Guiding Exceptional Parents

A friend and colleague of mine, Sarah, works with parents of children with special needs. Because the work Sarah does is so important and because she does it so well, I would like to share with you a little about her and her services. She is a wonderful resource, and as you'll see below, she is passionate about working with exceptional families. You can also check out her website at Guiding Exceptional Parents.


 Tell us a little about your business.

I support families in two related ways: (1) Care coordination for children with special needs (especially learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism; I'm also an expert in helping twice exceptional kids who are both gifted and learning disabled), and (2) as a Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) consultant. 

The goal of the care coordination is to help families to appropriately set their priorities and to give them the tools they need to get the best possible support and care for their child. 

RDI is an individualized training program that helps parents learn how their child's mind works. By working closely with the family, I can help parents learn how to create meaningful learning opportunities in everyday situations so their children can acquire the social-emotional skills fundamental to making and maintaining meaningful relationships.

How did you come to start your business?

I have two kids with learning disabilities. When our oldest son's kindergarten teacher first told us "something was up" with him, we had no idea what to do. We got a neuropsychological evaluation, but were at a loss regarding how to follow up and find good clinicians to work with him. We didn't understand how to prioritize. We didn't realize that the fix would not be quick. And there was no one to help us do these things. Each person had their own view of the world - the speech language pathologist was worried about our son's language and lack of social skills, the developmental pediatrician was worried about his ADHD and his executive functioning, the physical therapist was worried about his motor coordination. 

Which was most important? What treatments were actually effective? Which were a waste of money and time? How should we evaluate? 

Having navigated all this for two children now, I want to make sure that no parents feel as lost as my husband and I did with our oldest son. I have the knowledge and resources to help others; I want to put it to good use! 

One of the the therapies we did with our kids that was incredibly effective at restoring a more normal family dynamic was RDI. It helped us so much, I decided to get certified so I could help other families. 

What do you hope to bring to your clients?

A deep understanding of how the schools work, what therapeutic options are available, what works, and how to evaluate a new approach. I can help parents who are wondering about their child who seems "different" - by determining how to help them figure out their child, or, if they have a diagnosis, by pointing them to effective therapies and clinicians. My approach is family-centered; my goal is to help family members learn how support and nurture each other. 

My goal is to teach parents the skills they need to navigate the medical, educational, and social systems effectively so they no longer need my support. Education and knowledge are power - I can provide parents with the resources they need to support themselves. 

What is your favorite part about your job?

Many parents are confused, lost, and scared when they first seek my help. Many are in crisis. I love watching these amazing people grow as they learn how to help their children, and how to effectively navigate the system. The most rewarding part, by far, is when I realize that these parents who were once so lost now have the confidence and knowledge to help others. 

What do you envision for your business in the future?

There are "Elder Care Coordinators", but there's no equivalent position for a person who can help coordinate care for kids with learning disabilities and other special needs. I would love to start a revolution, so parents everywhere would know that there's someone who can help them coordinate their care across all domains - medical, educational, and social. 

What inspires you?

The amazing richness of life. 

Do you have anything you would like to share with us?

How about a few of my favorite quotes: 

- You can't boil the ocean. (A reminder that you can't fix everything at once.)

- I'm not responsible for the outcome, only my effort. (Marsha Mandel)

- You can't make a flower grow by pulling on it. (Marsha Mandel)

- Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to ignorance.

- We are all doing the best we can with what we have.

- I can only control myself.

- I'm responsible for my efforts, not the result.

- You can't argue with a thunderstorm.


[Please note that this is not a sponsored post; I am sharing this interview because I believe Sarah is a great resource!]