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About Mary
and Stepping Stones
Educational Services

Mary Orlando final.jpg

Hello and welcome to

Stepping Stones!

My name is Mary Stone and I am an author, advocate, trainer, and presenter.

My aim is to empower ,educate, train, and inspire your Arts organization, nonprofit, business, or school to learn about and embrace  Neurodiversity, Autism and Disability awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

I was first introduced to the world of  Disability and Neurodiversity when my son was diagnosed with a Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD). Once I had the diagnosis, I really thought there was going to be someone who would tell me what to do in order to help my son. But there wasn't. 

With a lack of guidance in finding services and supports to set him up for success, my husband and I felt as though we were on our own. We didn't know where to go, who to see, what questions to ask, or how to ask them. I knew that I needed to help my son but I didn't have the resources - let alone the vocabulary - to get started. It was completely and utterly overwhelming.


I wanted my son to be a part of the world - not isolated from it - and in his early elementary years we were observing that just the opposite was happening. By the time he reached 2nd grade, I realized that if I wanted to be able to help him achieve his goals, I would have to learn more. I decided to go back to school, enrolling at UW-Milwaukee in the Exceptional Education program.

I received my Early Childhood Special Education Teaching Certification and went on to complete my Masters Degree in Exceptional Education. I taught early childhood special education for 12 years and worked in the Department of Exceptional Education at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee for 15 years. I have also written a children's book, An ABC Story: A is for Autism and a Social Skills Curriculum, Friendship Footsteps:Stepping Stones to Social Emotional Learning that you can find on my website product page.


Additionally, I began presenting to the community and over the last 20 years have trained schools, Arts organizations, museums, non-profit and for-profit organizations and businesses that include Pink Umbrella Theater Company, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Discovery World Museum, Milwaukee Ballet, UWM Children's Center, Elm Creative Arts School, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee County Zoo, school bus drivers and many more! 

My drive to share my services with the greater Milwaukee area and beyond was the impetus for founding Stepping Stones Educational Services LLC. Through my company, I provide:

  • Trainings to build understanding, awareness, and acceptance of Autism and other disabilities. 

  • Consultation to Arts organizations, and nonprofit and for-profit businesses in creating spaces that are sensory friendly and designed to accommodate the diverse needs of individuals on the Autism Spectrum and with other disabilities. 

  • Consultation to schools, PTO/PTA's, teachers and students to foster Autism and disability awareness and acceptance and how to bring this knowledge to the inclusive classroom. 

  • Curriculum Materials and Books that celebrate the diversity of disability and the importance of talking and teaching about disability in the classroom to ALL students.  

  • Talks and workshops at conferences and events 

I believe that by working together, we can create communities that support, empower, and celebrate individuals with disabilities. 

 Feel free to contact me today. 


Praise and Awards

Mary is the 2007 recipient of the CEC June Hartenhaler Team Collaboration in Special Education award.

"I just completed a three day training with Mary Stone for an upcoming academy for students on the autism spectrum. This is the second time that I have been through the training but it didn't matter. The information was new and so applicable for the group. We participated in such thought provoking discussions and problem solving real life situations. The time flew by. As a former Special Education teacher, Elementary Principal, and Director of Instruction means that I have been through and conducted many training sessions. Mary is a natural. Students come to us from multiple situations and with various needs. Often, teachers are at a loss for what to do to support all of the diverse needs. All schools should consider starting their school year with a training session with Mary Stone. She clearly loves children and believes in success for all. I would highly recommend her. If you want a very knowledgeable professional with loads of experience and compassion, this is the person for you! Stepping Stones is a wonderful service!"
- Jane

"I feel as though Mary was very passionate about what she was teaching and she is experienced in it as well. She made conversations amongst the class easy and welcome.

It was such an open environment, I really loved it.

- Kayla

"Mary is more than a mentor, she is a friend. She entered this field with personal experiences, and her work continues to glow with inextinguishable compassion. She thoughtfully continues to help me find my own light, meeting me with care and trustworthiness. I would absolutely recommend her guidance for any personal or professional endeavors." 

- Brenna 

"Mary is the first teacher I felt that I actually connected to.

She wanted nothing but the best for us and did whatever she could to help us

learn and always gave positive feedback and suggestions. Super encouraging too!"



"Mary is very personable and understanding. She is also very knowledgeable and

eager to share tools and strategies to support students with special needs and their families and caregivers. Mary gives lots of real world examples from her own experiences. She truly cares about special education." 

- Anne

"Mary was very knowledgeable of the material and provided so many awesome examples to help me better understand the material being covered. I was highly impressed with her way of teaching and would recommend Mary and Stepping Stones

for your next professional development session."

- Ellie  

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