Dr. Elina Manghi was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was a renowned child psychologist who had lived in the Chicago area since 1982. Dr. Elina Manghi had lymphoma and died at her Oak Park, Illinois home on January 15, 2012. She was 59 years old. For more information on Dr. Elina Manghi you may read her obituary at the Chicago Tribune.
Dr. Elina Manghi is being made an Autism Light posthumously, because she was dedicated to making a difference for autism within Chicago's Hispanic community. She will also be added to the Autism Light Memorial Roll. While Dr. Manghi was a nationally appreciated child psychologist, the autism community remembers her most for helping found a support group in Chicago for Spanish-speaking families who had children with autism.
Here is an interview Elina Manghi gave on social change. It provides an understanding of her background and enthusiasm in making a difference in this world at her final position at the Adler School of Psychology.
Grupo Salto: Dr. Elina Manghi and Irma Hernandez started Grupo SALTO in 2003. The name is an acronym in Spanish for Latino Autism Society Working with Optimism. The group has parent meetings as well as meetings for siblings and teenagers with autism. Presently 400 families are associated with the organization. Their website lists this as their mission:
Grupo SALTO is a non-profit organization dedicated to provide support for families who have children within the Autism spectrum and whose primary language is Spanish. The main focus of the group is to provide training, education, and support for parents. Grupo SALTO welcomes families from Chicago and its suburbs (Source).Irma Hernandez who helped start Grupo SALTO with Dr. Manghi said this about her friend and colleague:
She was so good at presenting information from material to parents. She developed very specific strategies and provided them with practical information to help them learn how to help their child. At the end of her talks, parents would gather around her, asking her questions and seeking her advice. It was as if they didn't want the session to end (Source).Career as a Psychologist: Dr. Manghi had a lifetime of service to children as a psychologist. The highlights of her professional career included:
- In 1982 she moved to Chicago to become a Child Therapist with Catholic Charities.
- In 1988, Dr. Elina Manghi received her doctoral degree in psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
- In 1992 she became a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago and was a co-director of The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP).
- In 2003 she helped start Grupo SALTO.
- In 2009 she started teaching graduate school for the Adler School of Psychology, and for the past two years she was head of their Child and Adolescent Track of the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program.
Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.
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