My philosophy and values guide my approach to the work I do. I believe that every child naturally loves to learn (especially when they are taught well) and wants to do well and achieve (even if they seem to not care). I believe that parents want their children to be happy and fulfill their potential, but may not always know exactly how best to go about helping them achieve these goals. I appreciate that every person is an individual, and that we each have a unique profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses, social, emotional, and behavioral development, and individual interests and dreams. It is these differences that make us special and interesting. I believe in the ability to change and grow – and the importance of adopting a growth mindset. I feel it’s important to both recognize and accept ourselves for who we are, and to realize that we can change things about ourselves if we want to and are willing to make an effort.

Why I have chosen to be a specialist: I specialize in uncovering learning challenges and addressing the educational needs of bright students. This area is fraught with under-diagnosis and misdiagnosis because these children’s very intelligence can make them appear to be functioning at an average level, while in actuality they are working extremely hard to keep up and growing increasingly anxious in the process. In this age of exponentially expanding information, I feel it is difficult for a professional to be an expert at everything in their field. It is for this reason that I have chosen to focus my expertise in the niche of bright/gifted learners, and have developed approaches that work with this population to better serve their needs.

However I believe that most children – including those who might not be identified as gifted – can benefit from the approach I take. An emphasis on uncovering strengths and interests can be particularly meaningful to a child who does not naturally excel at school. Hannah had average cognitive abilities and was a “fair-to-middling” student. I found that she excelled at executive function planning and organization, which coupled with her interest in environmental concerns led to a plan for developing her project management skills through summer internships with environmental non-profits. This helped launch a future career.

Every individual has a unique profile of strengths and weaknesses, and it is by understanding one’s abilities and learning how to work with and around them that we find opportunities for growth.