing self-understanding and developing relationships - this group has been ongoing and uninterrupted since 1991, thanks to Carolyn Ogburn, TEACCH therapist, partnering with Catherine as co-facilitator to keep it going. Shortly after beginning this "Social Group" in Asheville, Catherine felt strongly that the most important professional growth experience for professionals and parents would be to listen to what autistic individuals have to say. Consequently, an outgrowth of this early Social Group for AS/HFA Adults was to introduce the "Adults Autism Panel Discussion" into most of Asheville TEACCH's trainings, consistently rated as a favorite training experience by teachers. Catherine went on to initiate new groups at the Asheville TEACCH Center: one which encouraged older autistic adults to serve as mentors to younger individuals; a Happiness Study Group; women's groups; and groups for Spanish-speaking parents. In partnership with Carolyn Ogburn, Catherine developed a group for newly diagnosed adults and their family members; and self-advocacy study groups for teens and adults on the spectrum with their advocacy partners.

Catherine Faherty’s book; “Communication What Does It Mean To Me?”

Catherine Faherty has written manuals used in TEACCH trainings, was instrumental in the development of several teacher training models since 1991, and is the author of the books: Asperger’s…What Does It Mean To Me? (Future Horizons, 2000) which has been translated into nine languages - The second edition of this book is available (May 2014) Autism...What Does It Mean To Me?; and Understanding Death and Illness and What They Teach About Life (Future Horizons, 2009) which was named the Autism Society of America’s 2009 Outstanding Literary Work; and Communication: What Does It Mean To Me? (Future Horizons, 2010). 

Catherine Faherty is a TEACCH Certified Advanced Consultant, and is a member of Carol Gray's Team Social StoriesTM, one of five professionals world-wide, authorized by Carol Gray to provide training to parents and professionals in the art and science of writing and using Social StoriesTM.

Catherine's long time co-facilitator of the Social Group is Carolyn Ogburn, TEACCH autism specialist. Together they initiated TAG-Asheville, with the goal of providing topic-focused retreats for autistic adults from around the country and the world.

Catherine Faherty on TV in Crete

Catherine has provided training and consultation extensively throughout the United States and abroad, including Canada, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Kuwait, Turkey, Mexico, Japan, and Singapore. Catherine is a Greek-American whose father emigrated from southern Greece near ancient Olympia; her mother's parents fled Asia Minor (the Aegean coast of Turkey) in the early 1990's during the Asia Minor Catastrophe. Growing up with a strong Greek heritage, Catherine spearheaded the Greek Autism Project (1995-2006) to raise funds to translate some of the first books on autism into Greek and to support Greek professionals with autism training. All proceeds from the Greek translations of Catherine Faherty's books continue to be donated to non-profit autism organizations in Greece. From time to time, she offers free public lectures in Greece, which have been supported by various local organizations in Athens, Thessaloniki, and in Crete.

To inquire about Catherine Faherty's services, catherine@catherinefaherty.com.

© Catherine Faherty 2012-2014