Holly has had a lifelong passion for neuroplasticity and working with the body/mind. She thrives on making complex psychology simple and available to lay people. This impulse to simplify and convey has taken her on a three-continent journey where she is now a leading light in progressive autism therapy.
Excellence in Innovation Award, 2018
Australian Govt (WA) and NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).
Holly won the award for her neuroplasticity work that helps people with disabilities improve their physical and social presentations. She has also been recognised internationally for her book ‘Reframe Your Thinking Around Autism’ which outlines this work.
Commission Secretary Kane Blackman congratulated Ms Bridges on the award and recognised her contribution to people with disabilities and their families.
"The Insurance Commission sponsors the Excellence in Innovation Award at the Disability Support Awards because we want to promote new and improved care approaches that can improve the lives of Australians."
"Innovation is key in ensuring the disability sector continues to deliver effective and efficient outcomes to people living with a disability, he said."
The Early Years
After graduating from Australia's ECU with a degree in psychology Holly was employed in private and government organisations, working creatively with disadvantaged youth. After taking time out of public life to raise and home school her two children, she began writing her first book, ‘The Theory of Post Natal Depression and Intergalactic Space Travel'.
Upon returning full-time to the workplace, she began her business ‘License to Think’ to work with children and young adults using brain plasticity techniques as a therapeutic approach to scholastic/learning difficulties. Many of her students were on the autism spectrum, and it was at this time that she began creating and refining what would become A.R.T. (Autism Reframe Technique).
The Autism & Asperger's Puzzle
Autism became more and more fascinating to Holly as she came to recognise the syndrome in herself. It explained, as for so many adult women on the spectrum, her life to date. This spurred her to dig a bit deeper into the theory, research and therapy practices. She discovered that:
- Current thinking, attitude and opinions did not make any sense.
- Therapies that were being applied to autistic people were not as useful as they could be.
Working with and supporting those on the spectrum
Since then Holly has worked for a leading autism provider - earning her a nomination for the Australian National Disability Awards in 2014 - as well as a Post School Options Coordinator and a Community Inclusion Project Officer as part of Australia's NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).
Holly was involved in planning and implementation for NDIS with individual clients and she worked closely with a number of organizations around Australia in ideation and collaboration of ideas for implementing co-design and community inclusion. She developed programs for PSO, ran workshops on co-design and mentored staff. All of this was satisfying, yet there was a yearning for more.
A.R.T. - a new direction
Holly gained a strong desire to develop a more conducive autism therapy. The idea that autism as a ‘brain deficit’ meant that therapists came hard up against a ‘glass ceiling’ of what could be achieved for people on the spectrum. She also saw just how many people were disenchanted with the current system and how much they needed a more expansive and positive model.
Holly began working privately with people based upon the principles of her book.
- She found that certain techniques were extremely beneficial in helping people on the spectrum feel better in their body and better about themselves.
- The changes that she witnessed were powerful, empowering and most of all developed autonomy and self-confidence in her students.
Through her critically acclaimed book, Holly has helped thousands of parents, autists, educators and therapists perceive a more positive and helpful way of perceiving autism and she has affected hundreds of families from the severely challenged and non-verbal, to many adults with Asperger’s, right through to the very young with her simple and effective A.R.T. techniques. Her mission is to bring this to the world.
"Holly introduces a variety of intervention models that potentially could function to rehabilitate the social engagement system and to optimize autonomic regulation"
"The book enables people with Autism to feel understood and validated about their experience and feelings, and shows a way to tap into the wealth of resources trapped under the surface"
"My son has discovered his feet and now hands. He wiggled his toes on command and just laughed and laughed. I can now say 'squeeze mummy’s hand', there is a 3 second delay and then he squeezes"