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Denise

Opened:

Her mind.

Minds about autism.

Being a role model to my children. Staying current in my knowledge. Finding my own identity.
That’s what matters to me.

Denise Cobb-Donahue had always wanted to pursue a degree. But life had other plans for her at the time. Denise never gave up her dream though. And through part-time studies at Seneca, she’s making it a reality.

"At Seneca, the relationship doesn’t stop when the class stops. All of my professors have emphasized that. Anytime you need any help or you just need a sounding board, they’re available."

What Inspired Me

I graduated with an ECE diploma from George Brown College in 1990 and went on to work in a traditional daycare centre until 1999. At that time, I had already had my second child and decided to open a home daycare through Toronto Home Services. I had always wanted to go farther with my education, but it was never financially possible. So to upgrade my knowledge, I began taking Saturday workshops at Seneca. If there was any workshop available, I would be the first to say "I'll go."

Over the years, through my experience in daycare, I had become interested in Autism and Special Needs. So in 2008, I decided to enrol in Seneca’s Autism Interventionist workshop. I saw it as a way to get my feet wet, to see if it was possible to go back to school and work at the same time. Completing the program just piqued my interest in learning more. And so I enrolled in Seneca's Autism and Behavioural Science program, which offered a more in-depth specialization in Special Education. But these certification programs weren't enough for me. I still wanted more. I wanted to pursue my degree.

At the time, Seneca had introduced its Child Development degree program through part-time studies. I was one of the first students to enrol in the program on a part-time basis, and am currently working toward completing my degree.

WHAT I’M DOING NOW

It can be difficult balancing school with family and work. But at the same time, this is a choice that I made for myself. Working in daycare and having children can cause you to lose a sense of who you are. Going back to school is my way of doing something that's just for me, to achieve something I've always wanted to do but didn't have the opportunity before. I also wanted to do this to set an example for my children, for them to continue on to a postsecondary education.

I've really enjoyed my classes at Seneca. All of my professors have been very knowledgeable, but more than that, they are real people. They challenge you, they believe in you, and they’ll support you as much as they can to give you every chance to succeed.

"The students in my classes are so diverse, and everyone has their own experiences. I like the idea that I'm able to go into a classroom and find other people that have the same things in common with me, but also learn from those who are at a different stage in their life."

Denise

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