Connection, compassion and adventure in Finding Victoria

Kristin Ruane

Kristin Ruane

Parenting small children can be challenging at the best of times. There are hundreds of books out there listing things for parents to do, but what happens when you’re in the real world, and things don’t go as planned?

Finding Victoria is Peter Pan meets Mary Poppins…with the science. This book written by Kristin Ruane (who is from New Jersey but has been living and working in Galway for the past eight years ) is a training guide to the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis written as a novel. The idea is to bring some awareness of the science to parents in an accessible, yet enticing way, by adding context to the lessons through relatable characters, and unexpected plot twists.

Kristin Ruane was born and raised in New Jersey in the States in a small town just outside of NYC. She loves travel, animals, hot chocolates, writing, dancing, singing, and psychology.

Kristin has been in Galway for eight years ago with strong links to the west with her grandfather having been from Mountbellew and grandmother from Castlerea. She is a member of IGNITE Gospel Choir in Galway and works as a home tutor in Galway.

Finding Victoria is a book for anyone who enjoys a story about connection, compassion, adventure, and magic! The story follows Victoria, an adorable, yet stubborn child who meets her match when her mother, Valerie, decides to call a behaviour analyst.

Kay is an experienced therapist who has been working with families for years, but she’s never met a girl quite like Victoria. Kay works hard to untangle some of her challenging behaviors, and to teach Victoria her most hated task – writing. Therapy takes a sudden turn when Kay immerses herself in Victoria’s play world and discovers her secret – she’s magic.

The book is for parents, teachers, behaviour analysts, psychologists, and pretty much anyone who knows children.

“For a long time, I wrote fairytales. It never occurred to me to write about what I did for a living, until one day, I was talking with a parent that I was working with, and she told me, “You need to write about this!” It was then that I realised I could combine my love of writing fairytales with my love of psychology, teaching and behaviour analysis.

“I’m hoping the book will help to increase awareness of the field of ABA, and offer support to parents who need it,” explained Kristin.

Why was she moved to write this book?

“It took me eight years to write the book and finally get to the publishing stages because I was trying to earn a PhD, work to pay the bills, live life and manage living during a pandemic. But it’s finally finished!

“I decided to self-publish the book because I was having a hard time finding someone to represent me. The publishing world is hard to crack into. Plus, it seemed that agents were having a hard time deciding if the book was fiction or non-fiction. I’m calling it informative fiction for now.

“The self-publishing process has been an interesting experience. So much work goes into it, and it’s a real team effort. As a writer, I was used to working alone, but I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed the collaboration that has come along with the self-publishing process. I think it’s a story about connection and progress.

“Somewhere along the line ABA became synonymous with autism, and while it is one of the primary methods used to teach children on the spectrum, it’s not the only population that can benefit from ABA. That’s why the character in my book is a typically developing child. My hope is to increase awareness of the field so that more parents and teachers can find and access more support.


“This book is a great example of how to humanize the science of behavior and allow the general public to appreciate what wonders it can do for us. Kristin Ruane perfectly blends scientific knowledge and years of experience of its application to solving human problems with a deep sense of compassion and empathy for her subject and packages this in a beautifully-written story of progress and hope. Thoroughly recommended!” says Dr Ian Stewart, NUI Galway.

“I’m fascinated by connection, it’s why my research was what it was, and it’s why I’ve written this book,” said Kristin. The world has changed so much, and I think we’re unaware of how much we’re disconnecting from each other, and ourselves.

“We probably all have a lot to learn about why we do the things we do, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we probably all need a little hope and magic in our lives, too.”

“Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA ) is the study of behaviour - how it works, how the environment affects our behaviour, and how learning occurs.

“There will be some who may not be open to this book if they don’t believe in the science of ABA, and that’s okay. I’m hoping that what this book will bring about is an understanding of compassionate practice and what ABA can achieve,” she concludes.

People can support the project by pre-ordering a book from the Kickstarter website. The books are offered at a discounted price on Kickstarter (€15/€18 ) retail price is €20.

For now, you can find the book at , or on Instagram @kristinruane, or @princesscottonfairy. The hope is that it will soon be available at all of the local book shops.


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