Emily Forestell

Learning Specialist, Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, Behaviour Consultant  

What was your greatest stage of growth?  What made it a shift for you?

My greatest stage of growth began when I returned to New Brunswick in 2006.

Like many, I moved away to begin my career. I had a passion for working with people with special needs and wanted to work in the field of autism services. I left New Brunswick because there were no publically-funded services for individuals with autism and their families and no professional training to help build professional capacity in a field with a constantly increasing need.

I moved to Boston and had the opportunity to gain professional experience in working with individuals with autism and started to learn about the science of applied behaviour analysis. Whether the stars aligned or the universe worked in my favour, I finished graduate school with a Master’s of Science in Intensive Special Needs Education at the same time as some big changes were happening in autism services in New Brunswick. I was able to come back to the province I love, start my career and witness a real evolution as to how our province supports individuals with autism and their families. “We” (New Brunswick) still have a long way to go but we have come a long way and I am so proud to have been involved in the journey.

What are you most proud of professionally? 

My experience working for Autism Intervention Services for 9 years and now for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has given me amazing work and learning opportunities, but also a glimpse at how hard New Brunswickers work to make New Brunswick awesome for everyone, including those with special needs. In the past 15 years, the province has invested in creating a strong workforce and establishing programs to help a huge population in need. New Brunswick is now a leader in autism training, autism interventions for preschool-aged children and works hard to overcome the challenges of offering programs and training across all urban and rural areas of New Brunswick, equally accessible in French and in English. Pretty impressive, right?

I suspect that I am one of the lucky ones; I do work every day that I love, which enables me to live in a beautiful province and maintain a strong quality of life, and gives me the freedom to travel and see my friends and family (who left the province) a few times a year and I have what I truly believe to be the most stellar job opportunities because I live in New Brunswick.

My wish: for more people to acknowledge more of these good news stories and to celebrate the province we live in. Living and working in New Brunswick brings with it endless opportunities and a heck of a lot of joy. Be it on social media or the news, we can be quick to complain, to voice our grievances and to lay blame on the province we live in and the people that run it. I love the CBC more than most 37 year olds, but I often find myself yelling back “how about a good news story, guys?!”.

I owe some pretty big thanks. To the province I live in, the people that work hard to run it, the amazing mentors that I’ve had an opportunity to learn from over the years, to my employers past and present…thank you. To the parents and advocates who have fought for the beginning of a supportive system for individuals with autism, thank you and keep it up!

And to those of you living the dream in beautiful NB, get out there and tell your good news stories!


Relator, Connector, Learner, Educator, Friend, Sister, Aunt, Mentee, Behaviour Analyst, Thinker, Proud New Brunswicker

Emily Forestell