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Athabasca University

Emma Pivato

Photo of Emma Pivato

Emma Pivato is best known for her books on disabled children and adults and for a series of mystery novels. She was born Emma Hatchard in Elk Point, Alberta in 1943. He mother was a country school teacher who often rode on horseback to reach remote one-room school houses. When Emma was 12 her family moved to Calgary where she attended Bowness High School. She completed two years of university courses and then taught high school English and French for a year. She continued her university studies in Edmonton at the University of Alberta earning a B.A. in philosophy and psychology. She went on to earn an M.A. (1972) in philosophy with a thesis on Jean-Paul Sartre. Then she continued her graduate work in Educational Psychology. She married Joseph Pivato in 1973 and had three children. Her youngest child, Alexis was born with severe disabilities. Her Ph.D. (1980) was on creativity theory, but because of Alexis she changed her professional focus to disabilities.

During her professional career she worked as a psychologist with the Metropolitan Separate School Board in Toronto, the Edmonton Public School Board, Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, Catholic Social Services and taught psychology in the MAIS program at Athabasca University for ten years.

In 1984 she edited Different Hopes, Different Dreams: A Collection of Stories by Families of Children with Mental Handicaps. The second edition came out in 1990. She published many articles on the topic of severe disabilities in journals such as the Developmental Disabilities Bulletin and in literary anthologies: Eating Apples (1994) and Wrestling with the Angel (2000). Her mystery novel, Blind Sight Solution appeared in 2013 and became the first volume in her “Claire Burke Mystery” series which reached nine volumes with When Justice Fails in 2021. Each of these novels involve one or more people with disabilities who sometimes help Claire solve a mysterious murder.

In 2021 Emma Pivato published her memoir, And along came Alexis, which traces the author’s personal experiences in raising a severely disabled daughter over forty years. The book is meant to help other families who are living with a severely disabled family member.

To reach her websites, google: Emma Pivato, academic, psychologist, mystery writer

Updated March 01 2023 by Student & Academic Services

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