Sep 12, 2018
In this episode we follow a mother’s journey with autism
while living in the United States and then moving to South Africa.
She talks about her son’s diagnosis, her diagnosis with cancer, and
her Visa not getting renewed as fuel to provide a better life for
Meet Caz Collins, a mother, therapist, businesswoman, and
advocate. When doctors told her she would never travel again
because her son had autism, Caz traveled the next day. While living
in the US Caz realized Autism does not discriminate and she
wanted her son to have the same opportunities in South Africa
as he did in the US. Her tenacity for life has allowed her to open
and run a successful behavioral therapy business in South Africa.
She also started the Blue and You Autism Run which is the first
Autism Awareness Run in South Africa. Over the years Caz has lived
a selflessly and has not only provided a better life for her son,
but other children who have been diagnosed with autism as
IN THIS EPISODE:
- This we chat with Caz Collins. She is a mother, a therapist,
and a businesswoman.
- She is the owner of Breakthrough Interventions in South
- At 15 months Caz started to notice that her son wasn’t talking
as much as he used too and he wasn’t connecting to others.
- Doctors said, “Well he’s a boy they typically develop
- Caz lived in West Africa and worked for humanitarian
organization where her son attended school.
- The school said her son was aggressive, was not making friends,
not talking, and keeping to himself.
- She thought it was normal because of a language barrier.
- Her family moved to the United States and they still saw those
- She went to a check-up and doctors said her son needed a speech
assessment. At the assessment he was referred to have a full
psychological assessment. At the assessment her son was diagnosed
- The doctor said, “Mrs. Collins your son has autism and you will
never travel again.”
- Caz thought to herself… we are actually leaving the next
- Her family life was spontaneous and so was her work and the
children would have to travel, that was their norm.
- What the doctor said did not compute with Caz. They were going
to carry on.
- She thought… No one tells Caz, “ No.” She always figures out a
- In West Africa and there was no help, there were no resources
and she didn’t know how to assist her son. Google became her best
- She came back to US after 6 months and found out she had
- Due to her cancer she couldn’t continue work in South Africa
because she needed treatment.
- Malachi her son needed intervention and that is when she met
- After years of working with Dr. Nunez, their Visas expired and
Caz and her family had to move back to South Africa.
- Malachi was 8 years old. There were no services or no schools
for him to go to.
- A friend said, “Caz, South Africa is about 20 years behind
- Caz thought, it can’t be. I will not save up money and have
Malachi go into an institution.
- She couldn’t accept that because she had already seen progress
with her son and she couldn’t stop there.
- At a birthday party someone said to her “There is something
wrong with your child.” That was Caz’s fuel to do something in
South Africa and to start Breakthrough Interventions SA.
- Nunez trained Caz and she went on to get her Masters.
- Over the years Caz’s business has grown.
- Caz trusted her instincts. She is now working with over 30
children with a waiting list of about 20 kids.
- She raised money to get a facility with 6 therapy rooms.
- 85% of her clients are mainstreamed. Those are parents who have
started intervention early and ignored what the doctors had to
- Two years ago Caz started the Blue and You Autism Fun Run. To
educate people about autism.
- In addition Caz linked up with the iAccept Campaign which is
part of their run. The “iAccept Autism” Campaign helps build autism
awareness and acceptance.
- The first year 300 people attended.
- This year they doubled their attendance and next year they are
expecting 1500 people to attend.
- Currently, they are registering the run as a non-profit
- The goal is to raise money for a center. Behavioral therapy is
not covered by health insurance so if you have money you can afford
it. If you can’t there’s nothing you can do.
- Caz wants to open a center in which all children have access to
- Things have opened up for Caz in ways she didn’t plan.
- The next thing that comes in front of her, she just does it! A
true inspiration to all.
- Allow yourself to cry. Your experience and heartache as a
mother is real so allow yourself to go through emotions.
- God made your child so accept him/her for who they are.
- YOU have to be the active person for your child and take the
steps to find the right help. Trust your feelings and intuition
through this process.