Sandal Gap was founded by Nicole Johnson, a mom who understands what life is like raising a differently-abled child. As an undergraduate, Nicole studied Anthropology, hoping to someday travel the world and teach at the collegiate level. After graduation, she felt this unrelenting urge to veer from her plan and explore the world of special education. In 2015, she was introduced to ABA, and instantly felt she had found her life's calling. Years later, after receiving her son's birth diagnosis of Down syndrome, her journey finally made sense.
"As a clinician, our job is to learn by listening. To join our clients and share in their experiences. It's to provide a roadmap paved with skills, allowing the client to set the pace."
Listening to voices in the autistic community, Nicole's approach to therapy has continued to evolve over the years. Approaching ABA through a trauma-informed lens, Nicole works to create a foundation built on trust and collaboration with her clients. She presumes competence, believing that every individual is intelligent and capable given the right tools. Through this trauma-informed lens, Nicole incorporates elements of sensory integration, co-regulation, and functional health + nutrition into her practice. This dynamic shift in her approach to ABA allows her to uncover all factors that contribute to the behaviors in question, and identify the skills needed to achieve success across all developmental stages.
The sandal gap toe is a trait commonly seen in individuals with Down syndrome. It refers to the space, or gap, between the big toe and second toe. While we find the gap between our sons' toes utterly adorable, and it's useful when needing an extra 'hand' to pick things up, it's symbolic of our mission. Our desire to bridge the gap between societies understanding and expectations of individuals with disabilities, and the reality that our loved ones are smart, capable and worthy.
The three arrows represent the triplication of the 21st chromosome, which is what causes Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21.
The arrows are always facing up, symbolizing growth and moving forward in life.