Case Foundation

Working Hand In Hand For Autism

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About Founder

Deborah Santiago, M.S. ED.

Deborah Santiago, M.S. ED.

Deborah is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and the founder of Caribbean Autism Support for Education (CASE), a non-profit organization with a mission to support teachers, students and families with autism strategies in education.

Deborah is currently an autism coach at Dolphin Bay Elementary in the Broward County Public School District in Florida. She transferred to this position in August 2019 to broaden her autism expertise. Prior to this, she was a coach at Boulevard Heights Elementary since 2013. In this position she succesfully spearheaded the start-up and growth of the autism program to one of the largest programs within the county.

In addition to supporting teachers and students in the self-contained special education classes, Deborah assists students with autism in the inclusive setting of the school in all grade levels. She also works closely with the families of her students, while partnering with community support groups to educate teachers, educational assistants and families on strategies and best practices for students with autism.

In 2012, she took a professional sabbatical to focus on the study of autism and was privileged to do an internship with UM/NSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) in Broward County, while receiving her certification in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

From 2008 to 2012, Deborah worked as an Exceptional Student Education Specialist, responsible for the complete process of implementation of individual education plans for students with disabilities. This position prompted her interest in learning more about autism in order to better help parents and teachers understand and cope with this disorder and work towards inclusion of students with ASD in the typical classroom.

Moreover, she has had a successful career as an elementary and exceptional student education teacher in Jamaica, Dade and Broward schools for over 35 years and was voted as Teacher of the Year by her peers in 2007 as a second-grade inclusive class teacher, and again in 2015 as an autism coach. She was also awarded the CARD award for Outstanding School Partner in 2020.

She has her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from University of South Florida and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.