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Danica Moise

Danica utilizing AAC device with a student  in a high-needs school in Orlando, Florida

Danica utilizing AAC device with a student in a high-needs school in Orlando, Florida.

Danica Moise is a PhD candidate at the University of Central Florida majoring in Exceptional Education (also known as special education).  Her research focuses on providing professional development to international practitioners using a virtual coaching model. She is currently completing her dissertation aimed at demonstrating the effectiveness of intercontinental virtual coaching with telehealth to bridge geographical barriers. Her goal is to enhance the implementation of evidence-based practices using this virtual coaching model. This study advances how the field provides professional learning and support to professionals working with students with special needs, particularly in underprivileged regions of the world.

Although Ms. Moise was born in Miami, Florida, she spent her first five years growing up in Haiti before returning to the United States. When she was six years old, she witnessed her cousin struggling with autism-related challenges. Because autism was not something recognized or discussed in the Haitian community, her family was unable to identify his disability at the time. This experience became the impetus for her passion revolving around helping children with disabilities, especially children with autism. These lived experiences shaped her aspirations and career trajectory. Previously, Ms. Moise served as a Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant, then a behavior specialist, and now is pursuing her PhD with the goal of engaging in international special education. 

Ms. Moise’s international education experience includes a study abroad in Europe and training in Kenya. During her study abroad in Europe she learned about the special needs education programs in Scotland and England. In October of 2023, Ms. Moise joined the Global Autism Project in Nairobi, Kenya to engage in training and collaboration with practitioners specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), occupational therapy, speech therapy, and special needs education. While in Kenya, Ms. Moise had the opportunity to share her knowledge and learn from the unique practices and perspectives of local professionals. These international experiences were deeply rewarding and contributed to Ms. Moise’s understanding of global approaches to autism. 
Ms. Moise shares that in 2013, Kenya passed the Basic Education Act which emphasized inclusive education. Since then, urban schools have been integrating students with disabilities in general education but face challenges related to resource constraints including lack of infrastructure and teacher training. Additionally, there is still room growth regarding autism acceptance within their culture. 
Ms. Moise’s goal is to develop cultural relevance, help with sustainable models, and promote community engagement. Her unique background provides her with Haitian and American perspectives which enable her to bridge cultural gaps and tailor educational practices that respect local traditions and values. Most importantly, Ms. Moise’s work emphasizes the importance of community engagement in children’s education. Leveraging community resources to support learning helps with local ownership and sustainability of educational initiatives. 
Ms. Moise’s professional mission is uniquely aligned with the DISES mission of providing knowledge exchange, collaboration, human rights, and advocacy. Ms. Moise believes strongly in working ‘with’ communities, not just ‘for’ communities. She seeks to ensure special education efforts are inclusive, empowering, and responsive to the diverse student needs. Her passions lie with working with children with autism and she hopes to train professionals worldwide to better support children with autism, especially in Haiti. Her personal mission is to enrich the lives of children with autism around the world and help practitioners in low-middle-income countries.  

Spotlight produced by:
Sacha Cartegena, PhD
Mary V. Kealy, EdD

Danica meeting the staff at Kaizora in Nairobi, Kenya and engaging in team building activities on the first day.

Danica meeting the staff at Kaizora in Nairobi, Kenya and engaging in team building activities on the first day.

Danica’s first day serving at Kaizora Centre for Neurodevelopment Therapies in Nairobi, Kenya.

Danica’s first day serving at Kaizora Centre for Neurodevelopment Therapies in Nairobi, Kenya.

Posted:  11 April, 2024

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