I am first and foremost a person who cares about communication! I have spent over 20 years working with individuals who struggle with learning or communicating and have come to learn some pretty solid ways to bring out their best.
I became interested in this field when I discovered how much I enjoyed and cared about working with individuals who learn or communicate in unique ways. After college, I moved far away from home to work with adults with developmental disabilities. I found my passion and calling when working with an autistic woman named Margaret Garvin. Her presence in my life put me on the path I am on today. I laughed a lot and learned a lot during my time with her. She is one special woman. Her sister Eileen even wrote a book about her and their relationship.
Inspired by my time with Margaret, I decided to return to school and get a Master's Degree in Speech Language Pathology. Right away, I knew this was the field for me. I loved my classes from the start, and have loved my job every day for the nearly 20 years I have been doing it. In 2008, I also became an RDI® Consultant. RDI, or Relationship Development Intervention, changed many things for me in terms of how to approach struggling learners. The training was invaluable.
In 2012, I met Mary Lou Gagnon OTR/L, an occupational therapist. We learned that we shared the same values in working with families and, knowing that we could do a lot of good for a lot of families, we formed a private practice together. We established a set of guiding principles that revolve around how we communicate and create competent roles for kids, families and each other. As our practice has grown, we have seen our therapists and families embrace the communication style we teach, and we have seen kids blossom, feel joy, and succeed.
What we say and how we say it matters!
I've realized that this knowledge related to how we communicate with kids is too good and too important NOT to share with others. I have been speaking at schools, parent meetings, and professional conferences for several years now with the purpose of sharing what I know to be true. I want to help parents and professionals, who work with individuals with both overt and subtle learning challenges, learn how powerful a thoughtful, positive communication style can be. What we say and how we say it matters!
Over the years, I have observed many different styles of speaking and "being" with struggling learners. My mission is to help others see how to bring out the best in kids using a positive, thoughtful style that approaches kids with understanding, patience, respect, and kindness. When we think about how we set things up so that kids feel competent and successful, and we speak to kids with the intention of teaching, not testing ... great things happen!
I'm also a mom and wife. I live north of Boston with my husband and our two busy boy! They keep me on my toes and constantly challenge me to put into practice at home what I preach at work. It can be so much harder to be mindful about communication when we're with family, in a rush, or feeling stressed. So, I'm not only a person who teaches this to others, but also someone who has to work to actively do it day to day as well. I truly understand how hard this can be as a parent.