29. Extending the Reach of Services in the Netherlands, with Catherine Verhoeff-Schauf, Enesa Muratovic, and Moji Swartjes

Discover what’s possible when the world says no, but mothers say yes. 

Our guests today are Catherine Verhoeff Shauf, Enesa Muratovic, and Moji Swartjes. These three strong and determined women are mothers of children on the autism spectrum. Another thing they all have in common is that they are ex-pats living in the Netherlands. Catherine is from the US, Enesa is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Moji is originally from Nigeria but has also lived in the US and Scotland. 

Catherine is the founder and owner of Stichting REACH, an autism center in The Hague that applies a multidisciplinary approach based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Both Enesa’s son and Moji’s receive services there. 

The Global Autism Project partnered with REACH from 2017 to 2019. We sent five SkillCorps volunteer teams to provide hands-on training to their therapists. As the Global Autism Project’s Regional Coordinator in Europe last year, it was exciting for me to witness the center’s growth. 

In today’s conversation, our guests discuss the attitudes around autism in the Netherlands compared to those in their respective home countries, the challenges they have faced in accessing proper services, and their ideas on how to promote autism inclusion within their community. 

Catherine talks about her journey of creating REACH and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected services at the center. Catherine, Enesa, and Moji also comment on how they dealt with managing stress during the quarantine and offer advice for parents to combat burnout. 

For more information about Stichting REACH, please visit http://stichtingreachholland.nl/ 

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