In the 4th grade, I read a book about Jane Addams and decided to become a social worker. During my 20s, I attended the Jane Addams School of Social Work to pursue my master’s degree after obtaining an undergraduate in behavioral psychology. In addition to helping others, human behavior was always interesting to me. Since graduating college, I have focused my career on serving vulnerable children and adults, and struggling families. Over the last 40-plus years, I have worked in schools and social service agencies before starting a full-time private practice 14 years ago.
I have focused on working with autistic and other neurodivergent individuals for most of my career. As my understanding of autism has changed, I have tried to stay current. This practice and my interest in trauma led me to specialize in the complex PDA profile.
To be honest, I found parenting challenging. It was the best and most difficult experience of my life. Too few people feel permitted to talk about this. I don’t know how anyone parents a complicated kid without support. I strive to be that helpful, nonjudgmental professional in the lives of families. I have had the good fortune of supporting some families for decades and through the ups and downs of life. I am so fortunate to have been allowed into the lives of so many wonderful people.
Although I incorporated behavior analysis into my practice for a while, the field never felt like a good fit. During that period, I was able to create sensible, respectful, and effective behavior plans that were far from the norm. Although I never practiced ABA therapy and hoped to influence the field from within, I understand that anything related to traditional behavioral approaches can be traumatic to some autistic individuals. I am most comfortable returning to my social work roots, where we believe in self-determination and dignity. I strive to use neurodevelopmentally informed, trauma-sensitive, biologically respectful, and relationship-based ways of understanding and supporting all individuals.
At this point in my career, I hope to pass on what I have learned through training and consultation to individuals, schools, and other systems. My clients have been the best teachers. I provide direct service through parent consultations and friendship/relationship development programs. In everything I do, I believe in looking beneath the surface and partnering to find the answers.