This episode’s guest is Valerie Herskowitz, founder of  The Chocolate Spectrum Café and Academy. You’ll have to tune in to hear all about her accolades and contributions to the autism community (as well as the sound of Kristi downing her chocolates). Bon Appétit!

Valerie Herskowitz and son Blake at The Chocolate Spectrum Café and Academy
photo credit The Palm Beach Florida Weekly
  • Brenda has us asking this episode: did someone put baby in a corner?; needs to “speak into the microphone” (that’s what he said); is the most thrilled that Disorderly Blondes Enterprises finally purchased its talent a second microphone; #BloudANDproud
  • Blonde Perfection perfectly describes the Disorderly Blondes (ha!); a root touch up product for blondes who can’t quite make it to the salon (who, us?!); DB’s very first shot at a blondecast sponsor?; hmmmmmmm…
Let’s keep this our dirty little
blonde secret!
  • Breakthrough Therapy speech and occupational therapy center located in Davie, Florida run by Valerie Herskowitz and turned over to the lovely, capable Kimberly Bloom (Kristi’s middle school amiga!)
  • The Chocolate Spectrum Café and Academy home of the most decadent chocolate you’ll ever taste and conveniently located in Kristi’s beloved Jupiter, Florida (but ships everywhere!); minor detail: provides individuals with developmental disabilities life skills and job training opportunities while engaging them in meaningful and purposeful experiences with an emphasis on social interaction; a one-stop shop for all of Brenda and Kristi’s needs (once wine is added to the menu)
  • Denise’s List a long-running Yahoo! group where information is exchanged on news, therapies, resources, events, advocacy, and just about anything concerning autism in South Florida.
  • Els for Autism a “game-changing” organization dedicated to autism education, research, recreation, therapy and adult services located in Jupiter, Florida; the reason why J.R. breathes; the reason why Kristi still allows J.R. to breathe
  • Garth Valerie’s loyal janitor, handyman, VR coach, and adorable, kind-hearted husband; for hire
  • J.R.-isms sayings or jokes coined by Kristi’s son J.R. (while pronouncing every vowel, according to a respected speech and language pathologist); usually include a play on the word “butt;” often bordering on what is appropriate language outside of the home; example: “Mom, my favorite animal is now the BUTT-ox! Get it?”
  • mule a.k.a drug mule; a person who transports illegal drugs by swallowing them or concealing them in a body cavity; Kristi offered the Disorderly Blondes “ship” Valerie’s (legal) chocolates across state lines (by eating them)
  • Rising Tide U provides roadmaps for entrepreneurs who wish to start businesses that empower individuals with autism through gainful employment; Valerie Herskowitz was trained here
  • ¡SHOUT OUTS! we learned it takes a village to support and FUND innovative programs like the ones Valerie works so hard to provide- she credits the following individuals and organizations:  

Michael Alessandri, Ph.D., Executive Director UM-NSU CARD 

Autism Speaks

Children’s Services Council

John D’Eri, Rising Tide Car Wash & Rising Tide U

Fatima, The Chocolate Spectrum Café and Academy

Iris Fein, Vocational Rehabilitation (or Voc Rehab or VR)

Jim Moran Foundation

Lost Tree Foundation

Michael, The Chocolate Spectrum Café and Academy

Jennifer Pollack Percival, M.Ed., CRC Clinical Support Specialist for Transition, FAU CARD

Quantam Foundation

Bonnie Schmidt, ScentsAbility Candles

  • Vocational Rehabilitation (or Voc Rehab or VR) is a federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers; one applies for services via one of the area/unit offices; Valerie discusses her process of becoming a Voc Rehab provider.