DR. EMILY'S STORY
I’m glad you’re here. I’ve spent the last 20 years working with neurodivergent children and teens along with their families and teachers in schools and private practice. I’ve walked parents through the process of their child's diagnosis and attended hundreds of IEP meetings working with teachers, administrators, and district-level staff.
My favorite part of this journey is in catching families right after their child's diagnosis and getting started with the helping part. The children I have worked with over the years have taught me so much, and so have their parents.
Yet, I have another teacher. My son was my greatest curve-ball in life and he is still teaching me everything I didn’t learn in graduate school. I’ve sat on both sides of the IEP table, I’ve been on both sides of the diagnostic feedback session, and I know the feeling of thinking you are out of ideas. This feeling was the inspiration for my blog and expanding it to include products to help more families.
We have to keep sharing our ideas. What works for one child may or may not work for another. Our kids are complex. Our families are complex. Their classrooms are complex. There is so much information out there, but we are ultimately the decision-makers of the next best step in our child’s journey. We will sift through all of the recommendations in an effort to find the balance between pushing our child to learn new skills and creating the space that keeps them happy and regulated.
So many parents have shared their journey with me. Many have felt sadness when they noticed something was different about their child’s development. Some have experienced denial as they tried to explain away a behavior. Many have felt frustrated and lost as they begin embracing their new parenting journey. Others feel inadequate and question every decision they have ever made as a parent. Yet, every parent questions things at some point. It might seem like that other mother is doing it “better,” or with more ease but they are likely just at a different point on their own journey. The truth is that we are all on our own path, with our own stories, and our own challenges. Some of us are just starting this journey and some are well on our way down the path. Let's lift each other up so our kids can thrive.
I have been a witness to so much progress over the years, both for children and their parents. Many parents notice that the denial happened because they were scared to let go of the picture they had created in their head about their parenting journey. The grief happened because it can be true that this parenting journey may be harder than others. But the challenges lead to growth and the growth leads to such rewarding relationships with our kids.
There is so much hope for our children's progress and future. I hope that my work here helps parents, teachers, caregivers, and other clinicians in understanding the perspectives of families raising neurodivergenet kids and teens, especially those outside of metropolitan areas with limited access to evidence-based research.
Note: [The Roadmap] online course is designed as a self-study course for parents processing the unexpected journey of raising a neurodivergent child. My hope is that it helps shift your mindset to better understand the child you are raising. The social stories I write are for parents, teachers, and children who may need to make sense of the world in more literal ways, especially when big feelings are involved. My blog will continue to include all kinds of topics including how to support anxiety and emotional regulation, how to structure routines at home for children with rigid thinking and/or executive functioning weaknesses, building support with your child’s school and teachers, how to support your child’s siblings, and how to take care of yourself.