Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let's make the connection!

This my first blog ever...I'm not sure I have even read a blog before, but I've learned I have a lot to say...and sometimes people fact, people have encouraged me to begin a blog and share my knowledge.  After reading this, you may or may not be one of those people, but thanks for taking the chance...

I've been on a journey of learning for the last 25 years of life...a journey rich with experience and learning curves which has led me to achieve myriad of accomplishments.  I spent 18 years as a special education teacher in the public school system in three different states, Illinois, Missouri, and California.  I began my career teaching in a residential facility for adjudicated youth, males removed from their homes by the court system due to poor choices.  I set up the first self-contained classroom in that facility and was very proud of the students' progress.  In those 18 years of public school teaching, I worked with severely behavior disordered youth, schizophrenics, oppositional defiant, conduct disordered, learning disabled, dyslexics, aspergers...I think you get the idea, the population was varied and usually the most extreme of children.  I was never afraid to work with what most teachers considered the more difficult students; in fact, I enjoyed the challenge of it all.  I loved to help those students navigate their world and to understand what was special about them.  It was rare that I wasn't able to make a personal connection with the students; it was that connection that set up our ability to learn from each other.

I spent my last four years of public school teaching in a Northern California high school as a resource teacher of mostly seniors.  It was this experience that motivated me to seek other answers to public education (actually the answer fell into my lap, but more on that later).  Most of the seniors in high school had been in special education for eight or more years, yet their skills were almost the same as when they entered special education.  If they entered reading at a 4th grade level, that's usually where they ended up.  If they entered special education with written expression difficulties, they still had the same issues at the end of high school.  Special Education studentsare leaving the public schools with the sense that they can't achieve anything like the "normal" kids; they leave thinking they are stupid and losers.  It was very difficult, sometimes almost impossible, to change that belief system because students had been believing it for so long.

My philosophy has always been, "All students can learn, but all students do not learn in the same way."  Schools around the nation spout that they believe all students can learn, but it is rare that a school  can demonstrate the committment to make that happen.  Resources are being cut and teachers aren't getting the support and training that is needed for the everchanging needs of students.  I believe in teachers, and I believe the system needs some I left the public school system to begin a journey to try to create the change I want to see in education.

I was lucky enough to meet people that opened the world of sensory intergration to me.  Since 2004, I have been able to put my efforts into understanding the neuro-biological foundations of sensory integration and how it impacts students' learning.  I'm so excited for the opportunity to share that knowledge! 

During the past seven years, I  had been practicing in private learning clinics; now I'm providing services from a home based business.  I've been able to consult on individual cases and do workshops for teachers, but that's just the beginning.  Stick around, read some more, start a conversation, make a connection that could change a child's life!

You can also check out my website:

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