Marjorie Aunos, PhD., is an internationally renowned researcher, adjunct professor, clinical psychologist, and award-winning inspirational speaker from Montreal, Canada.
She is chair of the Parenting and Parents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Group (SIRG) of the International Association on the Scientific Study on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. She has presented to international conferences, is published in peer-reviewed journals, and is lead or co-author of several book chapters on this topic.
Mom on Wheels is Marjorie’s first book.
Marjorie Aunos, Ph.D. is a psychologist, inspirational speaker, author and researcher from Montreal. Her expertise is working with parents who have intellectual disabilities.
In 2012, she sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident. Mother to a 16-month-old at the time, the accident and subsequent injury gave her an interesting perspective on parenting and disability.
Marjorie believes that focusing on our strengths of character can lead to living a fulfilling life. With her family she learned to be a solution-finder to make her world more accessible.
Mom on Wheels is Marjorie’s first book
Mom on Wheels
The Power of Purpose as a Paraplegic Parent
by Marjorie Aunos
The day I met Star, two child welfare workers were coming to her home to talk to her. She asked me to stay. Her torture lasted more than forty-five minutes, during which three of us watched the way she bathed her son, how she tidied up her house (or didn’t).
Star has a disability, a diagnosis used against her as evidence to remove her children. I worked with Star. And with so many others like her. I was there to assist, to assess their progress, a psychologist helping to make sure they got the right supports. I felt helpless and powerless as a witness to the gut-wrenching removal of their children. I knew too well the stories of all those parents that had lost custody of their children without any real evidence of neglect.
So, when I became a disabled person, when my son was sixteen months old, I wept. I was terrified. I became a paraplegic parent, no more and no less challenged by my parenting circumstances than Star. I was incapable of leaving the house on my own, let alone of emptying out the garbage.
I would think of Star. She was me. And I was her. And I caught myself thinking: Are those good enough reasons to remove a child? To remove… my child?
And I became infused with a new purpose: to amplify the voices of others like me. Like Star. To show that disability alone does not impact our parenting.
Marjorie worked as a clinical psychologist and manager in a health and social services rehabilitation centre and developed the first program offering supporting for families headed by parents with intellectual disabilities in the province of Quebec, Canada.
For years Marjorie had dreamed about becoming a mother—not just any mother, but a great mother. An active mother, a role model mother.
In 2012, a little over a year after giving birth and while at the peak of her career in parenting and disability advocacy, she sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident.
And everything she thought she knew about motherhood lay shattered on that Quebec roadway.
Marjorie in the Media
Marjorie’s goal is to highlight positive parenting, character strengths, resiliency, and other positive images of parenting in families headed by parents with different abilities.
“Accessibility and inclusion are the tools to make people like me feel like they belong.”
- Marjorie Aunos
Social Media Handles
Keynotes & Conferences
Association des anciennes de la Villa Sainte-Marcelline, 2021
Re-designing Motherhood: Parenting with Disabilities
IASSIDD – Amsterdam Online Conference, 2021
Becoming Wonder Wheel Woman: What I Learned About Life as a Mother After Acquiring a Spinal Cord Injury
Brain Waves Hydrocephalus Canada & Spina-Bifida hydrocéphalie Québec, 2021..
Complex Needs or Complex Circumstances? The Life Situations of Parents with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Aunos, M., Pacheco, L., & Spencer, M.
2nd Virtual (online) Disability Conference, 2020
Parenting with Disabilities: From Outsider to Insider
Dean’s Lecture, Education and Social Work Lecture Series, University of Sydney, 2016
Speaker Slam INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKING Competitions
GRAND SLAM - WINNER: INSPIRATIONAL SPEAKER OF THE YEAR 2021
Once upon a Second time (December 2021)
WINNER, 1st Place
Blueprint to My Recovery (October 2021)
WINNER, 2nd Place
Forgiving the People We Love the Most (August 2021)
Amplifying Voices Podcast: Once Upon a Second Time (March 2022)
Start Here, Start Now with Stephanie: How to Use your Love as a Superpower (February 14th 2022)
The Empowered Author Podcast (December 2021)
Awake to Wonder with Angela Wistrcill: Wonder Near Death’s Doorstep (September 2021)
Parent Tell: What it’s Like Being a Paraplegic Parent (August 2021)
Well That Fucked Me Up with Luke Colson (August 2021):
The Near-death Experience with Kirsty Salsbury (June 2021)
Podcast Parenting Differently with Anja Simmons (May 2021):